Don’t expect to hear this from the liberal left leaning press corp.
Hillary Clinton has said for more than a year that her use of a private email server as Secretary of State violated no federal rules and posed no security risk. Only the gullible believed that, and now everyone has proof of her deceptions in a scathing report from State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
The report obtained by news outlets Wednesday is ostensibly an audit of the email practices of five secretaries of State. But the majority of the report, and the most withering criticism, focuses on Mrs. Clinton. The IG concludes that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee broke federal record-keeping rules, never received permission for her off-grid server, ignored security concerns raised by other officials, and employed a staff that flouted the rules with the same disdain she did.
“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” says the report. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
State still has never received emails from her private account for the first six weeks after she became Secretary, and the IG notes that it found (by other means) business-related emails that Mrs. Clinton did not include among the emails she has turned over.
The report says she has also stonewalled requests to obtain her server. And “through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined [the IG’s] request for an interview.” Former Secretaries Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and current Secretary John Kerry all sat for interviews.
Mrs. Clinton’s staff abetted her bad practices. The report says the IG “learned of extensive use of personal email accounts by four immediate staff members (none of whom responded to the questionnaire). . . . Thematerial consists of nearly 72,000 pages in hard copy and more than 7.5 gigabytes of electronic data. One of the staff submitted 9,585 emails spanning January 22, 2009 to February 24, 2013, averaging 9 emails per workday sent on a personal email account.”
The IG—who had better hire a food-taster— also found that Mrs. Clinton neither sought nor received permission for her private communications. The former Secretary also understood the security risks this posed because she was warned several times. In March 2011 the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security sent Mrs. Clinton a memorandum that warned of a “dramatic increase” in attempts by “cyber actors to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior Department officials,” with an eye toward “technical surveillance and possible blackmail.”
Following that memo, security staff twice briefed Mrs. Clinton’s immediate staff on this threat. A June 2011 cable, sent over Mrs. Clinton’s name to all diplomatic and consular posts, warned of this new threat to home accounts, as well as the news that Google had reported cyber attacks on the Gmail accounts of U.S. government employees. Mrs. Clinton and her staff ignored her own warnings.
One official suggested State set up a standalone computer for Mrs. Clinton in her office to check the Internet and private email. That never happened. A different official suggested she have two mobile devices—one for personal use and one with a “State Department email account” that would “be subject to [Freedom of Information Act] requests.” Her team said no.
As for Mrs. Clinton’s claim that her private account was secure, the report cites several instances of techies shutting down her server due to hacking concerns. “Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” says the report. But the IG says it found “no evidence” that Mrs. Clinton or her staff filed such reports.
The Clinton campaign is resorting to its familiar strategy of calling this old news while saying everybody does it because Mr. Powell also failed to keep records of private email while he was in office. “GOP will attack HRC because she is running for President, but IG report makes clear her personal email use was not unique at State Dept,” tweeted Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. But Mr. Powell’s use of private email was limited, and he never set up an unsecure server in his home.
All of this should bear on the FBI’s email probe and whether Mrs. Clinton understood the security risks she was running. On the IG’s extensive evidence, she clearly did—and then she lied about it. Voters should understand that this is precisely the kind of governance Mrs. Clinton would return to the White House.