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Government & Politics

Emails Cast More Guilt on Clinton and Obama

About 300 of Hillary Clinton's emails are in the public record, but questions remain

Lewis Morris · May 26, 2015
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend the Transfer of Remains ceremony for the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attack

On Friday, the State Department made public some 300 messages from Hillary Clinton’s email collection pertaining to Libya and the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attack that left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead. The Friday afternoon document dump was no doubt timed with the long weekend in hopes that the information contained in these emails would be downplayed in the holiday shuffle.

Fortunately, no such luck. The Benghazi attack and the cover-ups and stonewalling by the Obama administration and presidential candidate Clinton have made this particular embarrassment hard to bury. Despite the best efforts of the administration and its minions in the media, the hunger for more information at this point seems insatiable.

The batch of emails released last week shed a little bit of light on questions that the House Select Committee on Benghazi has been asking since it was formed in May 2014. A number of emails released from Clinton’s once-private collection include information about growing concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Libya going back to April 2011. In fact, Stevens, who at the time was an envoy, voiced concerns about safety.

“The situation in [the Libyan town of] Ajdabiyah has worsened to the point where Stevens is considering departure from Benghazi,” states an April 10, 2011, message. “The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout.”

Stevens ultimately stayed in Libya, but his concerns and the concerns of CIA analysts ultimately fell on deaf ears.

Other information drawn from the emails include communications between Clinton and her team in the days following the attack, speech preparation, updates on press coverage, even coverage of how then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney was speaking on the issue.

The emails released by the State Department that used to live on Clinton’s private server raise more questions than they answer, which helps ensure this issue will not go away soon. Several gaps in the timeline are evident, which leave open questions about Clinton’s role and input in shaping Libyan policy post-Qaddafi, how State was dealing with growing instability in the country, and the thought process that went into extending the Benghazi mission in early 2012.

Administration stonewalling on Benghazi is bad enough, but the fact the whole matter is tied in to how Clinton mismanaged her emails makes the issue that much worse.

Clinton’s now-famous private email server was politically motivated because she wanted to keep her work from the prying eyes of the “vast Right wing conspiracy.” Instead, she invested in a private server that was hacked at least once and was not nearly as secure as the government server that she was lawfully required to use for classified materials. Apparently, protecting data from the GOP was more important than protecting it from the Russians or the Chinese.

Clinton claimed two months ago that she never broke the law in maintaining her own private server. In Clinton-speak that is true — kind of. Documents related to Benghazi that have recently been reclassified as secret were not secret when they existed on her server. But they were certainly sensitive; otherwise there would be no need for the reclassification. Yet, there is no hard and fast rule that bars Clinton from storing sensitive documents on her server.

There are also different email addresses that Clinton herself used on her server, possibly to help categorize which topic or issue she was addressing. This is just a theory so far. Not enough emails have been released to detect such a pattern. Yet, it is clear that not only was the server itself politically motivated, but how she dealt with the information on that server was politically motivated as well.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the Benghazi committee, put some perspective on Friday’s email release. “More than six months after the Select Committee first discovered Secretary Clinton’s unusual email arrangement with herself … State Department transferred 300 messages exclusively reviewed and released by her own lawyers. To assume a self-selected public record is complete, when no one with a duty or responsibility to the public had the ability to take part in the selection … strains credulity.”

Of course, the partisan wheels continue to turn despite Gowdy’s logical skepticism. Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) issued his own statement praising Clinton for being so forthcoming. “The American people can now read all of these emails and see for themselves that they contain no evidence to back up claims that … Republicans have made for years.”

So, according to Cummings, now that we have access to the slightest fraction of 50,000 emails heretofore out of reach from the public record, we can plainly see that there is no smoking gun — so we should leave Hillary Clinton alone and elect her emperor president already.

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