There have been clouds of scandal that hovered over other presidential candidates but the Benghazi/e-mail cloud following Hillary Clinton is different. What sets it apart from embarrassing revelations faced by past presidential hopefuls is that this one reveals a dangerous arrogance at best, and willful treason at worst.
While Clinton’s email problems may have come to light during Trey Gowdy’s relentless work as chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, they did not start there.
January 2009 – Clinton insists on using her personal BlackBerry for all her official email communications but, is not allowed take it to a secure place known as Mahogany Row at the Departmentof State headquarters.
February 2009 – Department security and officials from the NSA explain the risks of Clinton using her private Blackberry to her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. Somewhere about this time an unsecured private email server is installed at her family home in Chappaqua, N.Y. and digitally tethered to the Blackberry.
March 2009 – The private email server does not have standard encryption for the first two months. Clinton uses the email address firstname.lastname@example.org which clearly shows it to be not to or from an official government server.
July 2014 – The State Department receives a demand from the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The committee wanted Clinton’s emails to see what she along with others knew about the attack in Libya and her response.
May 2015 – Clinton says, “There is no classified material,” but Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) reveals 22 emails were highly classified and, therefore, withheld entirely from the public.
May 2016 – Cheryl Mills says the Benghazi terrorist attack is the reason Secretary Hillary Clinton failed to turn over her emails as she left office in 2013 because there was “so much going on” at the time.
June 2016 – After a second breach of a court-mandated deadline, the State Department publishes another set of Clinton’s emails. The 2,900 pages, representing 1,262 messages, are released with none of the documents searchable by sender, recipient, or subject.
Two Burning Questions
At the hearings, Clinton was pressed about the circumstances both during and after that fateful night. Frustrated, she blurted out, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Many of us at home screamed back at the television, “I’ll tell you what difference it makes, four Americans are dead.”
A few hours later she, ironically, emailed an adviser, “Did we survive the day?” “Survive, yes,” came the immediate reply. Hopefully that staffer will prove a bit too optimistic after the polls close and the dust settles. There is still time to ensure that Hillary Clinton may have won the battle in 2016 but loses the war in the general election.