Mrs. Clinton’s ‘no’ and politicization of Benghazi

Clinton and Sanders

2016 Democrat frontrunners Hillary Clinton (left) and Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Snip from video: David Pakman show [https://youtu.be/vq7-vAY-oBQ])

A pivotal moment in Democrats’ first debate occurred when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) growled, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Sanders depicted Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Benghazi investigation as a politically driven matter, presumably for Republicans’ gain. 

Shortly after Sanders’ sweeping generalization—he presumed to speak for all Americans—Anderson Cooper quizzed former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee. Cooper noted Chafee characterized the emails as a “huge issue,” and the moderator asked Chafee, “Are you willing to say that to her face?”

Chafee said, “Absolutely.” He then explained why credibility is important, adding, “I think we need someone that has the best in ethical standards as our next president.”

Cooper asked Clinton, “Do you want to respond?”

Clinton said, “No.”

Now we have to acknowledge this was a savvy decision on her part. By saying ‘no,’ Clinton shut down the issue. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley then deftly changed the topic, returning to his party’s standard—giveaways.

There’s more to her No, however, than simple deflection. If the Clintons are geniuses at anything, it is escaping responsibility for their actions. Mrs. Clinton is set to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Anything she said in that debate could come back to haunt her. That wouldn’t just be a political problem.

The FBI’s mission is criminal justice on the federal level. Thus far, Mrs. Clinton has apologized her actions away by saying her usage of a private server for official government messaging was “a mistake.”

Her statements regarding her emails, including those during the debate, have been carefully worded, because the former secretary of state knows she is vulnerable. Democrats’ power brokers also know their presumed presidential nominee is vulnerable, and that is one reason for an all out push to discredit the work of the committee.

Why would Sanders cover for his opponent?

Sanders, who is a self-declared Euro-style socialist, claims he’s an independent, but he caucuses with Democrats. The indie label is part of his branding, nothing more and nothing less. Sanders is the consummate Washington insider. He’s been there for decades despite the myth the starry-eyed young Occupy types buy into.

Sanders has every reason to work hard to make sure a Democrat retains control of this country come 2016, even if he doesn’t win. He wins either way because most policies within the Democrats’ top tier are the same. There’s also another dimension.

If a Republican wins the presidency, many secrets held by the Obama administration will be revealed, just as records of President George W. Bush were excavated when Democrats took over the government post-2008.

Let’s consider the virtually impossible—that she simply made a mistake. McClatchy News said, “Clinton has said none of the emails were marked classified during her tenure although some communications by their nature are classified at creation.”

So if she did make a mistake, it was a stupid mistake for someone as powerful as a secretary of state to make. What does that say about her competence and credibility?

McClatchy also recounted an email from an employee of one of the companies handling Mrs. Clinton’s data:

“Clinton’s decision to have her lawyers prune and delete all of her personal emails when she turned the others over to the State Department could complicate FBI attempts to resurrect emails from the backup. [and]

[A] Platte River employee voiced suspicions about a cover-up and sought to protect the company. ‘If we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups,’ the employee wrote, ‘and that we can go public with our statement saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better.”

The news service also noted Clinton first claimed she’d handed over all her materials. Then she handed over new materials.

Almost daily we learn something new about emails Mrs. Clinton’s team wasn’t too eager to hand over. Politico reported on new disclosures, “The expected release from Clinton’s account as secretary of state includes one that names a human source providing information to the CIA.”

Politico also reported newly found email: “includes more than 1,500 emails relating to Libya, including over 500 pages of emails to and from [Sidney] Blumenthal. His involvement has been controversial because he had been rejected by the Obama administration for a top job under Clinton but had a back channel to her, while simultaneously pursuing private business interests in Libya. She forwarded some of his emails to other top officials.”

So Blumenthal was rejected by President Obama, but Mrs. Clinton utilized his services anyway, through the Clinton Foundation.

Watchdog group Judicial Watch has steadfastly pursued information related to this controversy, including documents related to benefits conferred on Bill Clinton via his wife’s tenure at State. Time and again the group’s public information requests were hindered, leading to more than one federal judge’s criticism like this: “[T]he government is not more forthcoming in just answering questions that will help this case proceed on a systematic basis.” [JW Court Report; Oct. 2015, pg. 6; print edition]

When Mrs. Clinton complains about costs of the investigation, she has no one but herself to blame.

Meanwhile, The White House, according to CNN, “backtracked on President Barack Obama’s blanket assertion earlier this week that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state didn’t pose a national security threat.”

It’s understandable for American voters to miss key information when choosing a president. The issue of Benghazi began as an investigation into attacks on US properties in Libya, mushrooming to a larger issue because of deceptive statements by both The White House and Mrs. Clinton.

A very large issue missed was the violation of First Amendment rights of a hapless filmmaker perp-walked for the world to see, endangering his life.

The politicization of Benghazi began with Obama and Clinton.

The impact of their politicization was an attack on the US First Amendment by both domestic leftist media and international figures. That attack went right by clueless Americans.

That political issue has become larger because the committee had no idea of the questionable practices Mrs. Clinton engaged in. Information was tendered over a long period of time, with constant back and forths between the government, the committee, and groups like Judicial Watch.

The greater issue is that information generated and exchanged by a figure as powerful as a secretary of state belongs to the American people and should be housed in facilities permitting access to documents when needed.

Mrs. Clinton’s No wasn’t just a rhetorical tactic. The former secretary of state must be mindful she has to proceed cautiously to avoid incriminating herself, and to avoid risking an off the cuff remark ahead of testimony before the committee.

For Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders’ benefit, I’d also say yes, many of us do give a damn about those emails.***

Source Document for Debate

Transcript at CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-first-democratic-debate-full-rush-transcript/

Advisory

C-SPAN will televise Mrs. Clinton’s testimony before the Select Committee on October 22 starting at 10 a.m.
http://www.c-span.org/

(Opinion by Kay B. Day/Oct. 15, 2015)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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