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August 10, 2015
By RICHARD COHEN
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
The New York Times on Sunday printed 2,973 words explaining how the fuss over Hillary Clinton’s emails began and how it developed and what it means and why the newspaper has published so much stuff about it.
As a result, I now know that her use of a private email server was either illegal or not, justified or not, and reckless or not, and that most of her emails were innocuous, although some had to do with her yoga regimen, but some were in fact classified, although maybe not at the time they were sent, and since everything in Washington is classified, they might not have been all that important anyway.
The revelations about Clinton’s emails, which now concern the FBI, several dozen inspectors general, a congressional committee on Benghazi (more on that later), various news organizations, 1.2 million tweeters, a gaggle of private lawyers and, as always, Sidney Blumenthal, suggest very strongly indeed that something happened in Benghazi, Libya, or maybe Whitewater, Arkansas, that bears investigation. I hope the committee makes the connection.
Meanwhile, an inspector general named I. Charles McCullough III examined 900 pages of Clinton’s emails that were provided to the Benghazi committee (more later) and found — OMG! — that one contained classified information. Since it is classified — and rightly so, I presume — we don’t know what it is.
We do know, though, that the State Department had already posted it on its website, yet I can imagine poor McCullough III, bleary-eyed and in furious disarray, continuing to wade through Clinton’s supposedly private emails looking for one that might have mentioned Sidney Blumenthal.
Ah, yes, Blumenthal. He is a longtime Clinton friend and former White House aide who emailed her about 15 times about Libya.
The State Department discovered these memos, but they had already been turned over to the Benghazi committee by none other than Blumenthal himself. (A clever ploy?)
To these, Clinton responses went something like this: “Thanks a lot, Sid,” “I’ll pass this along, Sid” and, possibly, “How’s the family?” This all seems innocuous enough, but could be in code and connected in some way to Benghazi or Whitewater, whichever comes first.
The Times tells us that some in government think the whole email thing is nothing but a partisan attempt to weaken Clinton if she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee. Others are more sanguine.
One cited by the Times is William Johnson, a former Air Force officer who once worked at the State Department in some capacity. He is not otherwise identified, but I found a William Johnson who was a major general in the British army. He died in 1774 in New York. I hope the Benghazi committee looks into this. (More later.)
OK, now. The Benghazi committee was established to look into the attack on the U.S. installation in Libya that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Clinton was secretary of state at the time and supposedly somehow at fault.
Maybe it has to do with her aide Huma Abedin, whom the Times notes was herself the recipient of emails. In one, Clinton asked how a fax machine worked.
“I thought it was supposed to be off the hook.” Right there. Something. Huma Abedin. Barack Hussein Obama. Wake up, America!
As luck would have it, Abedin herself is under investigation. While at the State Department, she might have been paid for working on days when she was allegedly on vacation. She disputes the charge, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked the FBI to look into it.
The amount in dispute is only $10,000, but I’m sure some FBI agent can take time from some silly terrorism investigation to settle an HR matter of such huge importance. I only hope that the task in the end is not given to poor McCullough III. The man has suffered enough.
It would be chary of me, as a Washington Post columnist, not to acknowledge the yeoman-like work the Times has done on the email story. The paper broke it, and, yes, there have been missteps along the way, but I can see now why the paper has persisted.
The story is undoubtedly a big one, or maybe a little one. It is one of immense importance or maybe not important at all.
The emails were illegal or maybe legal, and some were classified although possibly not until later, and even then they amounted to nothing, and no matter what she says, Clinton should not have used a personal email server. That much is clear.