Until a few days ago, Hillary seemed a virtual shoe-in to be chosen the next Democrat nominee for President. She had skated around her mistakes as Secretary of State, she had survived the Benghazi scandal without any real damage, and by God, it was time for a woman in the oval office.
But then the e-mail "scandal" broke, and I don't think that people yet realize just how serious a problem this is for Hillary. This may be one that she cannot shamelessly bluster her way out of.
Here are the facts. In the week before her confirmation hearing for Secretary of State in 2009, Hillary established a private e-mail account within "clintonemail.com," a private domain on a server physically set up inside of her private residence. Eschewing the use of official government e-mail, she exclusively used her personal email accounts to conduct government business as Secretary of State.
Problem one for Hillary are the optics of this. There is no question that the only reason she did this was to try and keep her communications a permanent secret, or at least to limit all access to those e-mail communications she never wanted to see made public. This looks so bad that the rabidly far left crowd at MSNBC was stunned speechless, and Politico has compared Hillary and her secret e-mails to Nixon and his tapes. In a world of bad optics, you can't get much worse than this.
Two, as the NYT has stated, Hillary "may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record." This still is not clear, though it is likely the least of Clinton's problems in regards to her e-mails. That said, it does look bad, given that State Dept. policy is that all employees use the government system for e-mails, and at least one ambassador serving under Hillary was fired in part for using private e-mails to conduct official business.
Three, it is simply inconceivable to me that Hillary, in her capacity as Secretary of State, and despite claims to the contrary, did not daily discuss matters and materials over e-mail that were classified to the highest level or security. Having had experience with handling classified government information, I can assure you that the laws governing the handling and transmission of classified information are strict. And while I do not remember the specific laws, I do recall that storing such information on a private medium is a violation of the laws. And I am relatively certain that transmitting that same information outside of secured government means is also a violation of the law. And note that we are not talking about a single incident, we are talking about four years worth of material. This is potentially far more serious than the discrete breaches of security for which former General Petraeus was recently prosecuted.
Four, Hillary used private means to secure her e-mail communications -- and it appears they were less than adequate. This from Gawker:
When Hillary Clinton ditched government email in favor of a secret, personal address, it wasn't just an affront to Obama's vaunted transparency agenda—security experts consulted by Gawker have laid out a litany of potential threats that may have exposed her email conversations to potential interception by hackers and foreign intelligence agencies.
"It is almost certain that at least some of the emails hosted at clintonemails.com were intercepted," independent security expert and developer Nic Cubrilovic told Gawker.
Do read the article. It lays out in detail all the weaknesses in Hillary's private e-mail set up. It may be that we will never know the degree to which her decision to use private e-mail has compromised our nation's security, but it should be the subject of an investigation.
And lastly, despite numerous legal requests for discovery of information over the past years that would have included her e-mails as Secretary of State, Hillary provided only very limited responses, and indeed, seems to have, at least in some cases, not allowed any search of her private e-mail account at all. For example, in regards to House Committee requests for information from the State Dept. on Benghazi, her aids produced only approximately 300 e-mails from Hillary herself. It's beyond question that there is much more information that has yet to be produced, and that does not bode well for Hillary:
Hillary's decision to use a private e-mail account on a private server to conduct her official business as Secretary of State may be the biggest mistake of her political life. So far, all we hear from Camp Hillary is silence. Any one of five aspects to this scandal could be the bomb that ends Hillary Clinton's run for the President.
Update: Hillary has maintained radio silence, but her minions are out in force to claim that Hillary's actions are a complete non-story. According to James Carville, MSNBC and the New York Times, the most left wing outlets in America, are "in the tank for the right" for addressing this story. While over at Fox News, Clinton hatchet-man Lanny Davis went fully rabid in trying to defend the indefensible.
Here's the analysis from Charles Krauthammer: