Hillary Clinton finally held a press conference in which she purported to explain why she used only a private account to send and receive email during her time as Secretary of State. Clinton said she should have used two accounts, but chose not to because she didn’t want to carry two devices.
Clinton also admitted to having deleted thousands of emails, but said they all related to personal matters like plan’s for Chelsea’s wedding and her mother’s funeral (perhaps also her dog Checkers). Clinton further insisted that she did not send classified information by email.
Clinton expects us to take her word that the deleted emails deal only with trivialities and that she transmitted no classified information. However, nothing in Clinton’s history suggests that we should take her word on anything, and her 20 minute (or so) appearance raised additional questions about her honesty.
For example, Clinton said she “fully complied with every rule.” Yet, as the Washington Post reminds us, even the Obama administration has said that Clinton did not follow its policy against using private or commercial e-mail for government business.
Obama administration policy aside, Clinton violated a 2009 regulation from the National Archives and Records Administration that requires officials “using a system not operated by the agency” to preserve their correspondence within the “appropriate agency record-keeping system.” She did not preserve her correspondence with the State Departments record-keeping system, and she admits not preserving thousands of emails at all.
Clinton also claimed that some of the email correspondence she deleted was with her husband. Yet, as Shannen Coffin points out, Bill Clinton has denied (through a spokesman) that he ever uses email.
Clinton’s claim that she didn’t want to carry two devices is also shaky. Andrew Johnson notes that two weeks ago, Clinton said she uses two devices.
While at a conference in Silicon Valley last month, Clinton was asked by an interviewer about her preference between the iPhone or Android. “iPhone,” Clinton immediately responded with a laugh. “Okay, in full disclosure,” she continued with a pause, “and a BlackBerry.”
Even if one takes Clinton’s explanation at face value, we must conclude that she placed her desire not to carry two devices ahead of Obama administration policy and the security interests of the United States. Whether or not Clinton’s email system was breached, Clinton’s use of her own server increased the likelihood of such a breach.
It’s characteristic of Clinton that she would ignore rules and best practices for her own convenience. Simply put, she thinks she’s better than everyone else and thus above the rules.
The real “inconvenience” Clinton wanted to avoid was, of course, inconvenient potential scrutiny of her conduct as Secretary of State — e.g., through legitimate FOIA requests. She seems to have succeeded. But she’s in for scrutiny now, and I doubt that today’s press conference will bring it to an end.