September 12th issue of The Weekly Standard
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was investigating the events surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.
On March 10, 2015, Hillary Clinton told reporters at a rare press conference that she had “absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department."
No parsing required. Absolute confidence, she said. In any way connected to work.
On August 8, 2015, Clinton submitted a signed declaration to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., swearing "under penalty of perjury" that she'd directed all emails that "were or potentially were" work-related be turned over to the State Department.
Emphatic. Were or potentially were related to her time as secretary of state.
Then on October 22, 2015, Clinton testified under oath before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. "I provided the department, which has been providing you, with all of my work-related emails—all that I had."
Unqualified, absolute. All that I had.
In May of this year, Clinton told ABC News: "I have provided all of my work-related emails, and I've asked that they be made public, and I think that demonstrates that I wanted to make sure that this information was part of the official records."
Categorical. All of my work-related emails.
Clinton used such unequivocal language on purpose, of course. It was meant to convey certitude about her disclosure of work-related emails, to signal to voters (and reporters) that she was unafraid of being contradicted and, most important, that she had nothing at all to hide.
We know now that her claims were false.
A report by the State Department's inspector general concluded that Clinton had not turned over any of the work-related emails she sent in her first three-plus months on the job, between January 2009 and April 2009. The Defense Department found 19 emails Clinton and General David Petraeus exchanged that were not included in her production to the government. The Benghazi committee uncovered a batch of undisclosed work-related emails between Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton adviser who wrote to share privately sourced intelligence on Libya and other pressing State Department matters. (At the time of their correspondence, the Clinton Foundation was paying Blumenthal $10,000 per month to serve as a consultant.)
It was clear long ago that Hillary Clinton and her team did not, in fact, turn over all work-related emails to the State Department. And in July, we learned that the number of missing work-related emails was exponentially higher than previous reports had suggested. FBI director James Comey stunned even reporters who had long worked on the story when he disclosed just how many Clinton had failed to produce.
"The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related emails that were not among the group of 30,000 emails that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. . . . It's also likely that there are other work-related emails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere and that are now gone."
How could this happen? Comey concluded that Team Clinton did not intentionally withhold the emails and may well have just missed them because their search wasn't comprehensive enough.
We are skeptical. Is it possible that a search of 60,000 messages might somehow miss a few work-related emails? Sure. A few dozen? Plausible. But several thousand? In a search conducted shortly before Hillary Clinton would launch her presidential campaign and conducted by people employed to protect her interests? Dubious.
Then, this past week, we learned that there was yet another set of work-related emails Clinton had failed to produce. Up to 30 emails related to Benghazi were among those Clinton deleted from her private server. We haven't yet seen those latest emails. The Clinton campaign is downplaying their significance, arguing that they may well be duplicates of earlier emails posted by the State Department. Perhaps. But there's little reason to take their word for it. Given that the inquiry into Clinton's emails grew out of the investigation into the Benghazi attacks, one might expect that anyone searching for work-related emails would have included Benghazi as one of the most important search terms. Anyone searching for work-related emails whose goal was to find them, anyway.
It doesn't take much guesswork to understand why Hillary Clinton set up a private email server and why she has lied so aggressively ever since: She didn't want her emails available to the American people. In an email exchange back in 2010, Clinton herself cited that as the reason she did not want to use State Department email. When top aide Huma Abedin suggested "putting [Clinton] on state email" or providing her email address to State Department officials, Clinton wrote back to say: "Let's get separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible."
Clinton didn't provide that one. That email—with a top State Department official about State Department business and concerning the very email set-up that investigators were seeking to learn more about—was not included in the emails that Clinton considered "in any way connected to work."
She got away with it. And, as regards the latest revelations, she will get away with it again.