5. This is what started the email scandal.
Not long had passed before State Department officials, working in compliance with formal requests for policy information, encountered something odd: the complete absence of correspondence on Clinton’s state email account. It soon transpired that the Secretary of State had been using a personal email account stored on a private server, and had continued to do so even after leaving the State Department at the beginning of February 2013.
The State Department responded by requesting that Clinton turn over her private server emails. Upon receipt, they realized that of the 50,000 pages, around 900 referred to Libya. These were then forwarded to the House Committee in February 2015. Realizing the potential PR damage that could result from her use of a private server, Clinton was quick to promote both her complicity and transparency in a tweet. The measure was responsive rather than preventative however, and did little to shelter her from the resulting controversy.
Such controversy is explicable for a number of reasons. First there was the question of legality, with the Federal Records Act requiring personal emails to be recorded on departmental servers. Then there was the question of security. Some emails, as confirmed by an FBI investigation, contained either sensitive or classified information (though none, it seems, were marked as such) – their vulnerability on a private server posing a threat to state security. Perhaps most scandalous, however, was the issue of corruption – wiping emails and hiding the truth.
4. Some of the ‘missing’ Benghazi emails are not forthcoming…
On March 27th 2015 Ted Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, issued a press release asserting that sometime after October 28th 2014 when State Department first issued its request, Clinton decided ‘to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server.’
Clinton, of course, refused to substantiate the claim. She maintained that she had only deleted her personal correspondence, turning over all work-related emails to the State Department upon request. However FBI Director James Cobey has shown this to be untrue – something that the right-wing media has fallen upon. While Cobey acknowledges that there is no evidence to suggest that Clinton deleted emails to conceal information, the fact is that there were thousands of work-related emails that were not turned over to the State Department, along with many others that will likely never be recovered.
To this day, ‘new’ emails continue to surface on a fairly regular basis. The FBI uncovered the most recent batch of thirty Benghazi-related emails on September 7th 2016. However, according to State Department, only one is new, and instead of containing juicy, original information consists of nothing more than a eulogizing address to Clinton from a diplomat. The others, it claims, are ‘near duplicates’ of previously disclosed emails. The lack of transparency has certainly been damaging for Clinton. But as we’ll now see, it is perhaps the information contained in the emails that have come to light that pose more of a threat to her reputation.
3. …And those that are reveal that she misled the public.
Returning to 2012 and the time of the attack, anybody who read over the initial statement released by Clinton’s office would have noticed a conspicuous absence – any mention of terrorists or terrorism. As we have seen, the official line was initially to portray the attack as a protest that had got out of hand rather than a concerted, targeted assault. A leaked email sent from Clinton’s private address to one Diane Reynolds (which we now know to be an alias for her daughter Chelsea) just forty minutes after the release of Clinton’s initial statement tells a different story.
In the email, brought to light by the House Committee on October 22nd 2015, Clinton divulges that the attack seemed to have been carried out by ‘an Al-Queda-like group’ [sic]. This position was reiterated very soon after in another email sent by Clinton’s deputy chief of staff revealing that the Secretary of State had assured the Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil that the attacks did not result from the video.
Another email details the content of a call made by Clinton to the Egyptian Prime Minister on September 12, 2012 – the evening following the attack. During this phone call, Clinton again went against the official version, saying: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack not a protest.” Clinton, as established in #8 would go on alluding to the video as the cause for the attacks up until September 21st. With the publication of these emails, it is clear to see the insincerity with which she did so.