Status Quo on that Quid Pro

by Phil Erwin

News outlets were reporting yesterday (Monday 10/17) that a senior State Department official and key adviser to Secretary Clinton, Patrick Kennedy, had offered a “quid pro quo” for changing the classification of a particular e-mail from (or to) Clinton regarding the Benghazi “problem.”


We don’t know what’s in this document. We don’t know who was saying what to whom. We don’t know why Kennedy cared about it. And we never will – not because Kennedy was unsuccessful in getting the classification reduced, but because it actually was important enough to mark “Secret.” Kennedy’s problem wasn’t that the document was mismarked, it was that it proved Clinton’s server had Secret documents stored in an unsecured environment.

That’s a felony.

So Kennedy did everything he could think of to get that document’s classification reduced. As reported in Politico, Kennedy called an agent at the FBI to request assistance in the matter. Then he argued for 15 minutes in a later meeting with the FBI. Then he asked Michael Steiner, assistant director of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, to get involved. (Steiner refused.)

The reason all this became so interesting is that the FBI’s “302” notes detailing their recent whitewash – I mean “investigation” into the Clinton’s unauthorized use of her private e-mail server indicated that Kennedy had offered a “quid pro quo” to the FBI, suggesting an increase in available agent slots in desireable overseas posts if the FBI would just (Pretty-please with a cherry on top!) downgrade that document.

Quid pro quo” is a popular term in legal circles, where it sounds more important than saying “This for that,” which is what the Latin term means. (Lawyers think using Latin makes them seem smarter than their clients.)

So the use in a formal FBI report of the term, quid pro quo, means that the FBI understood there to be a reciprocal offer on the table: You guys downgrade this document, and we’ll authorize some cushy jobs in nifty foreign places not currently allowed. (They’re talkin’ Tahiti, not Timbuktu.)

Mark Toner, deputy spokesman for the State Department, tried to obscure the details of this particular deal, saying This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts. To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015…”

Well, that doesn’t sound at all like the “facts” in the FBI’s report. To be clear: The FBI says that Kennedy requested the classification be downgraded. You calling the FBI liars, Mr. Toner?

Toner went on to imply that the quid in this interchange was actually suggested by the FBI agent, who raised the possibility of plum posts with Kennedy while they discussed the document in question. Toner, visibly disturbed by the implication that someone at State had had nefarious intent, barked, “Any assertion that this was somehow a tit for tat or quid pro quo or exchange in that manner, frankly, is insulting….”

Oh, really.

Whether the offer of more posts came from the State Department, or was in fact suggested by an FBI agent, the very fact that the offer was tied to a request for cooperation in changing document classification renders it an obvious quid pro quo, a scratch-both-backs kind of deal. And that kind of deal is, at the very least, nefarious. Experts in the legalities of such deals say it is a felony.

It’s called attempted bribery.

So, Mr. Toner… We’re to assume that the FBI is the culprit in any apparent attempt to bribe the FBI?

Yeah. That’ll fly.

Even more damning: The request to alter this document apparently came after the document collection was under subpoena from Congress, hence should in no wise be subject to alteration.

The agrieved party in this exchange, Mr. Toner, is the American People. If anyone should be insulted by this inappropriate and very possibly illegal exchange, it is We.

Because, frankly, it demonstrates just how common illegality has become in our nation’s Capitol.

Quid pro quo? Status quo.

That’s Latin, Mr. Toner, for “You guys suck.”

My discussion is around the release of FBI notes from the Clinton Camp interviews, which are called “302s” by the FBI.  They are available, in raw/redacted form, in 4 separate “dumps”, totaling almost 350 pages.  Here’s a link directly to the FBI’s public documents site:

Phil Erwin is an author, IT administrator and registered Independent living in Newbury Park. He would like to support some Democrat ideals, but he has a visceral hatred for Lies and Damn Lies (and is highly suspicious of Statistics.) That pretty much eliminates supporting most Democrats, and a bunch of Republicans to boot.

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William "Bill" Hicks

Regardless of political party, I wonder how many times this quid-pro-quo approach to making decisions has been going on? It kind of reminds me of a “private and public” way of making up your opinions.