Commentary Magazine


Hillary Clinton’s Worst Fears Are Coming True

The national political press is fixated on the chaotic and contentious Republican presidential primary, and not without good reason. But in devoting so much focus to the race for the GOP nomination, the Democratic side of the aisle has been getting short shrift. Over the course of the summer, a left-wing revolt against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has evolved into an insurgency, and her campaign is gradually imploding, albeit at a cosmically languid pace. But that tempo is set to accelerate. The tipping point may have been reached on Thursday when one of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s worst fears was realized. 

Hillary Clinton’s campaign team was surely reveling in the national media’s distracted focus on the messy Republican presidential primary late Thursday night when they got the news. Immediately, her campaign team sprang into action and began the familiar process of muddying the waters and misdirecting reporters with a magician’s mastery. The New York Times had revealed that two independent inspectors general requested that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton for possibly jeopardizing national security by handling classified information on her personal “homebrew” email server. By morning, however, the Times story had been edited several times. Struck from the account was the contention that Clinton had “mishandled sensitive government information” and in its place was the claim that “information was mishandled” by… someone. The lead reporter on that story confessed that the alterations were made at the Clinton campaign’s “reasonable” request. The Associated Press dutifully followed the Times lead and noted that the IG’s referrals do not suggest wrongdoing by Clinton personally – merely her subordinates at the State Department.

Several hours later, the Justice Department indicated that the referrals they received were not criminal, leading to pushback from New York Times reporters who claimed that their sources were solid. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Inspector General’s office is standing by the contention that classified information that was designated as such was sent to Clinton’s private email address. Something bizarre is happening.

All that is clear at the moment is that a classic bit of Clintonian obfuscation skillfully executed by Hillary’s rapid response shop and her campaign’s press secretary, Nick Merrill, is afoot. Reporters and commentators immediately began litigating the story as reported in the Times and not the revelation that Clinton’s email practices are now a criminal matter. The story isn’t the story; the reporters who exposed the story are the story. It’s only a matter of time before Republicans “pounce” and probably “overplay their hand.”

The matter of whether Clinton personally behaved criminally or whether her subordinates did so without malice aforethought is, quite intentionally, beside the point. At the heart of this revelation is that Clinton’s unique emailing practices, which she said she followed out of deference to her own privileged sense of “convenience,” possibly jeopardized American national security. Reporters who suggest cheekily that there is perhaps a way in which Clinton might be absolved of personal fault for this lapse of judgment are being disingenuous. “There is no classified material,” Clinton averred unsolicited at her March press conference in the United Nations. The use of the present tense form of the verb “to be” is entirely intentional because, in all likelihood, there “was” classified material in her insufficiently secured private email account — at least, there was before she deleted over half those emails as House investigators were preparing to subpoena them.

Any reporter that has dealt with the State Department’s FOIA office knows that Foggy Bottom has a habit of over-classifying information as a means of evading transparency laws. Of the emails that Clinton handed over to the State Department for review and eventual release to the public, only a fraction have been disclosed. Of those, 25 were redacted because they contained information deemed classified after the fact. Even some congressional Democrats have acknowledged the obvious. “All of her official emails should be released to the American people,” said Illinois Representative and U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth. “There are going to be some that are classified and those that are classified — then show those to a bipartisan group of members of Congress.”

As for national security, the Secretary of State’s emails were likely the subject of intense interest by foreign actors and her improperly secured email account probably provided anyone with the capabilities a way to penetrate American diplomatic information security. Despite being discouraged from doing so, Clinton used at least one of her personal mobile devices while abroad to access emails on her private server, creating plenty of opportunities for foreign agents to compromise her account.

This is no small matter. On the heels of Edward Snowden’s revelations, American informational security has been harmed like never before. “The experts warned that the entire U.S. national security clearance system could be compromised,” read a chilling Fox News report published on Friday in the wake of the hacking of the Office of Personnel Management, “that future senior government leaders and advisors could be targeted even before taking office, and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of government officials might successfully be blackmailed, bribed or otherwise manipulated in the future into handing over still more sensitive information.” How can someone who, through carelessness or indifference, imperiled American national security serve as the nation’s commander-in-chief?

There are many reasons to suspect that the IG’s recommendation will come to nothing. Even if DOJ attorneys want to pursue this investigation, they will come under considerable political pressure from the White House to let it go. This is perhaps worse for Clinton. In that case, the allegations against her and her staff will never be resolved, and exculpation will forever be beyond her reach.

But even if the DOJ does take up the IG’s recommendation and investigates Clinton’s behavior criminally, the former secretary of state’s image would remain tarnished regardless of that investigation’s outcome. Clinton’s team is quick to brush off the significance of her collapsing polling and particularly those findings that indicate the voters no longer trust her. They contend that former President Bill Clinton was twice elected with sagging trust ratings, but Hillary Clinton is no Bill. She struggles in public settings, eschews retail politics, rarely projects imperturbability or self-assuredness, and she is viewed by many as manipulative and scheming. The recommendation that Clinton’s behavior be criminally investigated will only reinforce and cement that impression among voters.

Even despite the media’s myopic focus on the GOP primary race, Hillary Clinton’s standing in the polls continues to erode. Despite her low-profile campaign, voters are paying attention to Clinton’s conduct, and they do not like what they see. For the likely Democratic nominee, this latest development is a disaster.


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8 Responses to “Hillary Clinton’s Worst Fears Are Coming True”


    The DOJ investigative resources are already overmatched by the ongoing FIFA soccer scandal and the investigation into tax status and recording methods of CMP . They have nothing left for a mere national security bagatelle especially considering that many of these DOJ Javerts may be soon working ( or not )for the target of said investigation

  2. JOHN MCINTYRE says:

    Noah, are you sure Obama likes Hillary enough to pressure the DOJ to drop an investigation? She ought to be a bit worried about that.

  3. ANITA FARKAS says:

    Regardless of her feckless exposure of American intelligence via unencrypted E-mail, who in their right mind would vote for someone who takes millions from foreign governments and many others(in the guise of payment for speeches) so she can award them with favors only a Secretary of State can provide. What an unabashed, deplorable crook she is!

  4. K T NOELL says:

    Yeah, DOJ will investigate. Loretta will see to it. And the sun will rise in the West.


    Progressives have not worked over 100 years to let the presidency slip through their fingers for lack of trying and planning. There is a hidden plan to win.

  6. KENT LYON says:

    Unfortunately, once Hillary’s minions are through, the Republicans won’t touch any of this and voters will be so confused it will make no impact.
    What Mr. Rothman doesn’t ask is what the nexus between Hillary’s emails and Benghazi might be, e.g.,possibly that the Libya strategy advocated by Clinton to remove Gaddafi may have been based at least in part on the pecuniary interests of Sid Blumenthal’s clients. That would be consistent with the Clinton modus operandi, which is arranging state affairs and approvals to enrich cronies, who then kickback donations (or buy access with advance contributions) to Clinton’s campaign coffers or the Clinton Foundation slush fund. Probably a lot of deleted emails (at least some we know of since they came from Blumenthal and weren’t handed over by Hillary) had to do with Libyan decision making. If such emails were to be found, they might clearly establish the Clinton MO. Such things as the electronic banking in Haiti benefited a Clinton crony. The deal making in Kazakstan benefitted a Clinton serial donor and crony on Uranium mining. Etc. ETc. One can even make the case (though no one ever did successfully and no one ever will) that Clinton provided nuclear warhead, stealth submarine, and ballistic missile technology to the Chinese in exchange for campaign contributions made by the Chinese military through the Riady organization (and Stephens’, Inc massaged by Johnny Huang). The point is that the Clintons have been involved in so many criminal enterprises, including ones that severely compromise national security, for so long, and have always gotten away with their dirty deeds, that no one should expect this time to be different. The Clinton’s have been fighting all of their lives to run their criminal enterprises through political offices and power, and, as Bill said recently, they will always fight (hard, dirty, and with malice aforethought, and pity those who might oppose them) to achieve their goals. If Hillary is elected, we will change from a terrorist supporting Obama regime back to a vast international criminal enterprise run by the Clintons. In both cases, the whole idea of America as a morally legitimate Constitutional Republic is a relic of history already. There is not now, nor will there ever be again, government of the people, by the people, and for the people. .That has officially perished from the earth, with such as Hillary’s secret server and priate emails and Obama’s secret side deals to the Iranian bomb negotiation charade to which neither Congress or the American people will ever be privy.

  7. IKE BASMAN says:

    ….imploding, albeit at a cosmically languid pace…

    Mixed metaphor, what?

  8. IKE BASMAN says:

    ….For the likely Democratic nominee, this latest development is a disaster….

    I hold no brief for HRC, having come from once admiring her to disliking her politically and personally. That said, a disaster is as a disaster does,. Only time will tell whether this latest twist and turn in her candidacy story is one. I doubt it but will wait and see.

    The larger point is that this piece reflects ideological commentators layering wish fulfilment into their commentary.

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