Thursday, July 07, 2016

Accidentally Harming Our National Security

How is it possible to say that Hillary Clinton did not have the intention of exposing our national security to enemy penetration with her private email system?

Hillary Clinton did not accidentally set up a private server with a private unsecure email.

She did not accidentally use that email for years, sending or receiving classified information.

She did not accidentally keep this email system hidden from the public for years after she left office.

She did not accidentally withhold these emails from the public record in an effort to avoid FOIA and Congressional inquiries.

She did not accidentally delete emails at her discretion in large numbers and take efforts to make sure those emails could not be recovered.

She did not accidentally make serial false statements about the security level of the information she sent.

All these things were done deliberately with the obvious intent of bypassing government security and FOIA laws and the obvious intent of hiding what was done from the public.

I know that Clinton's defenders are hanging on to the idea that she does not deserve prosecution because she did not deliberately try to harm the United States by leaving her email system vulnerable to foreign hacking.

Truly, intent should matter. Although for ordinary Americans proliferating laws and regulations make most of us criminals on any given day without knowing we are violating laws and rules. No intent is required for those "crimes."

If intent is not important for us, why is it important for Hillary? And why is Hillary's intent so narrowly focused?

Seriously, didn't Snowden claim his leaks were for the benefit of America? Under the Clinton standards, is Snowden guilty of anything since he didn't intend to harm us?

And while much is made of the fact that General Petraeus was prosecuted for intentionally giving classified information to his biographer and girl friend, did he intend to deliberately harm the United States? Did he actually intend for that woman to pass along the information to our foes and enemies abroad rather than use it for insights in her writing? Wouldn't an enemy or foe have had to break into her home and physically steal the information to get it? Isn't that the potential route to enemy hands rather than the much easier hacking route that Clinton set up?

Yet Petraeus was convicted of violating our security laws for classified information care.

But Hillary Clinton who deliberately set up, used, hid, and tampered with a system (to destroy information) ripe for hacking had no intention of delivering secrets to our enemies when her actions were far more likely to cause harm than Petraeus' actions?

Aren't we into this level of outrageous defenses for Hillary Clinton's actions?

And how can our press corps run interference for Clinton when this is how she treats them (when she isn't rounding them up with ropes).

Rule of law is dying before us. The rich and powerful have different standards of being judged.

And those struggling get screwed.

This whole thing sickens me.

Although the willingness of the House Republicans to pursue this legal strategy is heartening.

The Republican chairman of a powerful congressional committee said Thursday that he will ask the FBI for a new criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's classified email scandal, focusing on the possibility that she perjured herself in sworn testimony to Congress.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked FBI Director James Comey whether he had cause to charge her for lying in a statement she made to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan during a 2015 hearing on the 2012 Benghazi terror attack.

'There was nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received,' Clinton said at the time.

If Scooter Libby could go down for lying to investigators about arguably a non-crime he had nothing to do with, nailing the corrupt Clinton this way would bring some satisfaction that rule of law is not doomed.

UPDATE: How is it possible to deny Hillary Clinton's intent?

In the matter of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her secret private e-mail server, there has been a great deal of talk about “mens rea,” the legal doctrine that people generally should not be prosecuted for crimes if they had no criminal intent. These arguments are pretty much 100 percent poppycock, inasmuch as Mrs. Clinton took conscious steps to violate the law, when she either knew or should have known that she was violating it, to achieve an illegal end, that being the evasion of ordinary oversight. Mens rea does not mean, “Well, we don’t think she really meant anything very bad, and she seems a decent sort, so, no prosecution for her.”

Rule of law is dying. And the fingerprints of the American people are all over this killing:

As I have written on a number of earlier occasions, it is necessary to keep this in mind: We are governed by criminals. The belief that sufficiently powerful political actors are constrained by statute or Constitution is a fiction, one that we would do well to liberate ourselves from immediately. It isn’t that “the system is broken.” “The system” didn’t give us this administration, this Congress, these federal agencies; the people chose them, either directly or indirectly. We are governed by criminals because we consent to be governed by criminals.

Of course, intent is not required to prosecute, despite what I believe is clear intent to recklessly put our security at risk.

UPDATE: Yeah, Hillary Clinton couldn't get indicted if she tried to get indicted:

Comey spelled out in some detail exactly how Mrs. Clinton broke the law before all that oogedy-boogedy about how she didn’t really break the law. That must be a source of some amusement to Tom DeLay. DeLay, you may remember, was the House majority leader, a Republican, who was indicted on charges stemming from violating a law that had not — concentrate on this for a second — even been passed at the time he was alleged to have violated it. DeLay was driven from office, politically and financially ruined, and damn near jailed before the case was laughed out of court — years later, of course. We’re hearing a lot just now about “mens rea,” the legal principle that criminal culpability requires the positive intention to do wrong. That this should get Mrs. Clinton off the hook is questionable — she clearly set up her illegal private e-mail server for the purpose of obstructing the State Department’s ordinary legal oversight — but, in any case, it was no obstacle to the indictment of DeLay on charges that he willfully violated a law that had yet to be passed. DeLay, once a pest-control man by trade, was derided as “the Exterminator” by his enemies. It should have just been the “Terminator,” with prosecutors in the present going after him for laws passed in the future.

This is not rule of law. This is partisan warfare under color of law. But only one side is fighting this way. Is that method of settling political disputes the way we want to go? Up to and including street thugs doing the dirty work?

And as Jonah points out, as he has all along, the server itself is the smoking gun that proves intent to violate the law and put our security at risk. Do read it all.

You just don't need a video of Hillary promising "flexibility" to Medvedev (Putin's suit-wearing messenger boy) to pass that hurdle.

UPDATE: Behold our top law enforcement official:

During Attorney General Loretta Lynch's exasperating appearance before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, she refused to answer the simplest of questions put to her by Republicans on the panel. Rather than answer basic questions, she repeatedly suggested that the answer depended on the circumstances. 

Video at the link.

We've climbed through the looking glass and I don't know where we are going.

UPDATE: For all the talk of whether Lynch "had a conversation" with Bill Clinton about Hillary's private (and dangerous) email case, I don't think anybody has asked Lynch if there was any exchange of written communications between the two.