Politics & Policy

Hillary Can’t Pin E-mailgate on the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Charles McCullough testifies on Capitol Hill, April 30, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

As Hillary Clinton sinks ever deeper into E-mailgate, her excuses for grossly mishandling state secrets grow ever weaker. In defense of her gross negligence, Clinton and her comrades have dusted off a vintage 1990s cliché: “It’s the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy!”

Clinton has been hobbled by Inspector General of the Intelligence Community I. Charles McCullough III’s discovery that her private, unsecure computer server contained “several dozen” e-mails classified TOP SECRET/SAP. “Special Access Programs” is America’s highest clandestine designation. Such secrets must remain concealed because, under federal law, their “unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” As former Africom strategist Dan Maguire told Fox News, “There are people’s lives at stake.”

The response in Clintonia? Blame the Right and tar IGIC McCullough as a partisan GOP hack.

“I can’t control what Republicans and their allies do,” Clinton said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. Her outburst echoes Brian Fallon, her campaign flack.

As the SAP story broke on January 19, Fallon told Politico, “It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

Fallon repeated this charge nearly verbatim when he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota: “I think that Republicans are continuing to try to trump it up and resurface these allegations for the purposes of hurting her campaign.”

“But,” Camerota explained, “the inspector general isn’t a Republican.”

RELATED: Clinton Campaign Accuses Obama-Appointed IG of Conspiring with GOP on E-mail Report

“Actually, I think this was a very coordinated leak,” Fallon forged ahead, claiming that McCullough “put two Republican senators up to sending him a letter so that he would have an excuse to resurface the same allegations he made back in the summer that have been discredited.”

These two senators are Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee and Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina.

“I don’t even know who the IG is,” Corker told Politico. “I know his name, but I’ve never met him.” Burr also scoffed at Fallon’s delusion. “There’s no conspiracy or collusion between Bob Corker and I and the IG.”

#share#Clinton and her allies routinely ignore wrongdoing on her part and hallucinate about it in others. Their effort to smear McCullough as a latter-day G. Gordon Liddy, stealthily plotting with Republicans, is tear-inducingly funny.

For starters, McCullough was nominated by none other than Obama on August 2, 2011 — the very day that he chose current Pentagon chief Ashton Carter for his previous post as deputy secretary of defense. The White House website features the press release about McCullough’s selection.

McCullough next faced approval by the U.S. Senate, then controlled by Democrats. His Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing was less a grilling than a love-in.

RELATED: How the FBI Could Force DOJ to Prosecute Hillary Clinton

“This moment is to consider the president’s nomination of Charles McCullough to be the first Inspector General of the Intelligence Community,” the Intelligence Committee’s then-chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), said on September 22, 2011. She told McCullough, “I had the pleasure to meet with you, as I’m sure other Members have as well, and know that you are superbly qualified for this job.”

“We’ve heard good things about you,” Senator Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) told McCullough. “I’m looking forward to supporting you when Chair Feinstein moves ahead with the vote.”

“Thank you, Mr. McCullough, for your service to the country in so many different capacities and agencies over the years,” then-senator Mark Udall (D., Colo.) gushed. “You clearly have been able to operate in both the civilian and the military sectors which will, I think, prove to be a very valuable set of experiences, if you’re confirmed.”

RELATED: Why the Justice Department Won’t Work with the FBI on Clinton E-mail Case

After a few other senators offered additional warm statements and friendly questions, Feinstein concluded the 42-minute meeting. As the transcript states: “I want to thank you, and I want to thank your family for being here. And I think he’s a shoe-in [sic]. [Laughter.]”

Sure enough, the Intelligence Committee convened that October 4 to decide what to do with McCullough. Congressional Quarterly’s Eugene Mulero picks up the action: “In a closed meeting on Tuesday, the panel unanimously approved, 15-0, McCullough’s promotion to the newly created position tasked with overseeing the 16 intelligence agencies and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).”

The full Senate then considered McCullough’s appointment the following November 7.

#related#“I support the confirmation of the president’s nominee to be the first inspector general of the intelligence community, Irvin Charles McCullough III,” Feinstein declared on the Senate floor. “Mr. McCullough is well-qualified to be this first ICIG. He has long experience conducting investigations both as an inspector general and an FBI agent. He is an attorney and is well-familiar with the intelligence community. . . . This important post will now be filled, and Mr. McCullough is qualified and prepared to take on the responsibilities and authorities of the position.” Feinstein reiterated: “I support his confirmation.”

Under the leadership of Nevada’s Harry Reid, the Senate that afternoon endorsed McCullough’s nomination by unanimous consent — without a discouraging word from even one Democrat.

So, when Hillary Clinton desperately tries to pin I. Charles McCullough III’s deeply disturbing findings on “Republicans and their allies,” she should recall that these “allies” include those who hired McCullough in 2011: Obama plus Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, Harry Reid, and every other member of the Senate Democratic Conference.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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