Much like the recent Washington Post "expose" that proved the Clinton Foundation once improperly took a contribution from Algeria for Haitian earthquake relief, today's New York Times story about Hillary Clinton's email account lacks a certain ... proportion.
Here's the story in a nutshell: Hillary Clinton never used a government email account while she was secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton is not the first government official — or first secretary of state — to use a personal email account on which to conduct official business. But her exclusive use of her private email, for all of her work, appears unusual, Mr. Baron said. The use of private email accounts is supposed to be limited to emergencies, experts said, such as when an agency’s computer server is not working.
“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013
Those sneaky Clintons are not to be trusted, right?
Remember Colin Powell? He also used his personal email to conduct state business. So did recently-resigned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, according to the Department of Defense's response to a FOIA request from investigative reporter Jason Leopold. They told him Hagel didn't have a government account. UPDATE: Also Janet Napolitano.
Mr. Merrill, the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account. He said that because Mrs. Clinton had been sending emails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” He did not address emails that Mrs. Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.
The revelation about the private email account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.
And others who, like Mrs. Clinton, are eyeing a candidacy for the White House are stressing a very different approach. Jeb Bush, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, released a trove of emails in December from his eight years as governor of Florida.
Here's what the Times didn't mention, but the Tampa Bay Times did:
The former governor conducted all his communication on his private Jeb@jeb.org account and turned over the hand-selected batch to the state archives when he left office. Absent from the stash are emails the governor deemed not relevant to the public record: those relating to politics, fundraising and personal matters while he was governor.
Bush's use of a private account was known at the time and the news media/public was able to request records. Bush had an official account but that was mainly traffic directed from people clicking on a form and he interacted with the @jeb.org account.
Here's the real issue:
The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.
Two weeks ago, the State Department, after reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s emails, provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks.
As one Twitter bud commented last night, journalists on Twitter were proclaiming the scoop because they're so sensitive to accusations of favoritism by conservatives. This story, and those like it, are the equivalent of a cat bringing a dead mouse to its master.
Fascinating PR problem presented to Clinton team: “Our principal habitually does unethical and/or illegal things. How do we spin that?”
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 3, 2015
This is what pisses me off. The media points , and everyone follows. Look at all the people they didn't point to -- especially David Frum's old boss.
Well, here's an obvious question. Why don't some of these lazy reporters get off their asses and ask President Barack "Most Transparent Administration Ever" Obama why he didn't have a problem with this? If this was Hillary Clinton's only email account, obviously it was the only account with which she communicated with her boss. Did the president condone this as a way to control leaks, about which he was famously paranoid? Remember, Chuck Hagel was doing the same thing.
And the outrage from transparency-loving reporters is a little hard to swallow. If you searched the computers in the Times newsrooms (or the Washington Post), you'd likely find lots of communications and even leaks from elected officials via their private emails. Call it a hunch. You can also call it selective outrage.
In any case, I've ordered a gross of clutching pearls to send to reporters. I hope it's enough.