Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hillary's Troubles Mount Over Wiped E-mail Server

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Hillary Clinton has a long list of titles: former attorney, former first lady, former New York senator, and former secretary of state. Considering the severity of her e-mail scandal, she may soon add another title to that list: former candidate for the Democratic nomination. As the facts continue to come out, her problems are looking increasingly serious. And — her protestations to the contrary notwithstanding — she seems to know it.

There's a special type of narcissism that seems to have set up permanent residence in the minds of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The rules that apply to everyone else simply don't apply to them. They keep straight faces while telling the biggest lies. It's almost as if they believe it when they say things such as, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinski," and "I never sent or received any e-mail that was deemed classified, that was marked classified." After all, they have dodged everything so far (including the military draft for Bill); why should whatever recent scandal is afoot be any different?

But even Hillary seems to realize that this time is different. The private e-mail server she turned over to the Department of Justice was wiped of data before being surrendered. This indicates to many who are either involved in or following this case that Hillary Clinton knows she has something to hide. Her lawyer, David Kendall, admitted in a letter to Congress that the server had been wiped, but did not indicate who had done it or whether Hillary Clinton had ordered it to be done.

When she was asked about it by Ed Henry of Fox News after a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton was customarily dismissive and gave a very Clintonian non-answer. As Breitbart reported,

Hillary, when asked if she had overseen efforts to wipe the drive, first seemed to understand that it meant deleting the contents of the hard drive. "Did you try to wipe the entire — so that there'd be no email, no personal and no official?" Ed Henry asked. Hillary replied, "Well, my personal emails are my personal business." Hillary then repeated her claim, made since March, that her staff went through a "painstaking" process to identify any work-related e-mails and turned those over to the State Department.

When her obvious attempt at obfuscation failed to deflect the question, Henry tried again: "Did you try to wipe the whole server?" Hillary's answer: "I have no idea." It is difficult to imagine that in the midst of a criminal investigation being handled by the FBI at its headquarters and treated with such scrutiny, Hillary Clinton expects anyone to believe that she has "no idea" whether or not she attempted to destroy evidence in that investigation.

So, Henry pressed the question once more: "You were the official in charge of it. Did you wipe the server?" Her answer shows not only her casual disregard for the truth — which many who are familiar with the Clintons have come to expect — but also her willingness to treat a serious matter with flippancy. When asked, "Did you wipe the server?" she pantomimed cleaning a surface and said, "What, like with a cloth or something?"

Maybe it depends on what the meaning of the word "wipe" is.

Hillary's "poker face" may not be enough to save her this time. With her lawyer's admission that the drive was wiped, she may be raising the stakes so high that she will be in big trouble if her bluff is called. She seems to be gambling that the FBI will not be able to retrieve the deleted contents of the drive. That ploy did not work very well for her husband's former vice president, Al Gore, when he attempted to delete e-mails showing that he had conducted illegal fundraising for the Clintons and the Democrat Party. Those e-mails were recovered, and though he did not face criminal charges over it, he did face public scrutiny.

Gore was able to avoid criminal charges — at least in part — because he had powerful allies in high places. Hillary may find that President Obama is not very willing to help her out of this mess. At least he has not done anything so far to help her.

As The New American reported Wednesday, there is little doubt that she did send classified e-mails over the server. From that article:

Before turning over the server, Clinton turned over a USB thumb drive containing samples of the e-mails stored on the server. Charles McCullough, inspector general for the intelligence community, told Congress last week that of the 30,000 e-mails on the USB drive, 40 of them were randomly selected for the purposes of seeing whether they contained sensitive information. Of those 40, two contained information classified as "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information." Doing the math, McCullough estimates there could be hundreds of e-mails on Clinton's server that were "Top Secret."

Hillary Clinton may have hundreds of good reasons for wanting to hinder this investigation by wiping the server.

With her obvious knowledge that the contents of the drive were deleted, Clinton has been coy in her statements to reporters. On Tuesday, she told reporters, "We have turned over the server. They [FBI investigators] can do whatever they want to with the server to figure out what's there or what's not there." She need not doubt on that account. The FBI will do all in its very powerful abilities to "figure out what's there or what's not there."

The Washington Times reports that "the FBI is conducting a criminal probe and the bureau is 'optimistic' it can retrieve the wiped data," adding that the FBI will also investigate whether "she may have had a second server," and that "her top aides — Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan — are now also in investigators' sights."

If that data is retrieved and shows what is almost certain — that Hillary did send classified information via her unsecured private account — she may be charged with some very serious crimes. According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon, she could be charged with violating 18 USC Sec. 1924, "which outlaws the unauthorized removal and storage of classified information. Penalties can include fines and imprisonment for up to one year." She could also find herself facing charges for running afoul of 18 USC Sec. 793. The Beacon says, "That law covers national defense information and people who misuse it to injure the United States or benefit a foreign power. Those convicted of violating that law face fines and up to 10 years in prison."

Add to that that she has destroyed evidence in a criminal investigation, and Hillary Clinton may face charges for obstruction of justice. It looks as though she has more to worry about than her political career. While all of this will almost certainly hurt her bid for the Democratic nomination, it may even give her yet one more new title: inmate.



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