Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Truth About the Clinton Email Story

The Clinton email controversy isn’t about what you think it is about or what the media says it is about.  I’ll give you the real story later in this post.

Let me begin with a good article by Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post which begins to shed some light on what’s going on and why it is something Clinton can’t easily solve.  Linkins makes a good point that the whole Hilary Clinton email flap is probably unsolvable.  Essentially,says Linkins, there is nothing she can do to satisfy everyone, particularly not the Republicans or the media. Had she handled her email differently, says Linkins, things might have been—well—different.

Obviously, the simplest thing for Clinton to have done would have been to open and maintain some sort of "" email account and conduct State Department business in that domain. Had she done so, there wouldn't be an issue. In fact, had she done so and simultaneously had a personal email account on the side, this still wouldn't be an issue, because most people would find the notion that Hillary Clinton is not allowed to have a private email account to be insane. But by commingling the two -- government and personal -- Clinton opened the door to this criticism, because we can't be sure by what rules Clinton follows to guide her decisions to archive or delete emails. Does she follow State Department guidelines, or her own whims?

Sounds good at first read.  If Clinton had just used a government email account for work and a personal email account for personal stuff, then there wouldn’t be any email controversy.  But, is that true?

First, the email controversy revolves, so we are told, around questioning Clinton’s control over which of her emails were work-related and which were not.  Clinton has said that her attorneys followed a systematic three-step process in determining which emails were work-related and should be turned over to the State Department—(1) they searched for emails sent to a “.gov” address, (2) they searched for emails containing the first and last names of 100 State Department and/or U.S. officials, and (3) they did a key word search for emails mentioning words like “Benghazi”, “Libya” and so on.  See:

Clinton critics say they aren’t satisfied.  They question not only the search criteria but whether it was followed.  For them, Clinton just had too much control of deciding which emails were work-related and which weren’t.  It’s a bogus criticism intended to camouflage what the story is REALLY all about. 

Here is why the Clinton control controversy is bogus. Clinton would have had just as much control if she had used two email accounts, one government and one personal.  Why?  Because SHE would have been the one who decided which account to use when sending an email, regardless of the actual content of the email.  If she didn’t want some work-related email to be archived, all she had to do is just call it “personal” and send it using her personal account.  That’s not much different than making the work/personal call after the fact.  As Clinton noted, government officials who have both government and personal email accounts, and most do, make these calls every day.

Of course, it would have been different if Clinton had used a government email account exclusively for both work-related and personal email.  Of course, then she would have been criticized I imagine for conducting personal business using government servers.

What is the Clinton Email Story really all about?

So, if the whole flap about the use of government accounts vs personal email accounts is bogus, what is this email controversy really all about?  Linkins thinks it is just politics and sleaze-hunting.  I agree.  Linkins writes:

I promise you, nobody in the wide world is interested in reading emails pertaining to Clinton's rote, day-to-day State Department work, and the number of political reporters in Washington who are genuinely concerned with State Department transparency is too small to be of statistical significance.
What people want to find is evidence of some buzzy internecine feud or conflict with the White House, some career-crippling statement of policy or opinion, some private message in which Clinton says something intemperate about a political opponent, or some tawdry act of State Department-Clinton Global Initiative synergy…

Failing that, evidence of some embarrassing family problem, health issue, or lifestyle choice would be what the press would seek to uncover in a Clinton email cache.

Bottom Line  There are only two kinds of people who give a damn about this entire Clinton email flap.  First, Republicans and other assorted Clinton-haters are looking for some dirt they might be able to use to prevent her from getting the Democratic Party nomination.  They are terrified that she just might win and four or eight years of another Clinton in the White House is something they could not endure.  Second, the media and pundits are just interested in getting hold of some Clinton miscue that they can turn into a real sleazy soap opera to attract readers and viewers during the slow spring and summer season.  They just need a good story.

Prediction.  This email story will have no impact on the 2016 election or Clinton’s possible candidacy.

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