Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's Time for the American People to Hear More About Those Damn Emails

Well, looks like Bernie Sanders is ready to talk about those "damn emails".

While he does not make claims or accusations about Hillary Clinton's handling of emails during her tenure in the State Department, he is beginning to bring the issue to the forefront and state that they are a "very serious issue". I think this is a critical and important change for the Sanders campaign, but I think it may be too little, too late.

Additionally, I respect Sanders for initially trying to take the high ground, but I hate the fact that he is trying to politi-spin his previous comments in his interview with Jake Tapper. At the first debate, I doubt he realized how severe the email mishandling was and wish he would just admit this fact, rather than trying to deflect and imply that he always believed it was an important issue.

With Sanders finally coming around, I think it is critical for the rest of the American public to better understand just how important the issue of Clinton's private server is.

Clinton passed Top-Secret information through her private server

First and foremost is the fact that Clinton and her staff passed top-secret and other classified data though her person, unsecured server.

The primary offense of this is that it is illegal to send classified data over an unsecured network. Having worked at a defense contract company, I know just how hard companies work to keep data (particularly that related to national defense/security) safe. I knew a person who was fired for simply leaving his work notebook, that did not even contain classified data, at a client site.

Secondarily, considering the prolific hacking attempts (and successes) of foreign entities against government agencies, it is possible that Iran, China or Russia may have gotten to her server. If they were aware of it, it is likely that they had access to its contents. Regardless if the information it contained was classified or not, there would definitely be information about those nations discussed between members of the State Department and other agencies.

More damning are the recent reports that not only did her emails contain classified information, they assuredly contained Top-Secret and even more highly protected need-to-know data.

Clinton staff deliberately copied classified data to an unsecured network

Clinton has repeatedly stated that she wanted a single email address and use a single device for ease-of-use. First, this has been proved patently false. Second, this claim only strengthens the potential that her staffers copied classified data to ease their workflow.

As I stated, companies work diligently to keep classified and unclassified data separate and intentionally make it difficult to mix the two. The Federalist does a great job of laying out how one would even get classified data out of the enclosed system. If true, this would be a systematic effort to skirt federal law and is cause for, at minimum, prosecution for mishandling classified data (the same General David Petraeus plead guilty to).

The Obama administration was generally lenient on General Petraeus, but it is well know that it is generally hard-nosed when it comes to leaks. While not surprising, it is frustrating that the same Executive Branch is not pushing harder (or pushing at all) to pursue the same, if not worse, allegations.

Clinton has lied about her emails, repeatedly

While the Congressional hearing on the Benghazi incident were a distraction from the more important issue of mishandled data, it did give Clinton another chance to clarify her State Department's emails system.

Rather than clarity, Clinton continued, and continues, to lie and deflect questioning about how she handled emails and the transparency (or lack thereof) that her private server gave from the wider government and Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It is required that all government officials retain records of their correspondence and will be, with appropriate redaction, be made available to the public. By having a private server, Clinton tried to avoid this and keep her emails hidden.

While she claims (and it has been generally supported) that no emails were marked classified upon her receipt, as a member of the State Department with access to sensitive data, she should know what would be considered classified or significant to national security; specifically, data regarding foreign governments or travel itineraries.

Overall, I'm very surprised that Sanders had not chosen to pick up this issue sooner and more surprised that few media outlets continue to cover it, save for when unavoidable news is released.

I'm generally all for supporting "innocence until proven guilty", but if deleting 30,000 emails before handing over her server isn't suspicious, I don't know what is.

Update: I just read about former U.S. House Majority leader Tom DeLay's comments that he had "friends that are in the FBI" and they are ready to indict Clinton.

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