Monday, September 5, 2016

Email, Hillary, Colin Powell. Echoes of Whitewater

Posted By on Mon, Sep 5, 2016 at 7:37 AM

Remember this?

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-09-05_at_7.14.43_am.png

This is when former Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to step up to obliterate the account Hillary Clinton had long given, that advice from Powell had led to some of the practices for handling email and texts now causing her such grief.

Minds are already made up about Clinton's truthfulness. But should facts still matter to you, check out what Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote after reading the FBI documents released last week about its investigation of Clinton. That first link provides many close looks by Drum that might change your thinking about a variety of the email talking points.

But this one particularly is of interest. It's about Colin Powell. Remember, Drum is drawing from the FBI report:

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became "public" that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to "do business," her e-mails could become "official record[s] and subject to the law." Powell further advised Clinton, "Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data."
[Writes Drum] This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not "a year later," as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by "not using systems that captured the data." Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.
Drum runs through many other specifics before concluding:
That said, this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn't prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She's told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn't take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN's end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there's no evidence that her server was ever hacked.

There's remarkably little here. If you nonetheless believe that it's enough to disqualify Hillary from the presidency, that's fine. I have no quarrel with you. But if the FBI is to be believed, it's all pretty small beer.
You may now return to your previously held opinions.

For more evisceration of New York Times reporting on this year's Clinton scandals (where have you gone Jeff Gerth? Fans of the Whitewater snipe hunt turn their lonely eyes to you) turn to Charles Pierce of Esquire for a takedown of the non-story about diplomatic passports and Bill Clinton's mercy mission to North Korea for release of captured journalists. By now you should know how badly flawed that Times story was, but I got a kick out of Pierce's closer:
In related developments, The Washington Post revealed Thursday that David Bossie, head of Citizens United and noted stalker of cancer patients, is now part of the high command working to elect El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago. There are now no rats left unfcked in that operation, and it's going to be damned hard to get a table for Happy Hour Friday night in the cocktail lounge of the Mena Airport.
Wait for it. Mena is just around the corner.

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