“But Everybody Did It!”

order arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>By Phil Erwin

Gee, what a surprise.

Hillary identifies others mis-handling classified e-mail and touts that as “proof” that she “did nothing wrong” – that there’s nothing to the “Servergate” scandal that’s burning up thousands of FBI agent-hours tracking her e-mail whoopsies.

The FoxNews website reported her latest shoulder-shrugging this way: “Clinton pointed … to emerging reports that former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the immediate staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also received classified security information on their personal email accounts.”

Nice of the White House to release those details just in time for a debate. Give her something to talk about…

But does this excuse Hillary’s unique arrangement of a private, unsecured e-mail server, which she used for all her official government business, in apparent violation of existing rules, regulations and laws governing the handling of classified materials?

Does finding other violators render her blameless?

Clinton’s response intentionally deflects from two fundamental truths: 1) That no one else had a private mail server set up beyond the control and scrutiny of governmental authority; and 2) That the mishandling of national secrets by others in no way justifies or excuses her doing so.

(Understand: Government workers are not precluded from using private e-mail just because they work for the government. But they are no doubt advised to use only the official government systems for official communications, because that guarantees a consistent level of security behind a government firewall (an electronic barrier protecting against intrusion) – and guarantees also that the information is properly archived by automated backups. If others in government receive classified information on their unofficial e-mail accounts, the violation would be the sender’s, for routing classified messages to an insecure destination.   Powell and Rice aren’t just off the hook – they were never even on the hook. In fact, Rice herself never even used e-mail.)

Hillary’s private e-mail server arrangement meant several things:

  • All of her e-mail security measures were under the control of whomever managed her server. None of the normal/approved security measures set up to guarantee adequate security of government communications were in effect for her any of her e-mail communications. (So far as I know, the identities of those managing her server have not been reported. Were they employees of the Clinton Foundation? Did they have security clearances?)
  • Clinton’s server location and management placed it beyond the protection of the government’s electronic firewall. If someone were trying to hack into Clinton’s server, the government would not even know about it – much less, respond to and protect from the intrusion.
  • As Secretary of State, it was a foregone conclusion that Clinton would be receiving sensitive messages from others in the government. But because Clinton’s server was beyond governmental scrutiny, no sensitive information could possibly be sent to her via e-mail without exposing such information to unauthorized access. We now know that at least 1600 messages containing “classified” information were sent to her server. Each and every one of those messages represents violation of federal law. Her repeated assurance that “It was allowed…” is intentional obfuscation. It may have been allowed for non-classified It was never acceptable for messages containing classified information. The very first such “classified” message which reached her server, and every single classified message thereafter, was a violation of law – whether it was ultimately deleted or not. By insisting on using only her private mail server, Hillary potentially made lawbreakers out of every single person who ever sent her messages with security-sensitive information. It’s pretty hard to see how the FBI would not conclude that that represents negligent handling of national secrets – a felony, regardless of intent.
  • A security audit of Clinton’s server determined that normal security measures (encryption and certificate authentication) were not used for at least several months. This guaranteed that her e-mail communications were wide-open to unauthorized access by unknown individuals. The fact that the server did not utilize normal security measures at the outset proves the server was not managed by security-conscious professionals. Again, the negligent handling of classified material is blatantly obvious.
  • The server was eventually moved from Hillary’s home to a professional server facility in New Jersey. Backup servers may also have been set up, likely at another location, to guarantee uninterupted service in the event of a fire or other disaster at the primary location. So conceivably two or more servers housing Hillary’s e-mail, which we now know was loaded with classified material, were then operating outside of the government’s own security protections. Were they being managed by individuals with the proper security clearances? I doubt Hillary herself could tell you who might have had direct access to her e-mail, stolen it, and sent it to every other government on earth. (Remember Ed Snowden?)

So the upshot of Hillary having her own, private e-mail server, and using that server for all of her official communications, whether classified or not, is that she guaranteed that every single classified piece of information reaching her via e-mail represented clear violation of federal law.

Sadly, Hillary’s latest defense of her poor judgement, her lawbreaking and her unnecessary, willful exposure of national secrets to unknown and unauthorized access is nothing more than a five-year-old’s excuse: “But Mommy, everybody does it!”

I challenge Hillary to find someone else in the government of whom she can claim, “Hey, they had their own private, unsecured e-mail server, too!!”

Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans represent such blatant and repetitive violations of laws designed to protect the nation’s secrets, it is a foregone conclusion that the FBI will recommend charges. The only question is: Will the Justice Department, even with a second, less Obama-attached Attorney General, indict her for what to any reasonable person represent clear and abundant violations of law?

Or is the Obama Administration simply too corrupt to ever hold a popular national Democrat accountable for consistently flouting federal law?



Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He sometimes wishes he could support Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies, and is none too fond of Statistics. If his writing depresses you, he recommends you visit Chip Bok’s site for a more lighthearted perspective.

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