News broke on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton used a personal address for all her emails during the time she served as secretary of state in the Obama administration. This was likely illegal and certainly risky given her position and knowledge of issues of national security.
Today’s first and seemingly natural inclination of the Chicago Tribune is to help Clinton sweep away her latest misadventure that again proves she cares little of the rules of law. Rules simply do not apply to her (or her husband)
In a fascinating see-no-evil reaction, the Tribune Washington Bureau ran a story headlined: Clinton’s emails: red herring or a red flag?
Allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her use Tuesday of personal email accounts during her time as secretary of state, an off-the-books practice that mimicked her predecessors but nevertheless raised questions about her penchant for secrecy as she mounts another presidential run and how widespread the practice is among Obama administration Cabinet secretaries.
Clinton turned her personal email over to the State Department last year so it could be saved for history, following “both the letter and the spirit of the rules,” spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement Tuesday.
See, no big deal. Except, Trib reporters Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli have to admit this:
Yet many of her emails became part of the record only when Clinton emailed State employees at their official addresses, he said, a practice that stops short of ensuring that every email Clinton wrote made its way into federal archives. The explanation left out what happened to her emails to foreign officials or others outside the government and what security concerns the use of a private email account raised.
One progressive group labeled questions about the practice a “right-wing attack.” And Merrill cited former secretaries of state of both parties who did the same thing.
Aha! It’s an ever-popular, wide-spread, right-wing conspiracy. Except that would place the uber-liberal New York Times smack in the middle of said right wingers. The Times was the original source of the investigation and revelations of Clinton emails. To its credit, it was an act rather out of character for the Times.
On Tuesday, the Times carried this in its Page 1 story:
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.
So, the Clinton staff reviewed everything and decided which emails to turn over. That turned out to be 55,000 emails. We don’t know yet how many were withheld.
The Wall Street Journal picked up on that in an editorial today:
Put another way, Mrs. Clinton is controlling which emails are divulged, and everyone should trust her judgment. We doubt Congress’s Benghazi investigators will be reassured. You also have to wonder about the judgment of America’s top diplomat exposing her official business on personal email to cyber hacking from China or Iran.
The real story here is that none of this is a surprise. This is how the Clintons roll. They’re a political version of the old Peanuts cartoon character who was always surrounded by a cloud of dirt. Ethical shortcuts and controversies are standard operating procedure. A brief 1990s roll call: The Riadys, Johnny Chung, Travelgate, the vanishing Rose billing records, a killing in cattle futures, the Marc Rich pardon.
Back to the Times:
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
Hillary apologists need not fear, however. Unless a smoking-gun email is discovered, say, next March that totally implicates her in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, this email issue will have no staying power.
Especially if media apologists such as the Chicago Tribune have anything to say about it. If the media has been consistent about anything over the past 20 years, it has been a willingness to forgive the Clintons and mostly ignore any hints of impropriety.
We’ll stay on it like a Rottweiler on a pork chop,