Tags: Trump Administration | Democrats 2016 | Hillary Clinton | hillary clinton | server | mistake | email

Hillary Clinton's Server Doesn't Look Like Honest Mistake

Image: Hillary Clinton's Server Doesn't Look Like Honest Mistake
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Thursday, 26 May 2016 07:09 AM Current | Bio | Archive

This is the day that so many of us have been waiting for: The State Department’s Office of Inspector General has released its report about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. The report does not uncover any smoking guns -- no records of Clinton saying “Heh, heh, heh, they’ll never FOIA my e-mails NOW!!!!” -- what it does lay out is deeply troubling. Even though her supporters have already begun the proclamations of “nothing to see here, move along.”

It lays to rest the longtime Clinton defense that this use of a private server was somehow normal and allowed by government rules: It was not normal, and was not allowed by the government rules in place at the time “The Department’s current policy, implemented in 2005, is that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized Automated Information System (AIS), which “has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information.”

It also shreds the defense that “Well, Colin Powell did it too” into very fine dust, and then neatly disposes of the dust. As the report makes very clear, there are substantial differences between what Powell did and what Clinton did:

It’s really hard to come away from reading this report thinking “Yup, just an honest mistake.” Or indeed, “just a mistake, no big deal.” Or even “no worse than others have done.” I worked in bank IT for several years before I went to business school, and when this story first broke, I enjoyed an amusing hour or so envisioning what regulators would have said if we’d tried any of these sorts of excuses on them. Since then, I’ve had several such conversations with folks who are still laboring in the trenches of the securities industry, and their bitter laughter still rings in my ears. Why is Clinton being held to a lower standard?

Well, because she’s a Clinton, and the Clintons have always acted as if the rules applied only to others. And given that Democrats boxed themselves into her name on the ticket so early on, Team Blue had little choice but to rally around and pretend that this is just a minor peccadillo, like forgetting to date the signature on your FEC filings. Lord knows, this election cycle, there’s good reason to view this sort of behavior as the lesser of two evils.

But it isn’t minor. Setting up an e-mail server in a home several states away from the security and IT folks, in disregard of the rules designed to protect state secrets and ensure good government records, and then hiring your server administrator to a political slot while he keeps managing your system on government time … this is not acceptable behavior in a government official. If Clinton weren’t the nominee, or if she had an R after her name rather than a D, her defenders would have no difficulty recognizing just how troubling it is.

That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to prefer Trump to her. Back when I was surveying #NeverTrump voters, I heard from more than one conservative intelligence type who basically said “I think Clinton should be in jail for what she did, and I still think she’s a better choice than Trump for the presidency.”

Politics is not simply a team sport, and good government is only possible if we’re willing to call out misbehavior no matter who does it. Even if we still hold our nose and pull the lever for the misbehaver come November.

Megan McArdle is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes on economics, business and public policy. To read more of her blogs, CLICK HERE NOW.

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This is the day that so many of us have been waiting for: The State Department's Office of Inspector General has released its report about Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.
hillary clinton, server, mistake, email
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2016-09-26
Thursday, 26 May 2016 07:09 AM
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