Clinton Convicted Herself

As reported by James S. Robbins in USA Today, Hillary Clinton convicted herself with a multitude of misleading and error-riddled email apologies. The storied private server that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used for her work email as the nation’s top diplomat is now in the hands of the FBI. It seems inevitable after so many months of controversy.

Whatever information comes out of the investigation, the tide of events that got us here has tested the Democratic presidential candidate’s credibility. It began with her first public statement on the matter five months ago at the United Nations.

At the time she said, “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account … because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”

Many of Clinton’s other claims in March have not aged well, either:

With respect to her server’s security, Clinton said “the system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.” Later in the news conference, she said even more clearly, “The use of that server  … started with my husband.

Now we know differently. The system set up for the former president was deemed inadequate to the needs of a secretary of State, so a new server was set up. We know that in the first three months of her term, “access to the server was not encrypted or authenticated with a digital certificate,” the most basic type of security, according to cyber security firm Venafi.

And we don’t really know whether there were any security breaches. The FBI is only now looking into the setup at Denver’s Platte River Networks, which handled some elements of Clinton’s digital communications. A 2014 report from the National Security Agency noted that Chinese hackers had been actively targeting the private email accounts of U.S. government officials since 2010.

Clinton said at the news conference that she had provided “all my emails that could possibly be work-related.” There was no equivocation, she said again, “I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department.”

We already know that while in office, she was communicating with a former political aide to her husband, Sidney Blumenthal, (who was rejected for a State Department job under Secretary Clinton) about foreign issues through personal email, and that she did not turn over all of those conversations to the State Department.

One reason Clinton said she was so confident all the work email was in the State Department’s hands is because it always had been. “It was my practice,” she said, “to communicate with State Department and other government officials on their .gov accounts so those emails would be automatically saved in the State Department system.”

But that is not true either. We now know that Huma Abedein, one of Clinton’s most trusted aides, also had an email account on Secretary Clinton’s home server. Email between their two accounts would be archived at the State Department only if a third email account at a address was part of the conversation.

A recitation of the other false, misleading or conveniently incomplete statements in Clinton’s original news conference could go on for far longer than anyone would like to think. Her claim that her adherence to the rules was “undisputed“; her claim that “there is no classified material“; her assertion of “unprecedented” transparency; and her claim that all she did in disposing of “personal” emails is just what any other State Department employee could do — all are now disputed.

As the FBI takes control of the server at the center of the credibility questions and begins the first independent analysis of the facts, there is little reason to believe that Hillary Clinton’s original version of events will hold up to deeper scrutiny.