Hillary Clinton imposed a double-standard on emails as Secretary of State, one for her underlings and one for herself, and now she’s using double-talk to excuse her behavior, writes Bart Gruzalski.
By Bart Gruzalski
Hillary Clinton’s smooth-talking subterfuges about her email server continued in the debate on March 9. Univision’s Jorge Ramos raised the issue: “When you were Secretary of State you wrote 104 emails in your private server that the government now says contained classified information according to the Washington Post and others. That goes against a memo you personally sent to employees in 2011 directing all of them to use official email precisely because of security concerns. So it seems that you issued one set of rules for yourself and a different set of rules for employees at the State Department.”
After asking who approved her private server, Ramos asked the memorable question: “If you get indicted will you drop out?”
The key line in Clinton’s response: “Here’s the cut-to-the-chase fact: I did not send any emails marked ‘classified’ at the time.” We’ve heard that line over and over again the past weeks. Ramos asked his question again: “If you get indicted would you drop out?” Hillary: “Oh, for goodness, it’s not gonna happen. I’m not even going to answer that question.”
By continually claiming that none of her emails were marked “classified,” Clinton has convinced many of her supporters that she is innocent of putting classified information at risk: Her parsing of words — “marked classified” rather than simply “classified” — continues to work for her.
We have excellent reasons for doubting that Hillary “never sent classified emails.” Hillary stated clearly that she was “well aware of the classification requirements.” The Washington Post discovered the email equivalent of a “smoking gun” when it reported that Clinton had written three-quarters of the classified emails herself. That undermined her defense that they weren’t “marked” classified. If any should have been marked “classified,” It was her job to label them.
Under pressure by Fox host Bret Baier on March 7, Hillary added that it was the State Department’s job to classify the emails she sent out. The suggestion that it was the State Department’s job to classify her outgoing emails is ludicrous. No one else had the access to her private server. In her 2011 email to State Department employees, she shows that she is aware of the dangers of using a private server.
Hillary will undoubtedly continue to dance around questions involving her email. Even if she is forced to testify before a grand jury, her grand jury testimony will remain sealed. Those who are asking her the hard questions in public need to ask very simple and direct questions that leave her no wiggle room. One such question: “Did you ever originate emails containing top secret information?”
Clinton has tried to sidestep the email brouhaha by pointing out that Colin Powell, who was Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, used a private email address. The critical difference is that Powell did not use a home server. The potential security breach is not created by using a private email address, but by sending and keeping emails on a private home server.
Hillary will have to become an unparalleled Clintonesque wordsmith to keep the waters muddied. She may wave off a direct question, saying she’s answered it already (she hasn’t answered the one above) and asking for the “next question.” That response is already losing its effectiveness.
Regardless of what the FBI and Justice Department do, it’s hard to imagine what will protect Hillary from being indicted in the forum of public opinion. Hillary did send classified emails. That was part of her job as Secretary of State. She should not have used a home server which allowed classified information to be hacked. That too was her responsibility as Secretary of State.
Professor Emeritus Bart Gruzalski specialized in ethics, has published three books and over fifty articles, including online publications at Consortiumnews, Truthout’s Speakout, Counterpunch, and PolicyMic. EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org