May 26, 2016
The State Department Inspector General’s report about Hillary Clinton’s emails and private server proves Clinton has been blatantly lying to the American people for over a year.
While Bernie Sanders, her only remaining primary opponent, has refused to touch the email issue, opting instead to debate policy, the former Secretary of State is expected to be questioned soon by the FBI as it finishes its investigation into whether or not Clinton’s use of a private email server in her home compromised national security.
Even if national security was never jeopardized, Clinton could still be indicted for “gross negligence” if the Department of Justice concludes that Clinton’s cavalier attitude about the sensitive materials in her server constitutes negligence. Even a former U.S. Attorney General has said the Clinton investigation should result in indictment, claiming she broke at least four different laws.
A Clinton indictment would almost certainly cost the former First Lady the Democratic nomination if it comes before the Democratic National Convention in late July, or even hand the presidency to Donald Trump if Clinton is the Democratic nominee and the FBI hands down an indictment between then and November. The release of the Inspector General’s report makes an indictment much more likely, as it proves Clinton has consistently lied to the public about the issue in at least five different instances:
Lie #1: The State Department signed off on Clinton’s use of a private server
At the 30-second mark of the below video, Clinton is seen telling NBC’s Andrea Mitchell in a 2015 interview that her private email server was “allowed by the State Department,” and again reiterating that same point in the October 2015 Democratic Debate on CNN.
However, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) wrote that Clinton not only ignored proper protocol for recordkeeping, but actively circumvented it by using a private home server to conduct State Department business:
“The Department’s current policy, implemented in 2005, is that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized Automated Information System (AIS), which “has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information.”
As of this writing, Clinton’s own website parrots the lie that the State Department allowed her to use a private server to conduct State Department business.
Lie #2: Other Secretaries of State did the same thing
In response to the OIG report, Hillary for America national press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted that Clinton’s use of a private server was “not unique,” and Clinton later said that her predecessors had similar recordkeeping practices (a claim PolitiFact debunked with a “mostly false” rating):
GOP will attack HRC because she is running for President, but IG report makes clear her personal email use was not unique at State Dept
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) May 25, 2016
According to the New York Times, Albright and Rice didn’t use private email accounts to conduct government business. And while Clinton would like to use Colin Powell as an example of a predecessor who adopted similar recordkeeping practices, he used his private email sparingly, whereas Clinton used it exclusively. As Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle wrote, Powell’s use of a private account was completely transparent. Clinton, on the other hand, told those asking about her private server to stop asking about it immediately.
Powell had an outside line set up in his office, into which he plugged a laptop, which he used alongside his State Department computer. The IT department was, in other words, aware that this was going on, and it seems to have come up in discussions of his drive to get everyone at State access to the Internet at their desk.
While former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice agreed to be interviewed by the OIG for the report, Clinton did not.
Lie #3: Clinton’s private server was never hacked
44-year-old Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, also known as Guccifer, claims that he not only successfully hacked into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, but that up to 10 hackers from multiple countries had access to the server at one point, and that hacking into the server was “easy.” In 2015, Politico reported that Clinton’s server had hacking attempts from South Korea, China, and Germany.
Guccifer recently pleaded guilty to hacking the social media and email accounts of approximately 100 senior government officials, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and is likely to do serious time on charges of unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon cast doubt on Guccifer’s claims, saying there’s no definitive proof that the server was ever hacked.
However, the OIG report reveals that Bryan Pagliano, who set up Clinton’s server, had to shut down the server at one point to prevent hackers from accessing its contents. And the New York Times reports that Clinton blatantly ignored multiple briefings and in-person training sessions on cybersecurity:
The department issued numerous warnings dating back a decade about the cybersecurity risks of using personal emails accounts for government business, the report said. Mrs. Clinton was personally sent a memo in 2011 warnings of hackers trying to target unclassified, personal email accounts. She was also given a classified, in-person briefing on the dangers, the report said.
Lie #4: Clinton and her staff cooperated with every step of the investigation
In a March interview with CBS’ Face the Nation, Clinton congratulated Bryan Pagliano for cooperating with the FBI investigation into the use of her private server, calling the investigation a “security review” and saying “everyone else has” cooperated with investigators along the way. But the OIG report reveals that neither Clinton nor her top aides, like Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Cheryl Mills, agreed to be interviewed for the report.
Additionally, the OIG found that not only was Team Clinton unwilling to cooperate, but that Clinton wasn’t alone in her use of private email for government business. The Washington Post discovered a section buried in the report that names “four immediate staff members” as having some 72,000 pages of government business archived in their private accounts:
And while Clinton eventually agreed to turn over tens of thousands of emails to the public as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, the OIG found that Clinton sent an incomplete package, with months of emails missing from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State:
Lie #5: Clinton sent no classified material over her private server
On Hillary Clinton’s website, she defends her use of the private server, arguing that no classified emails were ever sent on her home server, claiming she only used her home account for unclassified material. But a Washington Post analysis of Clinton’s email records found that over 100 emails Clinton sent from her home server contained classified information:
In roughly three-quarters of those cases, officials have determined that material Clinton herself wrote in the body of email messages is classified. Clinton sometimes initiated the conversations but more often replied to aides or other officials with brief reactions to ongoing discussions.
The analysis also showed that the practice of using non-secure email systems to send sensitive information was widespread at the department and elsewhere in government.
Additionally, 22 of the emails on Clinton’s server, amounting to seven email chains and 37 pages of hard copy, were later given “top secret” classification by the State Department, meaning they could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to national security if made public. Brian Fallon blasted the categorization of those emails, calling it “overclassification run amok.” At one point, Clinton even instructed aide Jake Sullivan to strip a set of talking points of its classified status, and then send the document through a “non-secure” channel after Sullivan told his superior that there were “issues” with sending the document through a secure fax line.
Certainly, the OIG report leaves many questions unanswered, as the Democratic presidential front-runner has now been caught lying in at least five public statements about her emails. The only questions remaining now are whether or not the FBI will question the former Secretary of State before the Democratic National Convention in July, and whether or not she’ll be charged with a crime.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org