This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 27, 2016:
The private email server scandal is one (out of dozens) that simply won’t go away with the passage of time. The first investigation, just completed, sets the stage for the other three, leading to the increasing likelihood of an indictment, possibly even before the general election in November. That indictment, if it happens, will rest on the desk of James Comey, head of the FBI.
For the moment all eyes are on the 83-page report from the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which was released to Congress on Wednesday and leaked shortly thereafter to the press. What makes it astonishing is not its conclusions, but the source: it’s Hillary’s own Department of State. It concludes, among other things, that she lied about having gotten approval from legal about using a private server installed at her home in Chappaqua, New York, by a department staffer doing a side job. When the lie was discovered, her staff tried to cover it up. And when the OIG came questioning, Clinton’s top staffers declined to answer.
Predictably, her campaign staff is laughing it off, saying that 1) everyone had a private email address, and 2) it didn’t matter because no hacks into her account were successful. In other words, “no harm, no foul.”
The OIG said that “Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business [but she didn’t]….” If she had, those responsible wouldn’t have granted it. (See page 37)
The OIG said that when staffers got concerned that she was violating protocol, HRC told them to shut up. This from page 40:
Two [of her] staff reported … that, in late 2010, they each discussed their concerns about Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account in separate meetings with [the Information Resources Director]. In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements.
According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that [legal] staff reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system.
According to the other staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of [the IRM] is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff [member] never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.
To prove the point, the OIG confirmed that it “found no evidence that Secretary Clinton ever contacted IRM [Information Resources Management] to request [approval], despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information marked as SBU [sensitive but unclassified].”
The report also uncovered stonewalling by Clinton’s top people, and hacking attempts that appeared to be unsuccessful. But, predictably, Clinton’s present campaign for president claims that the report means nothing, that it will instead be used for partisan purposes, that private emails were used by others in the past, and, essentially, “what does it matter, anyway?”
In addition, the OIG noted other issues they uncovered during its now-completed investigation, including reluctance of numerous Clinton staff members to respond to queries by the OIG about their role in Clinton’s decision. Among those who declined are Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and her top deputies Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin. It also uncovered evidence that her personal email account had been hacked at least once, albeit unsuccessfully. In addition, OIG learned that a top staff member suggested that she change out her personal account for one approved by State but she refused.
There are three other investigations into the matter pending, including one by the IG of the US Intelligence Community and another by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The one with the most teeth, the one most likely to bite Hillary Clinton most painfully, is the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). That investigation is expected to be concluded well before November.
Which brings us to James Comey, the head of the FBI and likely the most “untouchable” – sorry – man in Washington. Obama cannot fire him, at least not at this late stage of the game. Obama isn’t particularly interested in saving Hillary’s hide anyway, as news reports of their various rifts over the years have made abundantly clear.
Besides, if Obama did fire him, he would be immediately replaced by Comey’s second-in-command without the need for Senate approval. That replacement would be highly motivated to continue Comey’s investigation, which every sentient soul on the planet would then know would lead to an indictment. This would announce, once again, that the FBI is independent, it is above politics, it is “untouchable.”
If the FBI ever takes a position that appears to be influenced by politics, it is done for. Its credibility, built up carefully over the years, would be gone. It would be just another partisan government agency reflecting the politics of The One sitting in the Oval Office. Hear this from Comey earlier this month:
We want to do it [the investigation] well and we want to do it promptly, so I feel pressure to do both of those things. [But] I don’t tether to any particular external deadline … I do feel the pressure to do it well and promptly, but, as between the two, I always choose well.
Comey couldn’t have delivered a stronger message of defiance: I won’t be rushed. I will do this my way however long it takes to get it right. Back off!
The man won’t be bought. Neither will his investigation.
Mish Shedlock: State Department Rules Hillary Created “Security Risks”: When’s the FBI Criminal Charges?
State Dept. OIG Report on HRC Emails
Katie Pavlich: Inspector General Finds Hillary Clinton Violated Federal Records Act By Deleting Emails
Politico: State Dept. watchdog: Clinton violated email rules
The New American: Indictment Could Be Only Weeks Away for Clinton
The New American: New E-mails Show Hillary Lied; Risked National Security
USA Today: Six key excerpts from the State Dept. report on Clinton’s emails
Politico: The 9 biggest revelations in the State IG report on Clinton’s emails