Politics & Policy

Henchman’s Appeal Leaves Hillary on Hook

John Podesta at the White House in 2014 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The former secretary of state’s ‘everybody does it’ defense falls flat.

In a communique to donors (who else?) Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta tried to exculpate his candidate’s lawbreaking in the E-mailgate scandal. Alas for Hillary, Podesta’s attempt at exoneration has more holes than a golf course.

“ . . . we know that our opponents will continue to try to distract us with attacks,” Podesta wrote on May 28. But State Department Inspector General Steve Linick is no right-wing Clinton hater. The man behind last week’s brutal report on Clinton’s misdeeds was appointed by President Obama. Linick also served as an assistant U.S. attorney, starting in 1994 — during the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton has said her use of a personal email server was a mistake,” Podesta asserted.

A “mistake” is when one hits “reply all,” and dozens or hundreds of people unwittingly receive an embarrassing e-mail meant for one person.

E-mailgate was no such casual gaffe. It was a deliberate and planned conspiracy in which Hillary evaded standard State Department procedures, installed an outlaw personal computer server in the basement of her Chappaqua, N.Y., mansion — 267 miles northeast of Foggy Bottom, and then reportedly paid aide Bryan Pagliano $140,000 to maintain that illicit equipment. Pagliano’s supervisors, the IG discovered, “were unaware of his technical support of the Secretary’s e-mail system,” including “during working hours.”

RELATED: Clinton’s Simple, Two-Step George Costanza Defense

After leaving State, Hillary had her server shipped to a facility in New Jersey associated with Platte River Networks, a Denver-based firm that lacked the security clearance to handle such sensitive gear. She then had the company try to wipe the server clean.

Some “mistake.”

“She believed she was following the practices of other Secretaries,” Podesta further claimed.

This “everybody does it” defense is like saying “all motorists break the law.” But a parking ticket is not a drunk-driving arrest. Indeed, Clinton’s abuse of state secrets is literally a thousand times worse than what any of her predecessors did.

RELATED: The Clinton E-mail Case Transcends Hillary’s Presidential Campaign

The State Department IG found that “Secretary [Madeleine] Albright did not use a department or personal e-mail account during her tenure, and . . . Secretary [Condoleezza] Rice did not use a personal e-mail account to conduct official business.” So neither of those two Clinton forerunners had any classified documents come or go via e-mail.

Former Secretary Colin Powell used both government and personal e-mail accounts, although he had no private server. Clinton used her private server and e-mail, to the exclusion of all official systems and addresses.

#share#As for classified material, a March 2 memo from Inspector General Linick identified twelve documents that “contain national security information classified at the Secret or Confidential levels.” Among them, “Two of these documents were e-mails sent to Secretary Powell’s personal e-mail account; the remaining were documents transmitted to personal or unclassified accounts belonging to a member of Secretary Rice’s immediate staff and another senior Department official.”

RELATED: Hillary Clinton’s E-mail Scanda: Far Graver than First Thought

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal calculates that the classified e-mails on Clinton’s server totaled 2,115. So, among “other Secretaries,” the final score is: Albright 0; Powell 2; Rice 0; Clinton 2,115.

Yes, Hillary. Whatever you say. “Everybody does it.”

The IG knows about these former secretaries’ e-mail habits, or lack thereof, because they spoke with him. Conversely, Clinton clammed up. As the report explains, “Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview.”

Most disturbingly, Podesta writes that “there is no evidence of a breach of her e-mail server.”


#related#“We were attacked again so I shut [the server] down for a few min.,” Clinton Foundation alumnus and technical aide Justin Cooper wrote Hillary’s then Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin in January 2011.

Abedin warned colleagues the next day not to send Hillary “anything sensitive.”

That May 13, two of Clinton’s staffers discussed Hillary’s concerns that someone was “hacking into her email.”

The report adds: “OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the department.”

Try as he might, John Podesta cannot defend the indefensible.

Deroy Murdock — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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