The loose ends accumulate

Reflecting on his service at the Admiralty during the First World War, Churchill wrote: “The terrible ‘Ifs’ accumulate.” In the Clinton email story, the ludicrous loose ends accumulate. In Tuesday’s Best of the Web column “Party like it’s 1998” (accessible here via Google), James Taranto provides a useful summary of developments in the Clinton email saga, apparently posted before her astounding press conference (Taranto has links to each of the items summarized):

Here’s what we have so far this week (an ominous thing to say on Tuesday):

• The State Department told a federal judge that it has found 305 messages “that needed to be referred to the security agencies to determine whether they did, in fact, have secret information that needed to be redacted before public release,” the Washington Times reports. The department is about 20% through its review of the incomplete set of email printouts Mrs. Clinton delivered last year.

• reports that Denver-based Platte River Networks, the company that ran Mrs. Clinton’s email server starting in mid-2013, is a “ ‘mom and pop’ operation” that “was run from a loft apartment and its servers were housed in the bathroom closet.” So that’s what she meant when she said she did it for “convenience.”

• The Washington Times reports that when the State Department learned that Mrs. Clinton had copied classified emails onto a thumb drive, they didn’t seize it “but rather provided her attorney a special safe to secure the device.” And “some career State employees have now alerted the intelligence community to irregularities that they fear may hide from the public the true extent of classified information that passed through her personal account.”

• Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, yesterday sent a letter to Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, asking 13 questions related to whether he had clearance to possess classified material. (It has been reported that Kendall obtained a clearance when he represented Gen. David Petraeus in criminal proceedings involving the illegal disclosure of classified information. Asks Grassley: “When was that clearance terminated?”)

• The Daily Caller reports that “Department of State officials refused to identify to a congressional committee the ‘chain of custody‘—the complete list of people who had access to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.”

On that last point, one key question has not, to our mind, received enough attention—to wit: Who exactly went through Mrs. Clinton’s emails to decide which were “work-related” and which were “personal”? Did that person or persons have the necessary clearance to handle classified information?

Taranto closes with “yet another question: How come Bill Clinton hasn’t been defending his wife as volubly as she defended him all those years ago when he was guilty?”