Hillary Clinton's e-mails

The Economist July 9th 2016




Notes on a scandal

The Democratic nominee needs to change the way she operates



THE former secretary of state and her colleagues were "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information". Hillary Clinton, who in August said she "did not send classified material", in fact used her home-brew IT system in eight e-mail chains containing material that someone in her position should have known was classified top-secret. There was no direct evidence that her own e-mail account was compromised, but she sent and received e-mails in "the territory of sophisticated adversaries" and the accounts of some people with whom she corresponded were indeed hacked, opening a possible route for foreign spies into Mrs Clinton's in-box. Delivering his verdict on a year-long investigation, the BFI's director, James Comey, sounded like someone who waylaying out the case for the prosecution.


It turned out that Mrs Clinton will not be charged - because Mr Comey concluded that her mistakes were neither intentional nor the result of malice towards the United States, and because the attorney-general, Loretta Lynch, said that she would follow the BFI's lead. In legal terms, the matter is closed. At one level, that is a relief. An indictment might have shifted the odds of winning the presidential race decisively in favour of Donald Ihimp.


In terms of Mrs Clinton's character; however, the matter is very much open and it is troubling. 


Mr Trump's awfulness does not excuse Mrs Clinton's shiftiness. 


Were she an aspiring staffer on the National Security Council, her career would now be over. Were she an ambassador awaiting confirmation, the Senate would reject her. America classifies too much information, admittedly, but much of it is classified for a reason: in some cases, to protect the identities of people who spy for America. 


Whatever caused Mrs Clinton to bend the rules, whether it was convenience, an it flub or an active desire to keep her e-mail archive away from congressional subpoenas, her actions deserve condemnation.


This poses a risk to the campaign. 


Mrs Clinton is running for office on the grounds of being competent, responsible and prudent - the polar opposite of Mr Trump. To act carelessly and rashly was reckless. To appear reluctant to acknowledge her error, and then to have been found by Mr Comey to be wrong about the details, was unworthy of her.


Shortly after the primary campaign, the last time a pollster asked the question, Americans were more likely to call Mr Trump than Mrs Clinton honest and trustworthy. The numbers on voting intentions have been stable since the primaries concluded. Mrs Clinton has enjoyed an advantage of about five percentage points in the popular vote. Some believe that Mrs Clinton's numbers on trust are so poor that they cannot go much lower. Because of her foolish misconduct, that proposition will now be tested.


Malware


The scandal ought to influence how Mrs Clinton runs her White House, if she does indeed find herself occupying the Oval Office in January next year. The temptations there will be different: plenty of people will be looking after her smart-phones and e-mail servers. But when it comes to policing grey areas such as fundraising, the informal access granted to old friends, or the revolving-door from influence to employment and back again that White House staffers pass through, Mrs Clinton needs someone nearby who is not of her tribe. Whoever it is must impress on her and her entourage that in politics, the appearance of impropriety can cause as much harm as impropriety itself. Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence that this is something Mrs Clinton tends to overlook.


I  THINK  THE  ABOVE  IS  A  PRETTY  FAIR  SUMMATION  OF  THIS  PROBLEM  FOR  MRS. CLINTON.  HER  HUSBAND'S  SEXUAL  MISCONDUCT  WHILE  PRESIDENT  COULD  BE  VIEWED  AS  A  PERSONAL  MISCONDUCT  WITHIN  A  THREE  PARTY  TRIANGLE,  BUT  HILLARY'S  DUMB  MISTAKE  WITH  EMAILS  COULD  EFFECT  THE  WHOLE  COUNTRY.


WILL  DONALD  TRUMP  TAKE  ADVANTAGE  OF  THIS  GROSS  MISTAKE  BY  HILLARY?  YES….. PROBABLY  HE  WILL,  AS  I  BELIEVE  WE  SHALL  SEE  THIS  RUN  FOR  PRESIDENT  AS  ONE  OF  THE  MOST  HEATED  EMOTIONAL  RUNS  TO  VOTING  DAY,  MAYBE  THE  MOST  FIRE-BREATHING  EMOTIONAL  RUNS  EVER.


DESPITE  HILLARY'S  EMAIL  FUMBLE  SHE  HAS  BEEN  GIVEN  THE  CHANCE  TO  RUN  FOR  PRESIDENT;  IF  SHE  STICKS  TO  THE  ARENA  OF  WHAT  SHE  BELIEVES  SHE  CAN  DO  FOR  THE  COUNTRY,  WHAT  THE  DEMOCRATIC  PARTY [WITH  BERNIE  SANDERS  THE  SO-CALLED  "SOCIALIST"  NOW  ON  THER  SIDE]  CAN  DO  FOR  THE  COUNTRY  -  SHE  CAN  STAY  CLEAR  OF  TRUMP'S  SIDE-SWIPE  ON  THE  EMAIL,  BUT  IF  SHE  STRAYS  FROM  PLAYING  THE  "GOOD"  HER  PARTY  CAN  DO,  YOU  CAN  BET  TRUMP  WILL  BE  THROWING  THE  JAVELIN  LIKE  BEING  IN  THE  OLYMPIC  GAMES.


IF  BOTH  PARTIES  STICK  TO  A  CLEAN  GAME  OF  POLITICS  IT  WILL  PROBABLY  BE  TOO  CLOSE  TO  CALL,  UNTIL  THE  VOTING  DAY  DECIDES  WHO  WILL  LIVE  IN  THE  WHITE  HOUSE.


Keith Hunt