Thursday, 17 November 2016

Why are the emails such a big hairy deal!!!?????

So. I was watching this video:

Please don't ask me why I was watching it. I already feel like I need a shower.

Anyway, his first point seems to be, "all these Trump supporters are angry about the emails, and when you ask them what was IN the emails, they can't even tell you! Those dumb Trump supporters! They're mad about something and they don't even know why! Hahaha!"

Anyway, this post is a slightly altered version of the comment I left on that video.

So, I'm going to try to explain this as thoroughly and politely as possible in the hope that some of it might just get through to people who think the emails are less of an issue than some of us believe. First off. It doesn't matter what was in the emails, other than from a logistical standpoint--the government had to make some determination that classified information had not found its way into the wrong hands, intentionally or otherwise. Here is why people were angry over the emails: 1) she was secretary of state. She's supposed to use a secure government server. This is so that

A) no potentially dangerous or classified information is accidentally leaked via hacking or other forms of subterfuge, and so that

B) the watchdogs in government have access to her entire email history in case she needs to be investigated for misconduct, dereliction of duty or some other infraction (coughBenghazicough). She was caught using a private email server.

This is a BIG no-no for the reasons listed above. She was a top government official with the highest security clearance and access to top secret information. She is not ALLOWED to argue "I have a right to privacy", or "they were just personal emails" here, any more than she could argue, "my sex life is my own business" if she were having a secret torrid affair with Vladimir Putin.

She violated official protocols that are in place for very good reason, protocols she and her staff would have been advised of, in extreme detail, when taking office as SoS. This leaves us with two glaringly disturbing possibilities:

a) she is incompetent, or

b) she believes she doesn't have to obey the rules.

Frankly, I'm not sure which is more disturbing:

i) despite decades of experience in political office, handling sensitive information, this person is incompetent and yet running for president, or that

ii) this person demonstrated while in office, one of the most powerful offices in the nation, that she just doesn't feel the rules apply to her, and yet she was running for president.

Which worries you more? I mean, we're not all just giggling about how she said "nucular" and laughing over how she got the "fool me once" idiom wrong. We're concerned about the possibility that the secretary of state and her staff were completely unaware of the most basic security protocols of the job, or completely functionally incapable of following them.

And we're not suggesting that she was intentionally passing classified information to foreign agents. We're concerned that if she and her staff were not completely and utterly incompetent, the only other explanation is that she felt the rules, rules that are in place to ensure national security and the integrity of state secrets, just didn't apply to her.

2) the FBI subpoenaed her, ordering her to hand over all the emails stored on her private server. This was so that they could determine whether

A) classified information had been sent via the private server, and if so, whether

B) that classified information had been sent to individuals who shouldn't have it.

This is HUGELY important in terms of national security. If she HAD sent classified information to Putin, or to the Saudis, or to Qatar, knowing what she sent and who she sent it to would be vitally important to the government in terms of protecting US interests, and even the lives of flesh and blood human beings. After receiving said subpoena, ordering her to hand over ALL the emails, she deleted 33,000 of them, using a program called "BleachBit", which is designed to remove all traces and any redundant copies of them.

She did this AFTER being ordered by the FBI via a subpoena to hand them over. That is obstruction of justice. As in, a crime. Destroying evidence that is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation after being ordered to hand it over IS A CRIME, young man. She also violated a federal subpoena, which is contempt of court. As in, a crime. These are two crimes that have absolutely diddly squat to do with whether there was anything incriminating in the emails themselves.

And of course, once those emails were criminally scrubbed, the FBI just had to take her word for it that the scrubbed emails were benign. That there was nothing in them that might have been in violation of her duty to the nation, and to her office. The emails could have been nothing but Payless Shoe Source, Hobby Lobby and Ikea e-flyers, and invitations to birthday parties and book club evenings. The contents of the erased emails is irrelevant. The relevant issue is that they existed on a private server in the first place, and that they were erased after she was ordered to hand them over to the FBI.

I have seen no argument from Hillary or her team that she did not have a private server, or that she or her staff did not erase those emails. None. Nothing.

She has not denied being in violation of security protocols, she has only argued that the security protocols shouldn't apply to her regarding her private server. She has not denied the emails were deleted. She has only argued that they were mundane personal emails the government wouldn't have any interest in anyway, so they don't matter.

Well, security protocols SHOULD apply to her, no exceptions. And I'm just not that prepared to trust the word of someone who's claiming that the very evidence they intentionally destroyed was destroyed because it wasn't evidence of wrongdoing.

By her actions, she (allegedly) obstructed justice and engaged in contempt of court. Relating to her activities and communications while in public office, occupying one of the most powerful positions in the nation.

The only defence against malfeasance is the defence of incompetence. Either way, this woman should not ever be president. 3) the FBI confirmed that a number of emails among those that had not been deleted were clearly marked as classified and were received and/or sent through the private email server. While they suggested that these emails were not sent to anyone who should not have had access to them, they commented on the extreme carelessness of dealing with this type of information on a private server. This goes back to point (1). She was handling sensitive, classified information on a private server that was not as well protected from possible hacking as the official government servers. She was doing the equivalent of leaving a "top secret" file in plain view on the front seat of her car while she went shopping, instead of in a locked briefcase in a secure location under armed guard. Attempts to hand-wave away her carelessness and incompetence are particularly hilarious given her assertions that the DNC email leaks were carried out by Russian hackers. The DNC was using regular email on regular servers, not secure government servers. That's how they were hacked. Yet Hillary exchanged classified information--CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, PEOPLE!--on a private server that was just as vulnerable to hacking as the ones that were hacked to get the dirt on the DNC.

Well, if the Russians hacked the DNC emails, who's to say they didn't hack Hillary's private server ages ago? Who's to say they don't have every single email somewhere in a database, including the ones she deleted? And if they did, why would they release it when it's in their interest to pretend they don't know what they know?

But we're supposed to worry about the Russians when it comes to the DNC leaks, but we're not supposed to be concerned about the fucking secretary of state discussing national secrets through a private email server every bit as vulnerable to being hacked by those dirty Russians? And of course, anyone pointing to this and saying, "um... this is actually not okay. This is actually criminal," is apparently making a big deal out of nothing because sexism.

I'm in an NSA dossier, yo. So are my kids. You heard me. I and my children are known to the National Security Agency of the US. We've been subjected to a routine background check.

You know why? Because my older stepson who is a US citizen flew drones in Afghanistan, and needed a security clearance, and that meant he had to hand over the names and basic information on every single person he's ever done more than say "hello" to.

To fly drones in Afghanistan.

Does that give you some idea about how seriously the US government takes national security?

Hillary has committed obstruction of justice and contempt of court regarding a matter of her possible violation of national security. She has denied neither allegation.

And yet she's not only not in prison, she was allowed to run for the highest office in the nation, the one with the highest security clearance possible. Now you might think that none of this matters. You might think that public officials operating within the highest echelons of power, privy to classified information vital to national security, should NOT be held to a higher standard of competence, honesty and integrity than the rest of us.

YOU might think the rules shouldn't apply to them the way they would apply to the rest of us.

YOU might think it's less of a crime to obstruct justice when you're a top government official than when you're just some guy who refuses to hand his financials over to his ex-wife. I don't. And whatever crimes people might assume Trump has committed, whether it's tax evasion, or serial "grabbing random women by the pussy", 1) he didn't commit them while holding public office, and 2) they have nothing to do with the duties of someone holding public office. Pussy grabbing might be a crime, but it's not a state secret, and it's not potentially treasonous. Well, unless the pussy he allegedly grabbed belongs to the Queen of England or something.


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Have at you!