Bookshelf update: Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled”

June 4, 2015

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Sharyl Attkisson’s “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

book cover attkisson stonewalled

 

Attkisson is an award-winning investigative journalist who spent roughly 20 years with CBS before leaving in 2014. For her determined pursuit of the truth and information government and corporate officials would rather keep hidden, she’s been called a “bulldog,” a term she regards as a compliment. While Stonewalled deals with the scandals and evasions of the Obama administration and its allies, Attkisson has a reputation as a bipartisan bulldog — a pain in the tuchus to Democrats and Republicans, alike. This is what a good journalist should be.

I’m about half-way through Stonewalled and, so far, it’s been equal parts enjoyable, infuriating, and even frightening. Before discussing scandals such as Fast and Furious and the Obamacare rollout, as well as the almost equally scandalous supine attitude of mainstream journalism toward the administration, Attkisson opens with the story of her discovery that her work and personal computers, and her phone, had been hacked by a government agency during her investigation into the Benghazi massacre. Though she hasn’t yet identified in the book who she believes is responsible, I’ll note that she has filed suit against  the Department of Justice and the US Postal Service. Discovery, as they say should be interesting.

I’m reading her book in Kindle format; it’s also in soft (forthcoming) and hardcover. Regarding the Kindle edition, I’ve spotted just one lone typo and no formatting problems, which is very good for an e-book. Her writing style is straightforward, almost Hemingway-esque in its directness. If Ms. Attkisson reveals any ax to grind, it’s her firm belief that information paid for with taxpayer dollars belongs to the public, not the government.

I’ll post a review when I’ve finished.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. Wouldn’t you?


Hillary has nothing to hide, and she wiped the email server to prove it

March 27, 2015
Above the rules.

Above the rules.

Keep this in mind: Hillary Clinton conducted all her State Department official correspondence on this private server. Her top, close aides at State all had accounts on this server. It is inconceivable that sensitive United States Government information  –information foreign intel services would love to have– was not stored on it. The server was astoundingly insecure; in fact, we know it was hacked.

Ergo, it is in the interests of the United State and its people to find out in a verifiable manner –not just taking Hillary’s word for it– what was on that server and if the official records of her work have all been turned over to State, as commanded by law. Also, a forensic analysis of the server is imperative to determine if anyone else had hacked it: who, when, what did they get? Beyond questions of Benghazi or the questionable dealings of the Clinton foundation, we need to know how much damage may have been done to the national security and foreign relations of our country. The potential security breach could make Edward Snowden look like an amateur.

Which is why she wiped the server:

The head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has erased all information from the personal email server she used while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.

“We learned today, from her attorney, Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in a statement Friday.

He said while it’s “not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department.”

Last week, Gowdy sent a letter to Clinton’s attorney asking that the email server be turned over to a third party in the hopes that an investigation could recover about 30,000 emails that her team deleted before turning the rest over to the State Department.

Gowdy said “it is clear Congress will need to speak with the former Secretary about her email arrangement and the decision to permanently delete those emails.”

Emphasis added. This wasn’t just a wipe to reinstall Window Server or whatever outdated software she was using. When she received word that State wanted those emails, she ran downstairs to hit the SCRAM button. It’s no longer a question of “if,” but “what.” What was on that server she was so desperate to hide? Whatever it was, she arrogated to herself the right to decide what was and wasn’t relevant. In spite of the law. And now we’ll likely never know.

This is like an embezzler burning down a building to hide his crime.

The high-handed corruption of the Clintons never fails to astound.


(Video) Bill Whittle on “The criminal arrogance of Hillary Clinton”

March 22, 2015

Whittle draws an interesting comparison between the arrogance and contempt for the rule of law shown by Hillary Clinton, on the one hand, and King George III on the other. More galling than her apparent crimes themselves is the attitude behind them: that the law, which, under the common law system that is our heritage from Great Britain, is supposed to apply equally to all citizens high and low, does not apply to her — nor to the governing class of which she is a part.

That is, our new aristocracy:

Time to put them back in their places, it is.


Oh, my: Obama and Hillary regularly exchanged emails

March 9, 2015

 

"It's all good. No worries!"

“It’s all good. No worries!”

To and from her private email address, hosted on a private server of questionable security in her own house.

Well, there goes any argument that The One only learned of this in his usual way, by reading the papers:

President Barack Obama communicated via email with Hillary Clinton while she used her personal email, according to the White House.

In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama did correspond with his secretary of state via her private email address.

“The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office trade emails with his secretary of state,” Earnest said. “I would not describe the number of emails as large, but they did have the occasion to email each other.”

Yeah, not many emails. You know, the President of the United States and his top diplomat were just trading LOL Cat links and recipes. No way were they conducting important discussions on matters of state or sharing classified information that governments around the world would die to get their hands on. Nope. Unthinkable.

Consider: any intelligence service worth its salt hacked the Clinton’s server the moment they learned she was using a private email address, and I guarantee you someone found that out over her four-year term. And, if that happened, they now have the president’s private email address plus copies of any information she sent him and he sent her.

It would be as if China’s Ministry of State Security had a stenographer in the Oval Office.

Remember, Clinton used this email exclusively. No matter what security the White House had, the Clinton’s server was secured by the equivalent of a “No peeking” sign. What information did she and Obama share with each other? Were any classified docs sent as attachments? Edward Snowden has to be wondering why he went to all that trouble, when we were making it so easy.

Food for thought: No one with more than half a brain believes Obama didn’t notice the sender info in his emails over four years, nor knew that Hillary was running a private network. And yet if His Oneness sent classified info over unsecure lines, knowing what Hillary was doing and making no effort to put a stop to it, isn’t the POTUS himself as culpable, at least morally?

Afterthought: You know, if the committees of Congress want to know what’s in Hillary’s emails, they could just ask Wikileaks…

 


Hypocrisy, thy name is “Hillary”

March 5, 2015
Above the rules.

Above the rules.

Perfect. While Lady Macbeth was running her own private email network on her own private servers hidden in her own private home, she fired our ambassador to Kenya for… running his own private network.

Only in America; only the Clintons:

Very soon after the Ambassador’s arrival in May 2011, he broadcast his lack of confidence in the information management staff. Because the information management office could not change the Department’s policy for handling Sensitive But Unclassified material, he assumed charge of the mission’s information management operations. He ordered a commercial Internet connection installed in his embassy office bathroom so he could work there on a laptop not connected to the Department email system. He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial email for daily communication of official government business. During the inspection, the Ambassador continued to use commercial email for official government business. The Department email system provides automatic security, record-keeping, and backup functions as required. The Ambassador’s requirements for use of commercial email in the office and his flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum: balancing the desire to be responsive to their mission leader and the need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards.

And I bet the parallel never occurred to her.

The brass of this clan is just amazing.


Two reasons why Hillary had the secret email account. Choose one.

March 4, 2015
x

“Emails? What emails?”

Really, you have to wonder why she (and Bill) would do something so dumb, so dangerously likely to come out and potentially cripple her presidential run.

Why, Hillary? Why??

Well, there are a couple of plausible explanations. Let’s look at both.

First, there’s the “facing the truth about herself” argument from National Review‘s Kevin Williamson: Hillary was preparing for her own failure:

Mrs. Clinton knows – she must know, at some level – that she has been grossly unprepared for every position she has held in public life other than that of first lady. She was a New York senator who knew the parts of the state more than 40 miles from a park-view room at the Plaza about as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. knows Muleshoe, Texas. She was a presidential candidate whose only recommendations were ovaries and a surname beloved – but not quite enough — by Democratic primary voters. And then she became a secretary of state appointed to the position mainly to appease the bruised feelings of Clintonites and to keep her from making mischief in case of a first-term Obama administration meltdown.

But she was a grossly incompetent secretary of state who knew that she was going to run for president again, and thus she took positive steps in advance to put in place protocols that would help her to mask her inadequacy. It is difficult even for her admirers to make a credible argument that her time in that office was anything other than disastrous. She knows this.

There’s really no denying any of this. Hillary’s sole means of advancing herself has been by riding the coattails of powerful men. It’s the reason she stayed with Bill, even after his serial infidelities, the most famous of which lead to her national humiliation: these men were her key to power. When she bungled the nominating race in 2008 and lost to a more nimble, younger, male candidate what everyone had assumed for years would be hers, her only hope of gaining the presidency she was inadequate to win on her own was to be a good soldier and make “the deal.”

And whenever those powerful men have given her important assignments –Hillarycare, under Bill; Secretary of State, under Obama– she’s been awful at them.

She bungled them all. She just wasn’t up to the task, whatever it was.

So, as Secretary of State, she used a private email account to hide her failings.

Like I said, “plausible.” I was willing to run with this, until further information came out. (More on that in a bit.)

The other theory is Stanley Kurtz’s. Kurtz, who also writes for NR and is a PhD in Social Anthropology, has written a couple of excellent books on President Obama. He’s a trained observer of cultural and political behavior. In his estimation, the news about the secret email account fits with a “Clinton family culture” that ingrained in her a habit, a reflexive need to evade executive responsibility:

The problems go back as far as Bill’s failed congressional campaign of 1974 and extend through a long series of cases in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion and the Clinton White House. Typically, Hillary appeared on no flow chart and held no official authority, yet she intervened to delay or reverse existing decisions, sowing confusion. Desperate to disguise the extent of her de facto power, Hillary was driven to an obsessive secrecy that only increased the administrative chaos.

When Hillary finally secured a formal role as leader of the health-care initiative in the Clinton White House, the problem simply took on another form. Hillary circumvented the policy-planning apparatus of the White House by creating an unwieldy and hyper-secret parallel health-care bureaucracy of her own. The result was political and administrative disarray.

With direct access to Bill putting her beyond any official White House record-keeping, Hillary grew used to acting without a paper trail. To avoid that eventuality entirely, she began disguising her West Wing activities by using White House staffers as proxies, creating further confusion.

Hillary also forced White House aides to spend endless hours “erasing her fingerprints” from controversial decisions such as closing off the White House press corridor or firing White House travel office personnel to replace them with Clinton cronies. Vince Foster’s suicide may have been a direct result of Hillary’s attempt to evade responsibility for her own decisions. After erasing Hillary’s fingerprints from the travel office firings, Foster knew he’d be vulnerable to charges of having misled congressional investigators while he was under oath.

This is the more credible theory, I think, especially when one considers the news that the Clintons had, not just a private, semi-secret email for her conduct of State Department business, but their own private email servers in their home, set up by a man no one can so far trace. Consider:

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

Fits to a tee with the “obsessive secrecy” angle, doesn’t it?

I suppose one could argue that both could be true, the secrecy being a protective layer over the awareness of her own incompetence. But, whatever the truth, two things are certain: Where the Clintons are concerned, there is no shortage of popcorn-worthy drama, and there is no way she should ever be let near the Oval Office.

What do you think?


Hillary Clinton used private email for her State Dept. business. *All* of it. Updated: More private accounts?

March 3, 2015

800px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

Remember, peasants, the rules are for you to follow. For Our Betters In Washington (all bow), they’re only suggestions:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

I want you to consider that bold portion carefully: the Secretary of State was conducting all her official correspondence, including classified material (remember: “exclusively”), on a private email account. That would include not only correspondence with her aides and other departmental and government figures, but exchanges with foreign governments — governments in Moscow, Beijing, Jerusalem, Cairo, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Ouagadougou… you name it. If this article is correct, it was all on a private email system, which is notoriously insecure.

And yet it was her aides, no doubt including consigliere Cheryl Mills, who decided what would be turned over to State. (Did they have a shredding party?)

I’d say the arrogance is astonishing, but this is the Clintons we’re talking about. “Entitlement” is emblazoned on their family crest.

And it’s not as if Lady Macbeth or anyone she worked with didn’t know about these regulations; they’d be part of every orientation and, if you’re too important to attend the ethics orientation, you’d have an aide who knew the rules. So, she had to have known and thus knowing violated the FRA.

On top of that, anyone she corresponded with knew. Her aides, State employees, officers of other departments, the White House… Surely they noticed “clintonemail.com” in the send line? At least some among them had more brains than a turnip and realized she was using an insecure service.

Did no one say anything to her?

Don’t be silly.

Did foreign intelligence services or rogue hackers break into this account?

I’d be shocked if they hadn’t. And I hope to God Clinton was at least using high-grade encryption.

Oh, and I bet you can guess what the elephant in the living room is, can’t you? One word: Benghazi

As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reminds us, it was odd that the investigating committees looking into the Benghazi massacre found so little in her departmental correspondence. Now we know why — it was all in a private account that was hidden from Congress. From the NYT article, again:

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.

Two weeks ago, the State Department, after reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s emails, provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks.

Mrs. Clinton and the committee declined to comment on the contents of the emails or whether they will be made public.

The State Department, Ms. Psaki said, “has been proactively and consistently engaged in responding to the committee’s many requests in a timely manner, providing more than 40,000 pages of documents, scheduling more than 20 transcribed interviews and participating in several briefings and each of the committee’s hearings.”

Again, note the portion in bold. State turned over those emails to the committee (presumably Rep. Gowdy’s Select Committee) two weeks ago, but Clinton’s huscarls decided what State would get two months ago.

Oh, yeah. Sure. They included everything and anything related to Benghazi and Libya. You betcha.

One point to keep in mind: At least for emails to other government employees, those who received La Clintona’s messages should still have them, assuming they also weren’t on private accounts that have since been scrubbed. That means the Select Committee has a lot of work ahead of it to identify those recipients and subpoena copies of those mails. Have fun, Chairman Gowdy!

A last consideration: This has been a bad sennight or so for the Clintons. Revelations about the bribes questionable donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, now this news about her secret email account and continuing speculations about any other pants shoes to drop about Bill’s relationship with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — all these bear on her judgement, competence, and honesty, her qualifications to be President.

And all this has come out in such succession that one has to wonder if someone with a trove of embarrassing information who also dislikes the Clintons hasn’t decided to drop dime after dime on her to sympathetic press outlets, MSM organs that would like to see someone else, someone more pure in her progressivism, as the Democratic nominee.

Who needs House of Cards when you have the Clinton’s providing the drama and intrigue?

PS: And before someone can say “the Bush people did it, too!”, sure, though some of the “scandals,” such as the US Attorney firings, were ginned-up nothing-burgers. However, none of these figures did their government business wholly on private accounts and none sent classified information over those accounts, as Hillary certainly had to have, since she used this account “exclusively.”

UPDATE: Per Congressman Gowdy, it appears that Hillary Clinton had more than one personal account.


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