Streetwise Professor

August 17, 2015

The Chronicles of Hillary, Book the Third: Felon or Cipher?

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 8:54 pm

The Hillary email travesty becomes more of a travesty by the day.

Hillary keeps repeating her mantra: none of the email was marked as classified when she received or sent it.

Yes, she thinks you are that stupid. Or maybe she is that stupid, and doesn’t recognize the difference between a sufficient condition and a necessary one. Keeping information marked as classified on her private server would be sufficient to violate the law. But it’s not necessary. The relevant statute defines classified information of the United States as:

information originated, owned, or possessed by the United States Government concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States that has been determined pursuant to law or Executive order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security [emphasis added].

Hillary was Secretary of State, the officer of the government responsible for the “foreign relations of the United States,” and who dealt with national defense issues as part of that job. So, if Hillary wrote anything in an email pertaining to her job that would have damaged the United States had it been disclosed, or received any email pertaining to her job that would have damaged the United States had it been disclosed, she violated the law.

So Hillary’s defense would have to be: “All I did as Secretary of State–or at least, all I did via email–was discuss frivolous matters that would not have mattered in the least had they been disclosed.” In other words, she was a total cipher as SoS whose electronic correspondence (sent and received) was utterly trivial and required no protection against unauthorized disclosure. Not some of it. All of it.

Well Okay then! Who am I to disagree that Hillary was a cipher?

But if that’s her defense, why the extreme measures to prevent disclosure of this information? Why protect the banal and irrelevant? Why have a private server in the first place? Why fight tooth and nail to delay and impede turning over even paper copies of the allegedly trivial email? And most tellingly: why wipe the server clean? The latter act particularly suggests guilt.

All of these questions answer themselves. It was impossible for her to perform her official duties without keeping information that required protection against unauthorized disclosure on her precious server.

The wiping of the server raises another serious issue. It seriously impedes, and perhaps makes impossible, any forensic examination of the server to determine whether it had been hacked.

It’s also worth noting that apparently Hillary’s server utilized a spam service that opened, decrypted, and read every email to make sure it wasn’t spam. (Heaven forfend Hillary get unsolicited ads for yoga pants!) Well, what if her spam service was hacked? Just how many potential holes were in her email system, anyways?

Further, it now appears that the classification designations had been illegally removed from things sent to Hillary. Very sensitive things, including information related to satellite intelligence/national technical means. As an aside, Jonathan Pollard spent decades in prison for revealing information related to intelligence satellite capabilities.

The legal violations are self-evident.

The appalling lack of judgment is also evident. But it’s important to note that she is not just guilty of lack of judgment as the term is usually used, to indicate thoughtlessness, carelessness, or negligence. She made the conscious judgment to place her own selfish interests above those of the country. It’s not so much bad judgment, as malign judgment.

One wonders how long this can go on. There are two mechanisms for terminating her political career, as is only just and necessary. The first is political: voters will realize that she is unfit for any office, let alone the presidency. The second is legal: the Justice Department will prosecute her.

I have my doubts that either mechanism is sure-fire. The second is particularly interesting. Obama does not like Hillary: his Svengali, Valerie Jarrett, positively hates her. Will he let her twist in the wind for a while and then let a prosecution proceed? Or will he decide that the blowback from a war with the notoriously vicious Clinton machine (a) could distract him during his last year in office, and detract from his precious legacy, and (b) increase the odds that the even more hated Republicans could take the presidency, and undo some of his actions.

I can see it both ways, but think it more likely that Obama will stay the Justice Department: taking her on would be an extremely risky move. I therefore think that the more promising mechanism is a political judgment by the American people that Hillary is categorically unfit for the presidency. Promising, but not inevitable. Intense partisanship, combined with the fact that the Republican party is currently a mess and being ripped apart by whatever the hell Trump is doing, could mean that despite her manifest flaws as a person and a politician, Hillary could become the next president.



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  1. @SWP: I have to ask the question: Why did she decide she needed a private email server at her personal residence in the first place? Her initial comments seemed to imply that the state department servers were getting hacked. Sooo… she thought having a non-IT person set one up in her house in his spare time would be more secure? Really? That doesn’t even pass the sniff test.

    It can only mean that she had shenanigans going on that she didn’t want becoming part of the State Department’s official records. Worse, she was too lazy to simply keep such shenanigans compartmentalized in separate email threads on separate email accounts. While this explanation is certainly possible, I don’t think it is plausible. More than likely, those shenanigans were part-and-parcel of those official State Department email threads and business. It also implies that she was forwarding those official State Department emails to people who were not one of the emails’ original recipients (i.e. to those not authorized/cleared to read them).

    The hubris, incompetence and unabashed dishonesty of the political class never ceases to surprise me.

    Comment by Scott — August 17, 2015 @ 10:46 pm

  2. O/T: economist joke.

    Krugman and Bernanke are walking down the street and see a pile of dog shit. Bernanke says “I’ll give you twenty thousand dollars to eat that pile of shit.” Krugman does it, gets paid, and they keep walking.

    After a while they see another pile of shit on the road. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, Krugman says “Tell you what, I’ll give YOU twenty grand to eat that pile of shit.” Bernanke does it, Krugman gives him back the money, and they keep walking.

    After a while Bernanke says “I’m feeling pretty sick. We both ate shit and neither of us is any richer.” Krugman answers “You’re missing the bigger picture. We’ve increased GDP by forty thousand dollars and created two jobs.”


    Comment by Green as Grass — August 18, 2015 @ 4:50 am

  3. Personally, I credit Trey Gowdy (Texas) for Hillarygate, in its entirety. It’s taken three years, but we’ve gone from “What difference does it make now?”, to torpedoing (and possibly jailing) the “inevitable” democrat candidate. Well done, Mr. Gowdy.

    Comment by SD3 — August 18, 2015 @ 7:29 am

  4. @Green-LOL. I have heard that joke in a Chinese context before. It is so on the mark.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 18, 2015 @ 8:33 am

  5. Hillary has a devoted cult following, but I never got the impression most Democrats even like her. I think she is deeply unpopular with much of the rank and file, and non-Democrats like her even less. I think a big part of Obama getting the nomination in 2008 was that the party found a plausible alternative. Much of the recent surge for Bernie Sanders is for the same reason.

    Hillary is dropping rapidly in the polls. I think the original hope was that Hillary would be get the nomination without problem, avoiding any negative attacks during the long primary season, and then the media would shield her for the much shorter general election. This obviously is not going to happen.

    Hillary could still win the nomination, but I think there is blood in the water, and the sharks will be coming out. Even if she wins, she’ll be damaged.

    The Republican candidates this year don’t look like the clown show of 2012 when the only real candidate was Romney. Trump is unexpectedly popular but that is because 1) he is the only candidate making a strong border an issue despite strong majorities of Americans across all racial categories supporting that, and 2) he didn’t back down from his words after the media attacked him for it. If someone like Walker takes up the strong border issue, Trump’s support will decline. He is well known, but his support is shallow. I believe Walker will eventually win the nomination.

    Comment by Chris — August 18, 2015 @ 10:37 am

  6. I argued this just yesterday with a friend. If, as part of being SecState, Hillary encountered classified information via email, and if, during her tenure as SecState, Hillary never had a .gov email account, then (a) she by definition HAD to have violated the law, or (b) she was an empty suit for SecState duties (other than travel) and never attended to email correspondence, [or (c) conceivably, both.] BTW, van Susteren pointed out on her show the other day that no emails have turned up with respect to the ongoing event of Benghazi. (IIRC, she said there was a ~2 week gap.) About the talking points, yes, but nothing during the time prior to or during the attack itself. Strange, no?

    If Obama’s DOJ fails to prosecute her, how does this government prosecute anyone else ever again for violation of that statute?

    Myself, I think that the FBI opening an investigation gives her (and any other participants) the excuse for a response of, “I can’t answer questions specific to the ongoing investigation.”

    Comment by ColoComment — August 18, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  7. False dichotomy. You’re not thinking big enough.

    How about:

    Felon AND Cipher?

    Felonious cipher?

    Cipherous felon?

    Pants-suit Apocalypse may be avoided, after all.

    Comment by Ex-Regulator on Lunch Break — August 18, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

  8. @Ex-all true. I was being generous. So unlike me, I know.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 18, 2015 @ 6:36 pm

  9. was ‘t this story broken when it was revealed that some Romanian hacker had discovered her e-mail domain? OK, even if that was a legend promoted by the CIA, how is it it isn’t mentioned anymore? And doesn’t that suggest that a real foreign intelligence service knew this even earlier?

    Comment by Richard Whitney — August 18, 2015 @ 6:57 pm

  10. SWP:

    You have failed to grasp the dichotomy of fact (reality) being completely divorced from fantasy (worship, politics, romance & religion). The worship of Hillary by academe & the media is virtually total. They will not question her.

    They have not at all in years re: Benghazi. That was four dead Americans. If voters (or at least 50% of them plus one) don’t give a rip about a dead Ambassador & others attempting to protect/save him, what makes anyone think they will give a flip about an email server? Something most don’t even comprehend. Obama was re-elected remember after Benghazi.

    Ever Your Fan

    Comment by Vlad — August 18, 2015 @ 8:04 pm

  11. @Vlad-Thanks. I don’t think many in the press & academia worship Hillary anymore. It is just tribalism run amok–rank partisanship. And believe me, is she rank! bad-a-boom.

    Seriously, though, it is depressing beyond belief that this partisanship and tribalism has shielded her from being held accountable for her gross dereliction of duty before, during and after the fact, 11 September 2011.

    In my earlier post I said this is a test of whether we are still a country of laws, not men. I think we are likely to fail.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 18, 2015 @ 9:42 pm

  12. @11. I assume that you’re speaking of Benghazi? It was 2012.

    Comment by ColoComment — August 19, 2015 @ 10:06 am

  13. He went to Baylor but Gowdy has no Texas driver’s license.

    She is a career criminal and so always hope we will see a mug shot.

    Further support in the news for the idea that Barry wants a Biden/Warren ticket. Where do they find these people?

    Comment by pahoben — August 22, 2015 @ 4:40 pm

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