Thursday, September 22, 2016
Even Worse Than Hillary Clinton’s Emails
The whole process must be rethought and soon. It has become absurd and dangerous. The only reason we have not had another thalidomide scandal is the the industry games the system to hide problems. Somewhere i have seen an item that suggests Vioxx killed thirty thousand. Whether it is true or not it did something and you barely know about it.
The real issue is that with intent, it is possible to operate as a lone wolf while bullying the civil service into submission. This cannot end well..
Even Worse Than Hillary Clinton’s Emails
The civil service was missing in action. We learned about the emails from a hacker.
Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, Sept. 5. Photo: Associated Press
Sept. 5, 2016 7:01 p.m. ET
Forget the new dump of Hillary Clinton emails. Forget the phony claims that the missing communications were all about wedding plans and yoga routines. Forget, too, the many requests from Doug Band in which the Clinton Foundation honcho hoped his quos (hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation) would translate into quids (e.g., special access to the secretary).
Forget them all. The most disturbing aspect about the FBI dump may not be fresh evidence of another Clinton lie. The most disturbing thing about Mrs. Clinton’s continuing email drama may be where she’s telling the truth.
Or at least a half-truth. Mrs. Clinton told the FBI it was “common knowledge” at State that she used private email. Agents further quote her as saying she “could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”
However unseemly the cashing in of the Clinton family, whatever the trampling of the ethics accord the Clinton Foundation had signed with the White House, even apart from the walking conflicts-of-interests that were Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, the much larger stink here is this: Mrs. Clinton was allowed to spend her four years as secretary of state off the grid.
It isn’t so much that Mrs. Clinton set up a personal server so she would not be accountable the way normal political appointees are held accountable. It’s that no one in government stopped her. The inspector general’s report notes that when two IT officers expressed their concern in 2010 that her private email system meant federal records were not being preserved, they were told “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”
As a result, when the American people finally learned about Mrs. Clinton’s use of private email for public business, it wasn’t because of a functioning civil service. It was because of a hacker.
Mrs. Clinton says officials at State never told her what she was doing wasn’t allowed. That isn’t quite true. It’s more accurate to say she never asked the people who would have the answers to these questions. The IG report confirms it was made clear to State staffers that she did not want the questions asked.
It gets worse. Even today her former department is still resisting efforts to make public the emails she tried to hide. Groups such as Judicial Watch have done yeoman’s work in forcing the emails into the sunlight—but they have also had to get court orders to pry them out of an obstructionist State Department.
It’s a disturbing pattern, and unfortunately it’s not limited to State. There have been similar questions about the integrity and professionalism of the IRS ever since the American people learned in 2013 that it was unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Three years, many congressional hearings and disappearing hard drives later, there is still no evidence the IRS has ended the practice. Just last month, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals described the IRS approach to its targets this way: “You’re alright for now, but there may be another shoe falling.” This follows on a March ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which blasted the IRS for refusing to produce a list of those it had targeted—as well as for its bad faith in defending itself by invoking a rule meant to “protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers.”
Originally the speculation was that the IRS effort had been orchestrated by the Obama administration. As the Journal’s James Taranto noted at the time, the IRS scandal is worse if it was not directed by the White House. “If it ‘went rogue’ against the Constitution and in support of the party in power,” he wrote, “then we are dealing with a cancer on the federal government.”
Now consider the FBI. Its director is appointed to a 10-year term precisely to remove him from political pressures.
In our criminal-justice system, the bureau’s job is to investigate, while the decision to indict belongs to the Justice Department. In other words, whether to indict Mrs. Clinton was Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s responsibility, and she would have to take the heat whichever way she decided.
Until FBI director Jim Comey intervened with a press conference in which he announced he was recommending against indictment. By going public in a way even he admitted was “unusual,” Mr. Comey effectively pre-empted the Justice Department and any hope for accountability. That Mr. Comey’s decision let Ms. Lynch off the hook after her private meeting with Bill Clinton only makes it more disgraceful.
Welcome to modern Washington, just two months away from a presidential election. It’s possible, of course, that the people who believe the system is rigged and that their government has taken sides against them are wrong.
But the most disquieting possibility is that it isn’t crazy to think they might be right.