Several months ago the internet was all abuzz with the infamous “I’m sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails” line that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tossed out during one of the Democratic debates. He said the American people wanted to talk about the real issues facing this country and he was right. This website has largely avoided the email issue, partly due to the Sanders camp avoidance of the issue.
Today’s news from the State Department changes that. It’s now time to talk about her “damn emails.” According to a scathing article by Associated Press, Clinton ignored official guidelines from the State Department by her use of a private email account and server, as shown in an internal audit that was released on Wednesday. She has long tried to laugh the subject off or paint it as just another Republican witch hunt that has dogged her for over two decades.
But this is different. The story is now out, and it is clear from the audit that she flat-out lied about hacking attempts. It’s also clear that she and her staff played by their own set of rules, completely disregarding government protocol and disregarding or ignoring any attempts to get her to play by the rules. She also lied when she said that she and her staff have cooperated and have been willing to talk to anyone about this. The audit makes it clear that is not the case.
Why should Sanders talk about this? He has a history of not running attack ads or “going negative,” mostly because he doesn’t like “gotcha” headlines and wants to stick to the issues. This is an issue, however, and a damn serious one.
I’ll admit to mostly going along with whatever Bernie says during this campaign; it’s hard to argue with the results of a campaign that has literally knocked down the political establishment the way it has. But this is different. This is a subject of grave concern for this country—because if she thought she could get away with those actions as Secretary of State, can you imagine what will happen if she is President?
Takeaways from the audit:
Hillary Clinton disregarded State Department cybersecurity guidelines by using a private email account and server.
Clinton never sought approval to conduct government business over private email.
The 78-page analysis, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, says Clinton ignored clear directives. She never sought approval to conduct government business over private email, and never demonstrated the server or the Blackberry she used while in office “met minimum information security requirements.”
She never demonstrated that the server or the Blackberry she used while in office “met minimum information security requirements.”
Twice in 2010, information management staff at the State Department raised concerns that Clinton’s email practices failed to meet federal records-keeping requirements. The staff’s director responded that Clinton’s personal email system had been reviewed and approved by legal staff, “and that the matter was not to be discussed any further.”
Her staff twice brushed aside specific concerns that she wasn’t following federal rules.
The audit found no evidence of a legal staff review or approval. It said any such request would have been denied by senior information officers because of security risks.
Clinton and several of her senior staff declined to be interviewed for the State Department investigation.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation” this month, Clinton said, “I’ve made it clear that I’m more than ready to talk to anybody, anytime. And I’ve encouraged all of (my staff) to be very forthcoming.”
The audit revealed that hacking attempts forced then-Secretary Clinton off email at one point in 2011.
The audit said a Clinton aide had to shut down the server on Jan. 9, 2011, because he believed “someone was trying to hack us.” Later that day, he said: “We were attacked again so I shut (the server) down for a few min.” The next day, a senior official told two of Clinton’s top aides not to email their boss “anything sensitive,” saying she could “explain more in person.”
Clinton actions are more serious than those of previous Secretaries of State.
The review encompassed the email and information practices of the past five secretaries of state, finding them “slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks associated with electronic data communications, particularly as those risks pertain to its most senior leadership.” But the failings of Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, were singled out as more serious. “By Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the department’s guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated,” the report concluded. “Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.”
There is of course a right way for the Sanders campaign to go about this—but it can no longer be ignored. Attack ads are not what is needed here. Talking about this serious issue is not going negative; rather, it presents a golden opportunity for Sanders. Bernie HAS to show the superdelegates that this email situation is not going to go away—that in fact it has become even more serious and will only get bigger, further damaging her already historic unfavorability ratings. Her campaign has been in a free-fall almost from the beginning, but this is the final straw. Superdelegate support of her now almost ensures a Trump Presidenc. We would hope they don’t want that; I know we sure don’t.
Bernie’s supporters have supported him to the tune of well over $200 million. He has always said “#NotMeUs—so now it’s time to do what “We The People” need him to do regarding the email subject.