I think many people out there are kind of confused about what exactly was done wrong, and why it’s bad. Let me first say I have a bit of a background in this arena, so while I can never speak about this officially (and won’t) I can sort of paint a bit of a picture for the lay person about what is going on here. Let’s try and do some point by point items.
- What exactly is she accused of? The answer here is a bit drawn out, but the general idea is that within the government, employees and officials are supposed to use “official” email provided to them. For her, this means an official computer and email provided to her by the Department of State. I’m sure they also had mobile devices that get official state department email. This is meant to not only preserve official records and allow transparency, but also protect the information behind layers and layers of defense hundreds of IT personnel who specialize in securing this sort of thing. Additionally, sensitive/classified material is passed on other networks not connected to the normal means of communication. This is another layer of protection. This information is not meant to be mobile by nature. What was done in this case, is a private email server was setup by a contractor so Clinton and her close employees could have more control of their communications and prevent the government from recording their communications. In this venture, classified material was transmitted, and this is bad. Very bad.
- But her predecessors did it!! What about the millions of emails with the Bush administration? Well, first, shame on them. Just because someone before you did it and set a precedent, doesn’t make it right. Secondly, the big difference here is the FBI found lots of classified material in the emails. Third – we are in a different place with cyber warfare today than we were 10 years ago. Just look at the effect of the DNC hack, podesta hack, and Weiner situation. Information Warfare is happening currently folks. This was not the scene 10 years ago. It doesn’t excuse it then.
- But why care about the emails? This all started because Congress was looking into the Benghazi attack. Benghazi?? F You. She was CLEARED!! Well. No. During the course of their investigation to find out exactly what the fuck happened over there, they wanted to pull the state department email records to ensure everything was copasetic. You know, the whole point of having records and all. During the course of this investigation, they found that there was no email for her at the state department. It was then learned she had a private email server. Meaning, items sent and received sit on that email server unless purged. Rather than turning over the email server, or allowing a forensic copy of it, the Clinton machine decided to delay this and say that there were a lot of personal emails on the server they need to get rid of first. They instead produced 30,000 or so emails on a drive and handed it over. They bought a piece of software to destroy data on the drive so forensically no one could ever retrieve data that was there. 33,000 or so emails were deleted by Clinton’s camp, deemed “personal”. Her explanation was that her daughter was having a wedding at that time, and she had exchanged a lot of personal emails. So – very little information was gleaned about Benghazi because they scrubbed everything before providing what they wanted to.
- But isn’t the information safe? It was reported by the NYPost that her email server had been literally run out of a bathroom closet by a mom and pop outfit. Not only was the server not in a server room secured in a secluded facility with layers of locks, logs, guards, and guns…it was sitting in a bathroom closet. So, it was not physically secured. Secondly, most agencies the size of the state department might have a few hundred IT people working at different layers of defense to the networks. Firewalls, intrusion detection, patching systems, network security, background checks, etc. To put it another way, she took a billion dollars and put it under her mattress at a homeless shelter and hoped no one would notice. It’s called security by obfuscation, and it’s mostly worthless at this level of the game.
- But no one hacked it, right? Authorities are now convinced with 99% certainty that her email server was hacked by 5 different foreign agencies. This means our government might be one of the few governments that don’t have her emails.
- But it wasn’t classified! Right? There were over a thousand or so they said had classified information.
- But it wasn’t MARKED classified!! Right. I want you to do me a favor. Go into gmail. Click on the “classified” button. Not there? Right. That’s what happens when you use private emails. You don’t get those nifty buttons.
- But how??? The articles I read said that one of her staffers would read information from the classified network, then turn around to a non-classified machine and paraphrase/provide details when typing into a new email to her. It’s technically called “spillage”. The Secretary would then respond to these emails.
- But why? We were told that it was setup because she wanted all of her information to come to her on one device. Turns out, there were 13 devices assigned to her. Some have been lost. Two of them people took hammers to and destroyed them before turning them over.
- But why now? The FBI said she was INNOCENT!! Ummm…no. No no no. First, the FBI basically scolded her and said she was reckless. This was a few days after President Bill Clinton visited the Attorney General on her plane…for 30 minutes. At face value, it seemed like either some sort of plea or strong arm tactic to not go after Hillary. The FBI can recommend prosecution, but the AG had ultimate say. Comey laced into her, and it seemed like for all intents and purposes, that he was trying to keep the rails on democracy by not going after the Dem candidate for president this close to election. There are a ton of articles out there that the FBI was in riot mode after this, knowing she was guilty. Rumors are also that some of these leaks recently were not the Russians, but the FBI or people close to home. Second – now this has come back up because 650,000 emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop in a separate investigation into him sending naked selfies to his underage friend. Anthony Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, Hillary’s close advisor and trusted confidante. So – to wrap this up, the FBI didn’t say she was innocent. It seemed like there was no real precedent of locking up someone this close to election and I don’t think Comey wanted to go there. His agency sort of went bat shit crazy, now thousands more emails showed up that are not duplicates, and they have to check if classified material ended up here.
- But she didn’t INTEND to do it. That’s a defense, right? Just plead like I didn’t mean to do this? Again…ummmmmmmm…no. When you are entrusted to classified information, there are protocols of how to handle the information that even the lowliest of people learn. Consider this. You get drunk one night. You drive your car and kill a family in a minivan. Did you mean to do it? No. Are you guilty of first degree murder? No. So you are innocent!! No. You are guilty of negligence, and there is a different type of homicide charge for that. Treason would be intentionally giving out secrets to a foreign government. This would fall under gross negligence. Probably something similar to Petraeus as far as punishment goes. Where I would see this going, if she was not running for president, would be loss of clearances, fine, and perhaps 1-2 years probation. Maybe 3-6 months jail. It gets really sticky and complicated because she IS running for president, and at this point, the likely winner. Her story on the emails changed 45 times. She has now apologized and pulled the incompetence card.
Why am I writing this?
This close to the election, people need to understand what is going on. This particular instance does not reach the treasonous accusations from the far right mandating 10 years of jail. No way. But the people on the left also need to know she’s not innocent. There’s either a gross disregard for out she chose to handle sensitive classified information, or there’s a gross incompetence. Neither one of these are a good look for someone seeking president of the united states.
To balance this, Trump has been accused of a lot of things. He has shown an inability to show maturity, hold his temper, and play straight with facts. He is at best a shady businessman who has amassed billions through grifting, cheating, and lying his way to a great fortune….and at worst a thief, rapist, misogynist, and repugnant person who has done countless illegal and immoral acts. To be fair to trump – most of these are accusations only, and many have been exacerbated by the media – who mostly favor Clinton. Clinton has deep ties everywhere, and many who like Trump believe the cronies that are connected with Clinton are directing news coverage against Trump because he is against the status quo. There may be merit to this.
On election day, those of you who feel Clinton is 100% innocent are living in a dream world and I can never get through to you. However, I believe those of you voting for Clinton accept she has done wrong, but it’s not to the level of trump’s universe. I understand that. Those of you voting for Trump solely because you feel Clinton needs to be locked up in a goulag for 20 years also need your head checked. She did wrong, but not to the level of long term jail. At least not for the emails.
I hope this clears it up for some of you!