Hillary’s Email Apology: Four Sentences, Four Clever Falsehoods

Hillary Clinton has finally, partially, thrown in the towel on her private email server, making a public apology Tuesday night where she admitted that she should have kept separate her public and private email accounts from the beginning. But even Clinton’s apology is actually filled with information that is misleading– or even known to be false.

In a statement on her website, Clinton’s campaign argues that only “four things you need to know about Hillary Clinton’s email use during her time at the State Department”:

“1. Hillary takes responsibility for her decision to use a personal account, and the challenges it has created.

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“2. Her use of a private email account was allowed under State Department rules.

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“3. Nothing she sent or received was marked classified.

“4. She provided all of her work-related emails to the State Department”

Those four straightforward sentences, though, include a great amount of sleight of hand or outright falsehoods:

Sentence “1. Hillary takes responsibility for her decision to use a personal account, and the challenges it has created”: Clinton’s claim to be “taking responsibility” for the email server is a stretch. Her apology has only come after six months of trying to deflect and dismiss criticism over her private emails, and even now it’s hardly a full apology. As the other three sentences in her statement show, Clinton is mostly just apologizing for confusing people and making them mistakenly believe she did anything wrong.

Further, Clinton ignores a key component of the outrage over her emails, which is that she didn’t simply have a private account, but also created an entire private email server (Clinton uses the word “server” only once in her apology). This server was kept in Clinton’s private hands and was maintained by an IT firm that lacked the proper security clearance. Clinton has not acknowledged or accepted responsibility for the dangers this server may have created. (RELATED: Hillary’s IT Contractor Didn’t Have Proper Security Clearance)

Sentence “2. Her use of a private email account was allowed under State Department rules”: This is a dramatic sleight of hand. The Department of State does allow employees to have private email accounts, and officials even have some leeway to use a private email for work (such as during an emergency). But Clinton didn’t partially rely on her private email: Rather, she used it exclusively for all of her business– a total contradiction of government policy as dictated by the National Archives and Records Administration, which controls record-keeping policies in federal agencies.

Also, regardless of the validity of a private account, State Department rules certainly required that a person’s emails be secured, and Clinton’s were not.

Sentence “3. Nothing she sent or received was marked classified”: The New York Times actually found otherwise just days ago, producing evidence that several Clinton emails contained information about North Korea’s nuclear program that was classified as “top secret” even before it was sent. Other releases from the State Department have made it obvious that Clinton and her colleagues were routinely trafficking in classified information. Even if some emails were determined to be classified after the fact, that merely serves to demonstrate the importance of using a secure email server under government control to avoid accidentally allowing secret information to be leaked or stolen.

Sentence “4. She provided all of her work-related emails to the State Department”: This claim is also false. While Clinton has said every email that could even “possibly” be work-related was turned over, the State Department has already confirmed that Clinton failed to turn over all or part of 15 work-related emails between herself and longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal, who was sending her intelligence reports on Libya prior to the attack on Benghazi.

Even if Clinton’s failure to turn over Blumenthal’s emails was simply a mistake, it represents one of the fundamental problems of her private email server: Rather than allowing government officials to determine which of her emails were government-business and needed to be preserved, Clinton and her lawyers decide themselves, creating a situation that could easily be abused by, for example, deleting inconvenient emails.

Not only that, but Clinton only turned over her work emails after being out of office for two years, when members of Congress investigating the Benghazi attacks discovered her private email’s existence. This process led the State Department to seek out and eventually receive 50,000 (printed) pages of emails. If Congress hadn’t discovered Clinton’s account, the emails would in all likelihood still be hidden away– or deleted.

“Transparency is important,” Clinton says in her statement. But thus far in addressing her email scandal, it hasn’t proven to be her strong suit.


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