- The report from the Inspector General may hurt her irreparably.
On May 25th, the State Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report titled, "Office of the Secretary: Evaluation of Email Records Management and Cybersecurity Requirements." This was triggered by recent events surrounding Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State. It was not intended to be an indictment of anyone in particular, but a clinical analysis of the problems of cybersecurity in the State department. Most of it is bland and uninteresting, almost as exciting as watching grass grow. However in the course of the investigation, the OIG found:
"...sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record. Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act."
In other words, she broke the law. More damaging though, the report goes on to say:
"Throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the FAM (Foreign Affairs Manual) stated that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized AIS (Automated Information System), yet OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server. According to the current CIO and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, DS (Bureau of Diplomatic Security) and IRM (Bureau of Information Resource Management) did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the FAM and the security risks in doing so."
This means Mrs. Clinton should have been cognizant of the rules of implementing an email server, but failed to seek approval to do so, and implemented one regardless of stated policy. Again, another violation.
This is the first official published report stating security improprieties by Mrs. Clinton, but may only represent the tip of an iceberg of trouble for her. It is worth noting that Mrs. Clinton and several of her staff refused to cooperate with the OIG investigation.
Mrs. Clinton quickly shrugged off the report and claimed other Secretary of States did likewise. Not quite, as there were no guidelines at the time, particularly for BlackBerries, Mrs. Clinton's preferred devise for telephone and email communications. In 2009, security notices began to be distributed regarding the security weaknesses of the device which must be configured in accordance with Department security guidelines.
The former Secretary of State adamantly denies any wrongdoing but admits she should have done things differently. This report ultimately represents a smoking gun which could ultimately cost her the Democratic nomination and the White House. She has tried laughing off any mistakes she may have made, but refuses to answer any hard questions about it. Her supporters may accept this, but Republicans and independents will not. They believe where there is smoke, there is fire.
Denying fault is the modus operandi of the Clintons, going as far back as the Whitewater controversy, Madison Guaranty, Travelgate, Filegate, Vince Foster, and the many alleged sexual indiscretions of Bill Clinton. As to the email server and Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton will continue to deny fault and blame others, not even after she has been been found guilty in a court of law. This will likely take years as it is doubtful the Obama Administration will pursue a case against her.
Mrs. Clinton will continue to maintain her innocence over and over again until people begin to believe it. Her Achilles' heel though is this OIG report, and possibly anything produced by the current FBI investigation. If one more official report is produced, she will be branded a pathological liar, and her run for the White House will be over.
The more the American public knows about her indiscretions, the less likely she will remain a candidate.
Also published with News Talk Florida.
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim's columns, see: timbryce.com
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