The decision by the FBI in the United States to release fifty-eight pages of notes from its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email history as secretary of state late on Friday, just before the Labour Day Weekend in the US, has caused almost as much controversy as the content of the report itself. As others have remarked the whole exercise bore a marked resemblance to the type of political news management which was the hallmark of Beltway Washington in the 1980s and ’90s. Someone somewhere was hoping that the story would be buried over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately for the Clinton machine burying news in the era of the internet is all but impossible. That they – or their sympathisers – thought otherwise illustrates how deeply inculcated they still are in the political culture of late 20th century America.
You can read the detail of the memo elsewhere but these facts bear noting:
- There were essentially no encryption safeguards on the private email server the Clintons set up in the basement of their home.
- The private server had to be shut down repeatedly because of attacks by one or more hackers.
- The private server was successfully hacked at least once, giving access to the emails of an associate of Bill Clinton.
- Hackers, almost certainly non-American and possibly state-related, were able to break into the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s aides, obtaining hundreds of emails.
- Hillary Clinton received “phishing” emails to her private email account, one of which she replied to.
- Hillary Clinton’s emails were eventually transferred to a server run by a private contractor. However that too was subject to multiple hacking attempts.
- Two BlackBerry phones used by Hillary Clinton while serving in government were destroyed with a hammer by an aide after the existence of the private server leaked out.
- Eleven BlackBerry phones used by Hillary Clinton while serving in government are missing, despite FBI attempts to trace them.
- Three iPads used by Hillary Clinton while serving in government are missing, despite FBI attempts to trace them.
- One laptop used by Hillary Clinton while serving in government is missing, despite FBI attempts to trace it.
- One USB thumb drive used by Hillary Clinton while serving in government is missing, despite FBI attempts to trace it.
- During questioning of Hillary Clinton by the FBI key witnesses, colleagues of the former secretary of state, were allowed to sit in on the interview.
- Hillary Clinton expressed confusion over classification abbreviations used in secure documents.
- A computer expert deleted the entire personal email archive of Hillary Clinton after details of the private server became public.
Hillary Clinton may not be corrupt in any explicit or straightforward sense but there is something deeply suspect about her and those who associate with her. With Donald J. Trump displaying renewed popularity in some polls, when the odious buffoon should be an electoral pariah, how many registered Democrats must be regretting their decision not to support Bernie Sanders when they had the chance?