The last refuge of the scoundrel Hillary

Samuel Johnson’s aphorism that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel doesn’t apply to Hillary Clinton in her email scandal, because nobody – not even her die-hard supporters – would believe her if she said that she set up the private email server in the interests of the United States.  Rather, the last refuge of this scoundrel is to blame everybody else she dealt with at the State Department, in the process impugning not only her own close aides, but career diplomats and other nonpolitical professionals who deserve better.  

This strategy is reflected in the campaign’s current mantra that “everybody,” including former secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, at one time or another sent emails that were later determined to be classified.  A recent Washington Post analysis of Hillary’s released classified emails demonstrates that she directly sent at least 104 to various aides and officials, and that they too, including the current secretary of state, John Kerry, occasionally sent out emails through nonsecure servers that were later deemed classified.  However, what the analysis also shows is that these government officials, when they did use unsecured servers, at least used government accounts, which provide a measure of security, not a private home-brewed server like Mrs. Clinton’s.

The Post’s news editors must be popping a lot of Thorazine, because their coverage of Clinton is increasingly schizophrenic.  As longtime readers of the paper know, the news operation is considerably more left-leaning than the editorial side (which occasionally takes a more centrist view).  News stories are routinely slanted to present the most favorable liberal perspective and mock or demean opposing outlooks.  This tendency is apparent in the Clinton case as well.  The Post has broken some important stories in the email scandal, like the recent revelation that the Justice Department granted former Clinton I.T. aide Bryan Pagliano immunity.  And the Post’s most heroic figures, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, have separately suggested that the Clinton scandal is the real thing.  But since Hillary is the Post’s gal, they seeded the Pagliano report with expert liberal analysis that suggested that the immunity deal is either nothing to get excited about (a weird way to promote a scoop) or actually a good thing for Clinton, while omitting contrary interpretations

The Post’s analysis of her emails follows the same pattern.  On the one hand, the news that Clinton herself personally authored over 100 classified items cuts against her chosen narrative that she got a lot of emails and that she can hardly have been expected to actually read and analyze them all for security issues as she received them or passed them on.  On the other hand, the article goes out of its way to suggest that this was an endemic problem at State.  And strangely again, the explanation is rather contradictory.  We are told that the sending and receipt of classified information was the result of poor security procedures that preceded Clinton’s arrival.  But we are also told (in line with claims made by Clinton and her campaign) that there is a culture of “over-classification” in the government.  So which is it?  Were officials at State too lax about security procedures or too anal?  If nothing else, one thing this controversy demonstrates is that the Clinton State Department was pretty much a mess. 

But besides the country itself, which is now enduring yet more Clintonian malfeasance in the midst of a critical election, are many individuals that Clinton is cold-bloodily demeaning in an attempt to exonerate herself with the “everybody did it” canard.  This rests on the weak premise that other government officials – aides, ambassadors, career officials – occasionally misidentified information as innocuous or insufficiently sensitive to merit security classification.  There is little doubt this happened, and continues to happen, as government employees do their best to protect sensitive information but not bog the government down in layers of unnecessary security protocol.  But none of the officials identified in the Post analysis did this deliberately by establishing a private home-brewed email system to avoid State Department classification procedures entirely – and this no less, by the head of the State Department itself. 

The Post article anonymously quotes one poor soul (identified as a former senior official) whose good name has now been impugned as a careless operator: “I resent the fact that we are in this situation – and we’re in this situation because of Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server.”      

Hillary Clinton repeatedly claims that she is the champion of the little guy.  It has always been a risible claim, but if any of her supporters (including at the Post) are actually paying attention to the scoundrel, this latest gambit ought to disabuse them of the notion.  

Samuel Johnson’s aphorism that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel doesn’t apply to Hillary Clinton in her email scandal, because nobody – not even her die-hard supporters – would believe her if she said that she set up the private email server in the interests of the United States.  Rather, the last refuge of this scoundrel is to blame everybody else she dealt with at the State Department, in the process impugning not only her own close aides, but career diplomats and other nonpolitical professionals who deserve better.  

This strategy is reflected in the campaign’s current mantra that “everybody,” including former secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, at one time or another sent emails that were later determined to be classified.  A recent Washington Post analysis of Hillary’s released classified emails demonstrates that she directly sent at least 104 to various aides and officials, and that they too, including the current secretary of state, John Kerry, occasionally sent out emails through nonsecure servers that were later deemed classified.  However, what the analysis also shows is that these government officials, when they did use unsecured servers, at least used government accounts, which provide a measure of security, not a private home-brewed server like Mrs. Clinton’s.

The Post’s news editors must be popping a lot of Thorazine, because their coverage of Clinton is increasingly schizophrenic.  As longtime readers of the paper know, the news operation is considerably more left-leaning than the editorial side (which occasionally takes a more centrist view).  News stories are routinely slanted to present the most favorable liberal perspective and mock or demean opposing outlooks.  This tendency is apparent in the Clinton case as well.  The Post has broken some important stories in the email scandal, like the recent revelation that the Justice Department granted former Clinton I.T. aide Bryan Pagliano immunity.  And the Post’s most heroic figures, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, have separately suggested that the Clinton scandal is the real thing.  But since Hillary is the Post’s gal, they seeded the Pagliano report with expert liberal analysis that suggested that the immunity deal is either nothing to get excited about (a weird way to promote a scoop) or actually a good thing for Clinton, while omitting contrary interpretations

The Post’s analysis of her emails follows the same pattern.  On the one hand, the news that Clinton herself personally authored over 100 classified items cuts against her chosen narrative that she got a lot of emails and that she can hardly have been expected to actually read and analyze them all for security issues as she received them or passed them on.  On the other hand, the article goes out of its way to suggest that this was an endemic problem at State.  And strangely again, the explanation is rather contradictory.  We are told that the sending and receipt of classified information was the result of poor security procedures that preceded Clinton’s arrival.  But we are also told (in line with claims made by Clinton and her campaign) that there is a culture of “over-classification” in the government.  So which is it?  Were officials at State too lax about security procedures or too anal?  If nothing else, one thing this controversy demonstrates is that the Clinton State Department was pretty much a mess. 

But besides the country itself, which is now enduring yet more Clintonian malfeasance in the midst of a critical election, are many individuals that Clinton is cold-bloodily demeaning in an attempt to exonerate herself with the “everybody did it” canard.  This rests on the weak premise that other government officials – aides, ambassadors, career officials – occasionally misidentified information as innocuous or insufficiently sensitive to merit security classification.  There is little doubt this happened, and continues to happen, as government employees do their best to protect sensitive information but not bog the government down in layers of unnecessary security protocol.  But none of the officials identified in the Post analysis did this deliberately by establishing a private home-brewed email system to avoid State Department classification procedures entirely – and this no less, by the head of the State Department itself. 

The Post article anonymously quotes one poor soul (identified as a former senior official) whose good name has now been impugned as a careless operator: “I resent the fact that we are in this situation – and we’re in this situation because of Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server.”      

Hillary Clinton repeatedly claims that she is the champion of the little guy.  It has always been a risible claim, but if any of her supporters (including at the Post) are actually paying attention to the scoundrel, this latest gambit ought to disabuse them of the notion.