Politics & Policy

Is WikiLeaks Justified?

(Reuters photo: Aaron Josefczyk)
Julian Assange may be a villain, but he did some good by informing America about the Clintons’ pay-to-play deal.

One revelation from the WikiLeaks trove of John Podesta’s e-mails stands out as more serious than all the others: Hillary Clinton attempted to solicit a $12 million donation to the Clinton Foundation from the Moroccan government, agreeing to a personal appearance in exchange for the money, against her own staff’s objections before backing out at the last minute.

The discovery that Clinton, between her time as secretary of state and as a presidential candidate, asked for a ten-figure sum from an overseas government in exchange for a personal appearance is more than troubling: It’s so vivid a demonstration of her moral blindness that it almost makes WikiLeaks look like the hero in this story.

A lot of what we’ve learned from the Podesta e-mails confirmed everyone’s worst suspicions about the clubbiness and cattiness of political and media elites. But it’s merely embarrassing, rather than illegal, for Neera Tanden to write that Hillary Clinton’s “instincts can be terrible” or for Politico’s Glenn Thrush to admit to Podesta that “I have become a hack.”

Clinton soliciting large sums from a foreign government to her personal foundation right before she runs for president is something else entirely: It looks a lot like a future commander-in-chief asking for a bribe, which is why so many Clinton campaign staffers objected to it loudly, early, and often.

An e-mail from Huma Abedin makes clear that this was initiated by Hillary Clinton herself:

CGI also wasn’t pushing for a meeting in Morocco and it wasn’t their first choice. This was HRC’s idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request.

The exchange also suggests that Clinton’s staff recognized how bad this would look, but the candidate herself wanted to go forward with it. At times her most loyal employees seem exasperated with her refusal to heed their warnings. “She created this mess and she knows it,” Abedin concludes the e-mail.

Both the Moroccan government and OCP, the government-owned mining company that paid for what was ultimately a meeting with Bill and Chelsea Clinton — they were sent after Clinton staffers determined that a meeting with Hillary was too big a PR risk — have been cited for human-rights abuses. “You’ve heard of blood diamonds, but in many ways you could say that OCP is shipping blood phosphate,” Representative Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Republican co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, has said.

How likely is it that President Hillary Clinton’s administration would rebuke the state-owned company or the Moroccan government?

RELATED: What Should We Make of WikiLeaks as a Source?

The WikiLeaks e-mails offer other glimpses of foreign governments and Clinton Foundation donors showering the couple with generosity. How should Americans feel knowing the Qatari government offered a $1 million check to Bill Clinton for his birthday? Or what about non-financial generosity to the Clinton family? Doug Band, counselor and chief advisor to Bill Clinton until 2013, complained about having to sign a conflict-of-interest policy form: “Oddly, wjc does not have to sign such a document even though he is personally paid by 3 cgi [Clinton Global Initiative] sponsors, gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc.”

In other words, a man who had once been Bill Clinton’s closest aide has confirmed that the former president gets direct financial benefits from some CGI sponsors, and their expensive gifts adorn the Clintons’ home. This is precisely the sort of thing the American people have a right to know about before they go to the polls.

#related#These revelations don’t get Julian Assange off the hook. He still outed the U.S. military’s secret Afghan informers to the Taliban, believes in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, appears to be working with Russian hackers and Russian intelligence, blames America for ISIS terror attacks, and stands accused of raping at least one woman — charges that he has thus far refused to face.

But this is nevertheless that rarest of moral circumstances: A bad person (Assange) did a bad thing (publishing Podesta’s stolen e-mails) for bad reasons (to meddle in America’s elections), likely at the behest of a hostile foreign power (Russia), and it led to a good outcome: a more informed voting public.

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