Government & Politics

Now Hillary's Lost Bob Woodward

Clinton's email scandal reminds the Watergate reporter of the Nixon tapes.

Lewis Morris · Aug. 18, 2015

The State Department reported to a federal judge Monday that at least 305 of Hillary Clinton’s emails have been flagged as having potentially secret information. These emails, about 5% of the total examined so far, will be sent back to various intelligence agencies to confirm their level of classification and if any information needs to be redacted before public release.

It is expected to take months to screen the 30,000 printed emails Clinton dumped on the State Department for review last December when questions over her handling of official communications first arose. Examiners claimed to be overwhelmed at first by the volume of material, but there seemed to be a distinct lack of interest on the part of the State Department to delve too far into the matter, perhaps hoping it would go away. The FBI’s recent seizure of Clinton’s private server, and the growing desire for answers in the government, the media and the courts now seems to have lit a fire under their seats.

Examiners have currently screened about 20% of the 30,000 emails, and 60 of them have already been confirmed as having sensitive information.

The scope of the inquiry into who had access to the emails has grown to include top Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, and Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, who recently revealed that he kept the emails on a flash drive in his office. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he wants answers from Kendall about what security protocols, if any, he followed to keep the information safe.

In the eyes of the law there is still a level of plausible deniability about whether this whole email mess was a matter of incompetence or a willful effort to break the law. Students of the Clinton playbook are likely to figure the latter, and for good reason. But it is also possible that there is a “culture of corruption” within the State Department that allowed this to take place.

Consider the case of Philippe Reines, a former deputy assistant secretary of state and Clinton apologist. Gawker sued the State Department earlier this year after it ignored the publication’s 2013 FOIA request to view Reines’ email exchanges with 33 news outlets. State said at the time that no records could be located. But lo and behold, last week State employees stumbled across “5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length” that were sent or received by Reines. Even in an organization as vast as the State Department, it’s hard to believe a volume of information of that size and importance could simply be misplaced or lost.

Speaking of losing emails, it may be possible after all to retrieve the 32,000 emails that Clinton says she deleted on the basis that they were personal. It turns out that Platte River Services, the company entrusted with Clinton’s server after she left the State Department, says it’s “highly likely” that a backup server exists, meaning we may get to see those emails after all, assuming the backup can be found.

In what may be the most significant twist in the Leftmedia, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who knows a thing or two about high-level political scandals, noted that if you really want to find those emails you just have to follow the trail. “There are all these emails. Well, they were sent to someone or someone sent them to her,” Woodward said. “So, if things have been erased here, there’s a way to go back to these emails or who received them from Hillary Clinton.” He added that the furor over the Clinton emails “reminds me of the Nixon tapes — thousands of hours of secretly recorded conversations that Nixon thought were exclusively his.”

The comparison to Watergate is apt, and for Woodward himself to make it speaks volumes.

It’s still difficult to say what impact this scandal will have on Clinton’s presidential aspirations. It’s hard to believe the Obama Justice Department would pursue criminal charges against Clinton because it would be a tacit indictment of his own administration since she was his secretary of state for four years. And the fact that Obama was seen hobnobbing with Bill and Hillary in Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend only confirms that fact. If Obama was going to allow a criminal case against Hillary, he wouldn’t be golfing with Bill.

Hillary’s confident enough to joke about the matter. She told an audience over the weekend, “You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.” While her punch line delivery was pathetically robotic, she knows she has so little to fear she can mock the whole thing.

This scandal is no laughing matter, but it may be up to the court of public opinion and the voters next November to decide Hillary’s fate. Then again, even if she loses, she’ll laugh all the way to the bank during her posh retirement.

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