Hillary Rodham Clinton’s purported state of mind made perfect sense as she became America’s top diplomat on January 21, 2009.
“I was not thinking a lot when I got in,” Clinton reminisced with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday. Reflecting on her early days as secretary of state, Clinton added, “There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn’t really stop and think what kind of e-mail system will there be.”
Naturally, Clinton wanted to pursue urgent diplomatic matters, such as launching a “Russian reset” with Vladimir Putin, managing America’s difficult relationship with Syria’s Bashar Assad (whom she referred to as “a reformer”), and tightening security at U.S. diplomatic outposts, not least the consulate at Benghazi, Libya.
If only Clinton’s behavior matched her sentiments.
Given this pressing business, it would have been logical for Clinton to rely on the State Department’s normal e-mail procedures. She would have received a state.gov e-mail address. Her classified messages would have zipped exclusively along secure government connections and landed on encrypted federal servers. All of this would have been tended to by diplo-geeks under her command, during regular office hours.
If Servergate involved foul-ups by some Foggy Bottom functionary, Clinton would deserve the benefit of the doubt, and even some empathy, for staying so focused on diplomacy when the digital ball got dropped on her watch.
But this was terabytes different from what actually happened.
Clinton supposedly was too busy even to “stop and think” about e-mail, computer equipment, and whether her documents would comply with the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Espionage Act. Nonetheless, she somehow found time to circumvent common sense, default processes, and likely one or more of the aforementioned federal statutes. Clinton did this by spurning the State Department’s server that was ready to serve her.
Instead, Clinton rescued a private computer server from her 2008 presidential bid, had it installed in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. (267 miles northeast of her Washington, D.C., office), created a clintonemail.com domain, opened her own e-mail accounts and addresses there, and then agreed to host accounts and addresses for top aides, including Huma Abedin.
If Clinton did not do these things herself, they didn’t just happen through immaculate inception.
We now learn that Clinton asked former 2008 presidential-campaign aide Bryan Pagliano to manage this server, first as an outside consultant and then while he worked for her as a State Department IT specialist. If Pagliano performed these private duties for Clinton on government time, this may have broken federal work rules against theft of services.
Also, Clinton and her family paid Pagliano at least $5,000 for “computer services” out of their own pockets. The IRS requires that a Form 1099 be filed by anyone who pays independent contractors anything exceeding $600 annually. Did the Clintons file any such 1099s? If so, where are they?
#share#And now, rather than cooperate in the relevant probes of all of this, Pagliano says he will take the Fifth Amendment and clam up before the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department’s inspector general, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), the chairmen of those respective Senate committees, announced yesterday that they wrote Pagliano on September 4 to begin discussing a grant of immunity that would let him testify without fear of prosecution.
While these congressional panels are controlled by Republicans, they are legitimate units of America’s federal legislature, not tools of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The FBI is not the RNC. And State’s inspector general is not Ann Coulter. Clinton’s moaning about being hammered by conservative enemies increasingly resembles delusional giggles.
#related#Had Clinton truly stuck with diplomacy and left her e-mail to staff professionals, none of these nagging suspicions would be gnawing at her presidential ambitions.
How ironic: Hillary Clinton finally privatizes a federal function, and it explodes in her face.
However, cruel irony is the least of Clinton’s problems. If she refuses to address Servergate, she seems stuck in a public-relations bunker. But when she does talk about this burgeoning scandal, she often blurts out new, incriminating information. Yesterday, she told ABC News’s David Muir:
Everyone I e-mailed with, and I’m not going to go into names, but let me say I e-mailed with many people in the White House and the rest of the government, of course, across the State Department, knew that I was e-mailing from a personal account.
The White House knew about Clinton’s private e-mail address and did . . . nothing?
In her Servergate statements, Clinton also is flippant (laughing about wiping her server “with a cloth or something”), sounds wildly implausible (she erased only personal e-mails about yoga and wedding plans), or simply lies (“I’ve never had a subpoena,” “there is no classified material” on her server, etc.).
Whether she seals her lips or opens her mouth, Hillary Clinton’s Servergate woes deepen. Quite simply, she is trapped in a tightening, boiling Hell — entirely of her own making.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.