In an astonishing display of nonpartisanship, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its conclusions on Wednesday following its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server installed at her home in Chappaqua, New York. In its 83-page report, it concluded that she lied about having gotten approval for use of the server and the personal e-mail account that it served. It further noted that when staff members (while she was secretary of state) questioned her use of it, they were told to shut up, go away, and never to mention it again.
From Page 37: "Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business [but she didn’t]."
And according to the OIG report, those staff members responsible for granting such approval “did not — and would not — approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business.”
From Page 40:
Two [of her] staff reported … that, in late 2010, they each discussed their concerns about Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account in separate meetings with [the information resources director]. In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements.
According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that [legal] staff reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system.
According to the other staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of [the IRM] is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff [member] never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.
In fact, it is apparent that Clinton decided on her own to use her own personal e-mail address to conduct State business: “OIG found no evidence that Secretary Clinton ever contacted IRM to request [approval], despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information marked as SBU [sensitive but unclassified].”
Reflexively the Clinton campaign attempted to put their own spin on the OIG’s report. First, campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said that “political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their partisan purposes,” claiming that the OIG report “documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries [of State] … who also used personal email.” He also claimed “no harm, no foul,” saying, “There is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary’s server.”
Politico demolished both of those claims, saying that e-mail technology was not nearly as advanced under previous secretaries and that consequently they were little used. And when they were used, State was aware of it. And just because one instance of an attempted hack failed is certainly no proof that others weren't successful.
In its 83-page report, the OIG noted other issues they uncovered during its now-completed investigation, including reluctance of numerous Clinton staff members to respond to queries by the OIG about their role in Clinton’s decision. Among those who declined to speak were Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and her top deputies Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin. OIG also uncovered evidence that Clinton's personal e-mail account had been hacked at least once, albeit unsuccessfully. In addition OIG learned that a top staff member suggested that she change out her personal account for one approved by State but she refused.
There are three other investigations into the matter pending, including one by the IG of the US Intelligence Community and another by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The one with the most teeth, the one most likely to bite Hillary Clinton most painfully, is the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is expected to be concluded well before November.
An indictment by the FBI for criminal wrongdoing by the Democrat Party’s likely presidential candidate would confirm that the justice system in the United States isn’t totally corrupt and beyond redemption, but Americans will have to await that outcome.