The former secretary of state and putative next president of the United States held a press conference today to explain that thing about her e-mails. It . . . um . . . didn’t go well.
Clinton now admits that yeah, maybe it would have been a good idea to use two e-mail accounts; one for official business and one for personal correspondence. We are supposed to believe the following explanation for why she didn’t:
Clinton said she exclusively used her private e-mail account out of “convenience,” so as not to have to carry two phones. But she conceded that it “might have been smarter” to use a separate government account to conduct her State Department business.
“Looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones and two e-mail accounts,” Clinton said. “I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way.”
A couple of things:
- One phone can handle multiple e-mail accounts. This is the twenty-first century. We’re rather technologically advanced that way.
- Even if one assumes that two phones were needed, consider what Clinton is saying here: She wants us to believe that it was easier for her to set up e-mail servers in her home, ensure that they are protected against fire, floods, storms, earthquakes and intrusions into the house, rather than carry two phones. What’s more; Clinton would not have had to have done the carrying. The secretary of state has body people. They carry stuff for the secretary of state. Are we really to believe that two Blackberrys would have overwhelmed the State Department personnel traveling with Hillary Clinton, and that as a consequence, she needed to put servers in her house instead to administer a homebrew e-mail account? Seriously?
Mrs. Clinton’s explanation that it was more convenient to carry only one device seemed at odds with her remark last month, at a technology conference in Silicon Valley, that she uses multiple devices, including two kinds of iPads, an iPhone and a BlackBerry. She said then: “I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder.”
This notion that she couldn’t handle two smartphones as secretary of state is nothing short of absurd.
At times, the former first lady, who answered about 10 questions, seemed to contradict herself, saying at one point that she had destroyed her personal emails, then suggesting they remained — off-limits — on her family’s private server.
And then, there was this:
“The server contains personal communications from my husband and me,” Clinton said of the system, which was originally set up to handle Bill Clinton’s post-presidential correspondence. “And the server will remain private.”
Two responses to this:
1. We are informed by Clinton that she will not hand over private correspondence, and that indeed, she deleted tens of thousands of e-mails that allegedly were private in nature. However, Clinton
. . . did not directly address a 2005 update in the Foreign Affairs Manual codified by the State Department which ruled that employees could only use private email accounts for official business if they turned those emails over to be entered into government computers. That ruling also forbade State Department employees from including “sensitive but unclassified” information on private email, except for some very narrow exceptions. She did, however, note that she never sent classified information via email.
This link notes all of the rules governing e-mail that Clinton ignored. Note especially the following:
The Foreign Affairs Manual was codified by the State Department, which ruled in 2005 that employees could only use private email accounts for official business if they turned those emails over to be entered into government computers.
That ruling also forbade State Department employees from including “sensitive but unclassified” information on private email, except for some very narrow exceptions.
In the midst of the 2008 presidential race, Clinton took a jab at the Bush administration’s use of non-governmental email accounts.
“Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps. We know about secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts,” Clinton said in a 2007 campaign speech.
Much of the mystery surrounding Clinton’s emails came from the fact that an IP address associated with the clintonemail.com domain she is believed to have used was registered to a person named Eric Hoteham on Feb. 1, 2008. No public records matching that individual can be found and it is possible that it was simply a misspelling of the name Eric Hothem, a former aide to Clinton while she was first lady. An Eric Hothem is now listed as an employee at JP Morgan in Washington, D.C.
[. . .]
. . . According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations in 2009, if an agency allows its employees to use a personal email account, it must ensure that the emails are “preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”
[. . .]
Later that year [2013–ed.], the National Archives updated their guidelines to say that agency employees should generally only use personal email accounts in “emergency situations.” If an employee does use a personal account, all of the emails must be preserved in “accordance with agency recordkeeping practices.”
That’s a lot of rule violations, no?
2. Clinton’s claim that the server was set up to handle communications between her and her husband flies in the face of assertions made by President Clinton’s own spokespeople that he has sent a grand total of two e-mails in his life, and none of them were to his wife. So that’s another claim by the putative next president of the United States that unfortunately fails to coincide with actual facts.
What drives the Clinton response to the e-mail scandal? Contempt for any notion that Clintonian operations should be transparent to the public:
Hillary Clinton was likable enough, answering questions calmly though with a weary smile. She even offered a feint toward humility, allowing that, “looking back,” perhaps there was a “smarter” way for her to have handled her correspondence as secretary of state besides bypassing official government email entirely.
Beneath the politesse, however, was an unmistakable message in her 21-minute news conference in New York on Tuesday, easily distilled into three short words: Go to hell.
Americans are just going to have to decide whether they want a president who will treat them with unbridled contempt at every turn.