Saturday, September 12, 2015

Let's Talk About SOS Clinton's Emails, Please.

Folks, this is a long post as I would like to share my perspective on this. You can believe me or not but I held at TS-SBI and have been in a US Army SCIF (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility) at Ft. Bragg, Ft. Richardson, Ft. Wainwright, Ft. Hood and Clark AFP (PI). I believe this episode is but the tip of the iceberg regarding our government employees (elected, appointed and service employees) and how they conduct business.  While much has been made about Mrs. Clinton’s behavior, which I believe is justified, there is a bigger picture that is being missed, in my opinion.  Consider all of the news about “emails” and “instant messages” over the years by our government employees (think; IRS, EPA, HHS, GSA).  Consider that these folks are sharing and doing work on unsecured computers and networks.  Such actions place information at risk and in the hands of the right person, say an intelligence analyst, can provide a wealth of data.   I have thought about this and have done some research on all of this and have reached a conclusion that either our government is willfully lackadaisical and unable to understand the risk of this behavior or they are outright deceptive.   Because this all starts with the issues of SOS Clinton and her private server I will start there and here is my opinion based on what we know from the news along with my education and experience is this:    
(1) Somebody (I believe) violated policy and or the law by transferring classified information to a non State Department, non secure device (the thumb drives). (Note:  Once any classified data was transferred, opened, accessed on a device that device is subsequently classified and it is no longer the property of the individual as the data is owned by the US Government).  Mrs. Clinton’s attorney has said they followed the State Dept. advice on how to handle the thumb drive; who gave them this advice and what specifically was is and why are no media sources asking that? 
(2) Somebody (I believe) violated polity and or the law by allowing individuals without a security clearance and a need to know (you can have a clearance but if you have no need to know the information it is a security breach) see and or handle said data. The attorneys for Sec. Clinton have said they "reviewed" all of the information. Even if the attorneys are credentialed (have a clearance) they have no need to know this information and therefore that, in and of itself, is a breach. (Note:  Once any classified data was transferred, opened, accessed on a device that device is subsequently classified and it is no longer the property of the individual as the data is owned by the US Government).  Mrs. Clinton’s attorney has said he and others in his office had a clearance to work on the Benghazi hearings as they represented Mrs. Clinton.  Who at the State Dept. was aware they were reviewing other data and who gave them the custodial right to such data? 
(3) Somebody (I believe) violated policy and or the law by having classified data transferred, sent, routed through or replied from a non-US government server. Sec. Clinton's server was (a) in her home and (b) monitored / transferred to the possession of Platte River Technology (Denver) that is not a government contractor.
(4) Regardless if there was or wasn't classified data on the server or thumb drive(s) there was a breach of standard operating procedures (SOP) as all information not directly slated to be released immediately by the US Government is marked; For Official Use Only / UCI.  Such markings allow the government to review the information should a FOIA request be made and as it is marked FOUO a review can allow parts of this data to be blacked out under provisions of parts two through nine of the FOIA laws. Again, the attorneys had no official business with the US Dept. of State they were and are private attorneys in the employment of SOS Clinton. There client is not the State Dept. but a private citizen and the information did not belong to SOS Clinton but to the United States Government. 
(5) We know the data from the Clinton server was migrated to another server according to Platte River Technologies. Again, this is a transfer of FOUO (and higher) data by non-credentialed individuals. Further, even if Platte River were all credentialed and government contract employees if they had no need to see this data it is a violation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). 
(6) We know that of the emails reviewed twenty-five percent have been found to contain information that is classified.. It is illegal to copy and paste data from a classified document and resend to a non-governmental server. In truth is next to impossible to go outside of a secured network (but not entirely impossible either).  Further even if the information was not classified at the time it was sent the information was FOUO and should not have been sent to a private non-governmental server. 
(7) It has been reported that SOS Clinton provided more than 55,000 pages of emails from her server to the State Department and that some 31,000 emails were deleted as they were deemed “personal” by the Clinton team.  Just what is “55,000 pages of emails?”  Is there a reason we can have a specific number of “personal” emails but those turned over and work related are based on “pages”?  How many emails are there that are work related?  This may seem like “nit picking” but the truth is that if the Clinton team can give us a specific number for one why not the other?  Further when the Clinton team states that the 31,000 “personal” emails are “personal” just how are we supposed to know that?  Fact is if the information was done during work time and on a work related device those emails would belong to the employer, just like they do with every other employee. 
I could go on but will leave it at that. I will ad that something to consider is that by using a private server Sec. Clinton exposed an entire treasure trove of communications to outside hackers and governments. Learning who the Sec. communicated with, how often and the thought process involved in her decision making would have been very valuable to foreign governments. Additionally, learning the up and down of who is receiving what and from whom would also be greatly valuable; that is what I did as a signal analyst for the US Army - I understand the dissection of information.  Simply consider that in some of the released emails we know that Sidney Blumenthal shared not only strategy with SOS Clinton (yes, she called it “unsolicited” except she continued to return his emails and ask if he was “available” by phone).  Mr. Blumenthal took credit in his emails for  “sharing information” with reporters and according to his own email to SOS Clinton he claimed to have a role in a New Yorker piece by Sean Wilentz critical of the Tea Party as Mr. Blumenthal wrote to Mrs. Clinton, “Did this with Sean” as he shared the article (per Business Insider).  Knowing that as an intelligence person would tell you (a) who to feed information to, (b) what person within the Clinton circle is trying to gain influence / prestige which would allow you to “prop them up” and would (c) give you the particulars necessary to gain access to Mr. Blumenthal’s email and find out the who, what, when, where, how and why of his communications.  It’s odd that the media isn’t outraged over Mr. Blumenthal’s admission that he was, in essence, “pimping them” with an agenda (understand, I believe all political parties and political creatures do this but in this case we have his own written words that not only confirm it but indicate those media sources and reporters so willing to be used to forward an agenda). 
Don't get caught up in the argument that "she never sent or received emails that were classified at the time they were sent or received" as it's an academic argument. The fact is SOS Clinton held a private, non-governmental server in her home and she, by her own admission, conducted day to day State Dept. business through that server. Such behavior would not have been tolerated by Sec. Rumsfield, Sec. Rice or Sec. Powell and it ought not to be tolerated by SOS Clinton. This behavior is outside the standards of FIP's (Federal Information Processing) and one must assume that as the head of the State Dept. Mrs. Clinton was aware of this. Mrs. Clinton is asking the voters to elect her to the office of the POTUS of America and in the highest non-elected position she has held her first inclination was to "hide" and "control" the flow of data that came to her, that is enough (IMO) to remove her from consideration.  The trouble with SOS Clinton’s claim is that the IG Report, which reviewed a sampling of 40 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails found two that they believed were classified at the time they were sent.  Although Mrs. Clinton disagrees with the IG finding it was reported on 7 Sept that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency reviewed the two emails and have determined that both were “top secret” when Mrs. Clinton received them on her personal email account.  Former Gov. and Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) regarding the if something was or wasn’t classified, “you’re the Secretary of State, you decide what the security clearance is going to be, you make a determination is this classified, it’s not nobody marked this classified so it’s not classified”. 
Another way to look at this argument (“SOS Clinton didn’t knowingly receive classified information”) is a simple parable.  Say a friend of yours sends you a package.  You have no clue what is in the package and had no idea they were sending it.  When it arrives at your door so too does the police because inside that package are prescription medication.  Now you don’t have a script for those meds and your friend is not a pharmacist with the credentials to send you the medication.  Because of this you are in possession of the package illegally.  Your “golden ticket” to get out of this is to (a) report it immediately and (b) work with the authorities to apprehend the person responsible for sending you the package.  SOS Clinton should have known that she received classified information (if she opened her email and let’s assume she did; unless that becomes the next defense) yet she took no steps (that we are aware of) to (a) report the classified data and (b) we have heard of no person who was suspended or terminated for sending Mrs. Clinton the classified data that we now know was present in her email. 
Consider that Gen. Patreus was summarily destroyed for sharing with Paula Broadwell data that was classified during the course of his affair. This was, IMO, the proper thing to do as he willingly broke all protocol. Putting aside the fact that having an affair while in the military is a UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) punishable offense for a second, remember that Ms. Broadwell was also LTC Broadwell and was not only a US Military Officer but a consultant for the FBI on counter-terrorism. She had a TS security clearance but had no need to know the information shared with her by Gen. Patreus and that is the key issue to the intelligence community. Mrs. Clinton's receiving of classified data and then transferring said data to thumb drives, migrating the data to another server along with having outside attorneys review the data and the data being under the control (for however long) of Platte River Technology goes far beyond a Gen. sharing information with his Commissioned Officer mistress who also had a security clearance. 
One defense strategy is to bring up the Bush Email Scandal. OK, fine. Truth is the Bush administration was wrong in 2007 when they were caught.  However, what folks are leaving out of that is (a) Democrats (who controlled in the House and Senate) investigated this and found no classified information or if they did it was not in the House report.
 (b) AG Alberto Gonzales was forced to resign in part because of his involvement.
(c) The House investigation found that DOE employees (non-political) were using off the books email addresses to communicate and ensure that those communications were out of the reach of Congress and citizens via FOIA.
Further the House Investigation (again, conducted by Democrats) found that this process also was happening in the General Service Administration and caused the investigation into the GSA to be slow (we all remember Jeffery Neely of the “hot tub” photo fame who was sentenced to three months in prison just this past July along with three months house arrest for his behavior).
(d) The House investigation found that at least 88 White House staff members were using email connected to the email server which was housed at the RNC and stated that such behavior was not just inappropriate but it was a clear attempt to thwart FOIA request and possibly the Presidential Records Act as it kept these records outside of the custody of US Government professionals. 
Honestly, think about the fact that this was 2007 and remember this was two years before Citizens United was argued before the SCOTUS and three years before a verdict was rendered. This process (off book emails and instant messaging) was being used by not just the WH but by the GSA, DOE and as we now know the IRS to subvert open disclosure (I bring up Citizens United v. FEC because the IRS has said it was because of “Citizens United” that they "slowed" things down in reviewing non-profit request).  We also now know that the IRS was using IM and that Ms. Leaner was using the off the books email address “Toby Miles” (named after her dog) to conduct official business.  This process was not only deceptive but designed to keep information hidden from FOIA request – why else engage in this unless you want the information kept from review? 
But Mrs. Learner isn’t alone as on December 13, 2012 the IG notified the EPA that they would be conducting an audit into the use of a private email account “Richard Windsor” (also named for the family dog) by EPA Director Lisa Jackson.  Director Jackson resigned from her position on December 27, 2012 and the American public was given the “nothing to see here folks” routine.  Except we know that “Richard Windsor” (a fictitious email account used by Mrs. Jackson)  received an “ethics award” as a “top student” by the EPA after disclosures came out in June 2013 (six months after Mrs. Jackson resigned).  Yet, that isn’t the end of political folks caught with their keyboards hidden from public view.  In June 2013 the AP reported that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was also using a “private” email address (kgs2@hhs(dot)gov) to conduct official business.  The difference here is that while using her initials Sec. Sebelius was actually hiding her communications away from FOIA request as her actual, listed email address was not kgs2@hhs(dot)gov.  It was nothing but an effort to subvert disclosure and it worked!  Again, the public was told; “nothing to see here folks, move along”.  The fact is that this behavior was and I suspect is rampant within the government and it is done not just to divert public and media review but to skirt the law.  SOS Clinton’s behavior, while going much further than others, is truly no different. 
But back to the State Dept., the fact is that on June 28, 2011 (DTG:  282223Z Jun 11 which translates to: 28 June 2011 at 10:23 pm) the State Dept. issued a memo from the “SECSTATE WASHDC” to “ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POST COLLECTIVE” with the subject “Securing Personal E-mail Accounts”.  In this memo it states in part 3 subsection d:  “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail account”.  What is more “personal” than an off the books account on a server you own and administer?  Part 3 subsection e states, “Do not reveal your personal e-mail address in your work “out of office” message”. Why is this recommended; simple because as was expressed earlier with the known emails from Mr. Blumenthal it gives hackers and intelligence people a wealth of knowledge and a “way in”.  Funny, the State Department acknowledges this in June of 2011.  Finally part 3 subsection f states, “Do not auto-forward Department email to personal e-mail accounts, which is prohibited by Department policy (12 FAM 544.3)”.  This would mean that unless SOS Clinton was communicating directly with the POTUS and other cabinet members via her HRC e-mail address that she must have been forwarding her email from a state(dot)gov address to the HRC account, right?  Now we know that this was not the case so then it means that the POTUS and other cabinet members (assuming they communicated with the SOS via email) along with anyone employed by the State Department that sent SOS Clinton an email were willingly doing so in direct conflict with the memo of 28 June 2011 issued by the State Dept. under SOS Clinton’s name.  This isn’t ambiguous nor is it a nuance.  (The 28 June 2011 memo can be Googled and found at crocodoc). 
John Podesta is quoted as saying, “We need to defend her, and we are doing that”.  But just how can a reasonable defense of SOS Clinton be made once one considers she is (a)  an attorney (she can read laws), (b) worked on the Watergate Investigation, (c) was a US Senator and (d) was the SOS State yet still engaged in such reckless behavior?  SOS Clinton was in the US Senate in 2007 when the Bush Administration was rightfully “pimp-slapped” by the US Congress for engaging in a similar set up.  She knew from 2007 forward this was inappropriate, her colleagues in Congress said so and AG Gonzales resigned because of it.  What made her think she was “different”? 

Another defense is that, “SOS Powell used a non-State Dept. email” and that is true.  First and foremost his behavior was, IMO, wrong and as we all learned as a child two wrongs don’t make a right.  But let’s not forget that SOS Powell did not possess a private server which he maintained and there have been no accusations that he sent or received any classified data.  Finally, when his emails were requested SOS Powell worked with the State Dept. to recover these records and did not hire private attorneys to help review his emails prior to turning them over to the State Dept..  No question that I believe SOS Powell was wrong for using a private email address but with that said his actions were also before the Bush email sandal of 2007 which exposed how using an off the books email address was inappropriate.  More so, Gen. Powell stated on “Meet the Press” (6 Sept) that, “I had a secure State Department machine for secure material and I had a laptop that I could use for email.  I would email relatives, friends, but I would also email the department but it was mostly housekeeping stuff, what’s the status of this papers, what’s going on here”. 
Many have also made the defense that, “what SOS Clinton did was legal and permissible and didn’t break any policy”.  That is clearly debatable but I would side with what Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (who incidentally was appointed by Pres. William Jefferson Clinton) said on 08/20/15, “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy”.  Judge Sullivan in supporting his belief that the policy was not followed referred to the State Dept. responsibility to comply with the Federal Records Act of 1950.  It has now been reported (9 Sept) that to meet the backlog of sifting through the emails of SOS Clinton the State Dept. has assigned 50 additional staff temporarily to work to help  sort through the emails.  Even SOS Kerry has responded by appointing Ambassador Janice Jacobs to serve as the State Dept. “transparency coordinator” to help the agency respond to FOIA request.  Just what are the added administrative costs due to Mrs. Clinton’s behavior?  But the lawsuits by the media are not over and they are now not only seeking the FOIA information but are now asking the questions of the State Dept. that I believe need to be asked.  Journalist Dave Brown has filed a case against the State Dept (9 Sept) requesting all of the information related to the thumb drive that the attorneys for Mrs. Clinton held.  Specifically, his attorney Kel McClanahan is quoted as saying, "If one of us tried to do this, we’d have our clearance yanked that very day and have a search warrant served on us and something different happened here," attorney Kel McClanahan. "Not only agree did [State] allow him to maintain these records, but it's unclear if they even pushed back. ... We decided somebody needs to get to the bottom of what exactly happened here. What is it: favoritism or did David Kendall somehow satisfy some requirement that others of us never even knew to aim for?"  It should also be remembered that Former head of Information Security Oversight Office under Pres. Clinton and Pres. Bush (J. Willliam Leonard) is quoted as saying; “If a foreign minister just told the SOS something in confidence, by US rules that is classified at the moment it’s in the US channels and US possession” he added that for the State Dept. to say otherwise was “blowing smoke”. Reuters is reporting (08/21/15) that there were several email chains between SOS Clinton and Ms. Abedin that were marked “Foreign Government Information” which is a marking used by the State Dept. and is considered “classified”.  In fact those emails have been largely redacted and while that doesn’t imply the information was classified it clearly shows the data was not to be shared with the general public.  More importantly as there is an ongoing investigation just exactly how can those defending Mrs. Clinton “know” with such “certainty” that she did nothing wrong?  Think about that – Mrs. Clinton and her supporters are “sure” she has done nothing inappropriate.  To believe that means one must ignore the IG Report along with the confirmation that at least two of the emails found by the IG were classified “top secret” when they were sent.  Fact of the matter is that former Gov. and Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) said, “What the Secretary did was an end run around FOIA”. 

Just imagine all the things about this that simply don’t make sense and defy simple employee / employer logic and then think about the fact that the State Dept. admitted in court filing regarding the FOIA case involving SOS Clintons aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills that the Blackberry devices given to them by the State Dept. simply can’t be reviewed because the devices were either “destroyed or sold off”.  Understand that State Dept. Executive Secretary Joseph MacManus said that the State Dept’s “standard procedure upon return of such devices is to perform a factory reset (which will remove all data) and then to reissue the device to another employee, to destroy it or to excess it”.  Mr. MacManus also said, “Because the devices issued to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed”.  Now think about the fact that the State Dept. seems to have a policy on how to treat a Blackberry but they had no policy regarding using non-State Department email.  It simply doesn’t make sense. 
Imagine also that on 3 September it’s reported that former Hillary ’08 IT Staffer, Bryan Pagliano who would later be hired by the State Dept. to manage the private Clinton email server has notified Congress that he will “plead the fifth” if forced to appear before the House Committee on 10 September when he has been scheduled to testify.  No question that everyone has the right to “plead the fifth” but what would the purpose be for Mr. Pagliano to take the fifth if the work he did was completely in compliance with the law as we have been consistently told by the Clinton folks?  Ironically while Mr. Pagliano’s attorneys have notified the House of his intention to plead the fifth the Clinton Campaign has told the media they would like everyone to cooperate even though Mrs. Clinton is quoted as saying the  House investigation is just “partisan games”.   So why would Mr. Pagliano seemingly refuse to cooperate with a congressional subpoena?  Does he feel that the server he set-up as a Hillary ’08 staffer and maintained once he was hired by the State Department was not completely kosher or is he simply ignoring the House Committee because he too thinks this is just “partisan games”?  Then there is the fact that the Washington Post has reported that Mr. Pagliano was paid directly by the Clinton’s to maintain the server which, according to the Washington Post, was being used by Pres. Clinton, SOS Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.  When asked in August if Mr. Pagliano had been privately paid to maintain the Clinton server the State Department responded they, “found no evidence that he ever informed the department that he had outside income”.  Another State Dept. official stated that she was unable to add any clarity to Mr. Pagliano’s pay due to “ongoing reviews and investigations”.  Seriously just what was going on at Foggy Bottom? 
The Clinton Campaign continues to play the “we don’t really know what that means” card as Mrs. Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Fallon told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on 3 September that, “I don’t know what “wiped” means” when asked if the server handed over to the FBI had been “wiped”.  Mr. Fallon later said that, “literally, the emails were deleted off the server, that’s true”.  It’s almost sad how folks not only expect but seem to demand that the American voter not pay attention but that they (the voter) must be ignorant.  How this is a joking issue to anyone is confusing to be honest. 
In her testimony before the House Panel on 3 September, Clinton advisor Cheryl Mills stated that none of SOS Clinton’s work related email’s were intentionally destroyed or hidden and that maybe true.  The problem here is that neither Mrs. Mills nor Mrs. Clinton was the custodian of such information as it was, by Mrs. Mills admission, work related and therefore that information belonged to the State Department.  Mrs. Mills then offered a caveat of sorts and said that was unaware if anyone else had intentionally destroyed or tried to hide material that was deemed work related.  So in the end we know that Mrs. Mills is willing to say under oath that she wasn’t involved with any attempt to hide or destroy records but that she can’t say if anyone else did.  It’s the nuance of answers that is so confusing as after the emails were found from Sidney Bluemnthal to Mrs. Clinton it was discovered that several of those messages from Mr. Blumenthal were not among the thousands of pages of emails that Mrs. Clinton turned over to the State Department. 
It’s also clear that the IT Help Desk was unaware of the Clinton Server and the email address that SOS Clinton was using.  Christopher Butzgy a Help desk analyst at the State Department sent SOS Clinton an email in February 2010 inquiring about the “permanent fatal errors” in her email address.  Mrs. Clinton deferred this issue to her aide Huma Abedin who responded by email to Mrs. Clinton that someone had sent Mrs. Clinton an email but that it had “bounced back” (unable to be delivered) and the State Dept. Help Desk had, as Ms. Abedin put it, “they had no idea it was YOU, just some random address so they emailed”.  How is it possible that Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email and server was such unknown knowledge to the IT professionals at the State Department that they sent her an email to find out who it was yet the story is that this was “no big thing” and that everything was completely above board? 
Clinton Aide, Huma Abedin is scheduled to testify before the House Committee sometime before the testimony of SOS Clinton on 22 October.  No question her testimony will be important as she (a) knew the State Dept. IT Help Desk was unaware of SOS Clinton’s email address and set-up and (b) she was Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff.  Yet there are already questions about how Mrs. Abedin conducts business, legitimate questions.  Consider that on 10 Sept it was reported that Mrs. Abedin was overpaid while she was a “consultant” to the State Dept.  An IG investigation found that she was paid for time she never worked including during a trip she took overseas when she was pregnant and eight hours on the day she was in labor giving birth to her son.  Mrs. Abedin’s response to the IG in Oct ’14 about this was, “My husband handles all of the finances”.  So are we to believe that her husband, then NY House Rep. Anthony Weiner was actually filling out and submitting her hours to the State Dept.?  The State Dept IG report makes it clear that after a two year investigation she failed to correctly submit necessary paperwork on multiple occasions, resulting in overpayments because her leaves of absence were never documented.  For me, I know that of all the paperwork I have ever done the one I always know is correct is the one that will ensure I am paid.  Yet even though Mrs. Abiden agrees there were overpayments as does the IG and FBI the Dept. of Justice is not seeking any charges but rather asking that she reimburse the State Dept. 10,674.00.  Her “forgetfulness” in this case raises serious questions on her validity as a witness.  Can or will she tell the complete truth?  Imagine in one instance of overpayment Mrs. Abedin received a lump sum payment of 33,000.00 when she left the State Dept. yet her replies is to say that “He (Anthony Weiner) never told her about it and she only discovered it when contacted by investigators two years later”.  If Mrs. Abedin doesn’t keep track of her own family finances and doesn’t notice an increase of 33,000.00 just exactly how can she be expected to recall or correctly know the day to day workings of the SOS’s email?   
SOS Clintons campaign has tried to make this a partisan issue by attacking House Member Trey Gowdy but what the campaign is asking everyone to do is forget that (1) it was the IG report found problems with SOS Clintons email and requested a DOJ Investigation and (2) the State Dept. is in Federal Court over an FOIA request stemming from SOS Clintons actions.  This isn’t an R v. D issue and Mrs. Clinton can’t honestly trot out the old, “vast right wing conspiracy” argument that she has made time and time again going back to when her husband had what Clinton Staffer Betsy Wright called “Bimbo Eruptions”.  If Mrs. Clinton thinks this argument is a “winner” she is counting on what Jonathan Gruber called, “the stupidity of the American Voter” and its time voters looked at this and told Mrs. Clinton, “that dog don’t hunt”. 
State Dept. Spokesperson Mark Toner has stated that the proportion of emails now classified is twenty-five percent.  This is neither a mistake nor is it insignificant.  This show that there was an ongoing cavalier attitude regarding the handling of data by SOS Clinton and her Staff.  To think otherwise means that the voter must accept that our elected and appointed officials handle information correctly only seventy-five percent of the time and is that truly the standard we are striving for. 
On 8 Sept, SOS Clinton finds herself saying that she is “sorry” and it was a “mistake” and that she “takes responsibility for it”.  But let’s be fair, has she really or does she now intend to?  SOS Clinton knew that the Bush administration was roundly (and rightfully) smacked for using a private server in 2007 yet she still chose to use one.  SOS Clinton knew her department had told State Department Staff in 2011 not to use personal email but she continued to do so.  SOS Clinton further knew that all of her communications were subject to FOIA request and that by keeping them on a server not controlled by the State Dept. that any FOIA request would be stopped dead in it’s tracks as you can’t provide what you don’t have and the State Dept. had none of her emails.  Yet, again, SOS Clinton decide to just go ahead and keep things as private and personal; funny once you consider that Mrs. Clinton as a young lawyer worked on the House Investigation Team as they crafted the report on Watergate. 
Someone made an enormous error in judgment and I believe violated either the law and or many security policies and protocols. The fact that Mrs. Clinton has made joking, flippant remarks in Iowa about joining "snapchat" and "loving it" because the "messages just disappear" and receive cheers from supporters is sad and a horrible commentary on just how ignorant and uniformed Americans have become. SOS Clinton joking about "wiping it clean, you mean with a cloth"? There is nothing funny about this situation and the fact that SOS Clinton thinks it's acceptable to become a stand-up comedian is sickening. 

Bob Woodward thinks this is reminiscent of Pres. Nixon yet the truth is this is much, much worse.  Some folks (Mrs. Clinton and others) have said this is nothing but "partisan" or a "vast right wing" issue nothing could be further from the truth. Sen. Claire McCaskill called this whole thing about SOS Clintons server a “witch hunt”.  Really.  Folks the "leaks" are coming from the Obama DOJ - these are his people "sharing" information off the record, why? What is it about Mrs. Clinton that someone in her own Party wants to see her taken down and whom do they want to benefit from this? 
Folks use Google and look up anything that I have written and see if I am wrong, you won't, but please feel free to do so. Then Google 18 US Code 798 and ask yourself: (a) Did SOS Clinton open any email that was classified (even if she was unaware of its classification) on a non-governmental server? (b) Did SOS Clinton allow any data that was classified to be transferred to thumb drives (again, regardless if she knew the data was classified) and was that data provided to or shared with individuals who had no need to know that information? (c) Did SOS Clinton allow or request data to be migrated from one server to another by individuals (Platte River Technologies) that had no need to know this data and was the storage of such data was on non-governmental devices? (d) Was SOS Clinton granted the authority to delete, destroy, wipe-clean data owned by the US Government (Dept. of State) regardless of the level of classification and if so who gave her such authority? (Point, even if the information was not classified it was not her property and by deleting the data she ordered and allowed a violation of eRecords standards). 

Mrs. Clinton is quoted as saying; "If I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of this would have been in the public arena". This simply isn't true. The only reason this issue is being discussed is because the AP and others sued the State Department for the emails to be released and that case continues in Federal Court to this day.

Having said all of that I expect Sec. Clinton will be given a "pass" in some convoluted manner by the DOJ and by late 2015 we will learn that all was "well" with the choices she and her staff made. It will be a grand whitewash and there will be nothing to see. I'd bet my left nugget on that.

The issue, I think, isn't just SOS Clinton's use of a private server but rather the cavalier manner that employees (elected, appointed and hired) of the United States Government have been treating communication and the public's right to know how our government is functioning.  This isn't about political party, in my opinion, or about ideology but it's about right and wrong.  I honestly doubt anything will happen with any of this as it seems if we have learned nothing from the HHS, EPA and IRS email "issues" we ought to have learned that in our government if you delay long enough it goes away.  That's a horrible standard but one that I think has been established and I'd bet my right nugget on that one.  

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