Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may try as she might to impugn the work of the Select Committee on Benghazi – and Republicans' efforts to get the truth about what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack in Libya – but as one liberal columnist for the Washington Post put it this week: “If Clinton now has political problems because of the e-mails — or, potentially, even legal trouble — it’s her own doing.”
Secretary Clinton didn’t help herself yesterday, repeatedly making false claims instead of coming clean. Here’s a summary:
Myth: “What I did was legally permitted …”
FACT: Under National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regulations adopted in 1995 and updated in 2009, she was obligated to “ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems [not operated by the agency] are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” She failed to do so. Moreover, she’s contradicted the policies of her own State Department. An order sent from Clinton’s office to all State Department employees on June 28, 2011 included this instruction: “Avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.” And during her tenure, an American ambassador was forced to resign after an internal audit detailed his failure to “accept clear-cut U.S. Government decisions,” including those related to “the nonuse of commercial email for official government business.” The Washington Post Fact Checker previously awarded her three Pinocchios for her dishonesty on this claim.
Myth: “I had not sent classified material nor received anything mark classified.”
FACT: First, Clinton claimed in March that “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” Conveniently, after it was discovered that her email did, in fact, include classified information she claimed that “I did not receive anything that was marked as classified.” We know this “marked as classified” trick is a complete and total ruse, having debunked it here and here. As Clinton well knows, whether the information was marked or not matters little. Because writing classified intelligence information into an unclassified email does not make the information unclassified. It’s still classified. And it doesn’t excuse the fact that the classified information itself is still included in your emails in the first place. Those who have security clearances are responsible, and liable, for following proper procedures and the law.
Myth: “We turned over everything that was work related. Every single thing.”
FACT: Actually, she withheld official email records about Benghazi. The Obama administration confirmed that Clinton withheld at least 15 work-related emails, including some related to Libya and the Benghazi attack. Sidney Blumenthal, not Hillary Clinton, turned these email records over to the Select Committee. The administration also confirmed that Clinton apparently deleted parts of at least six emails before turning them over to the State Department. These parts related to official government business. The Select Committee has previously pointed out that there are several inexplicable gaps in Clinton’s email record. What emails are still missing?
Myth: “In order to be as cooperative as possible, we have turned over the server.”
FACT: Secretary Clinton made clear months ago she had no intention of voluntarily surrendering her email server to anyone, despite requests from Chairman Gowdy and others to turn it over to a neutral, third party for forensic examination. And she didn’t. Then the FBI opened its inquiry and started asking questions, and then the FBI asked for the server. As the Washington Post confirmed, Platte River Networks actually turned over the server to the FBI after the agency requested it.
Myth: “I want the American people to see everything that was part of my time in the State Department.”
FACT: If that were true, why did she turn over nothing – nada – when she left office as Secretary of State, failing to comply with official government policy? When the State Department finally asked her to turn over all of her work-related emails nearly two years later (to comply with a request by the Benghazi Select Committee), she and her lawyers alone decided which emails to provide to the Obama administration. And then they wiped her server clean, deleting tens of thousands of other messages. A December 2012 letter from the House Oversight Committee asked her the following: “Have you or any senior agency official ever used a personal email account to conduct official business? If so, please identify the account used.” She never responded.
The fact is, were in not for Speaker Boehner’s decision to create the Select Committee, as well as Chairman Gowdy’s dogged pursuit of State Department documents, all of the information we’ve learned over the last six months about her secretive email arrangement would never have become public. She set up a private email server in her home to ensure her employer did not have access to any of her work-related emails, which are public records. And she had no intention of ever making these email records public until she was forced to do so. This handy chart highlights how the Select Committee’s discovery of Clinton’s private email server led to the FBI inquiry.