The invaluable Judicial Watch released a report this morning on documents produced by the State Department relating to the department’s collection of Hillary Clinton’s emails for production in response to subpoenas and other legal requirements. As usual, the Obama administration defied the Freedom of Information Act and produced these documents only in response to a court order.
The report’s headline-grabber is the revelation that State Department employees identified significant gaps in Mrs. Clinton’s emails when they collected and analyzed them:
The first batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch contains a heavily redacted email from State Department official Eric F. Stein to Margaret P. Grafeld, dated April 21, 2015, with the subject “HRC Emails.” Stein is deputy director of global information systems at the State Department and Grafeld is deputy assistant secretary of global information systems. Stein reports to Grafeld that the “gaps” in Clinton’s emails include:
Jan. 21 – March 17, 2009 (Received Messages)
Jan. 21 – April 12, 2009 (Sent Messages)
Dec. 30, 2012 – Feb. 1, 2013 (Sent Messages)
These are emails pulled from Hillary’s home server. It appears that there are no emails from the first two months of Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, and no sent messages for the first three months. I haven’t gone back to check what is in the public record about when Hillary set up her home server, but presumably she didn’t go for months without sending or receiving emails. The other gap is at the tail end of her tenure: no sent messages for her last month as secretary.
What is the significance of these gaps? Who knows? We know that Hillary’s production was incomplete even within the time periods where she had emails, because Sidney Blumenthal produced a number of documents that were not contained in the State Department’s collection. It seems doubtful that the gaps that have now been documented are a function of Hillary’s staff deleting damaging information, simply because it would be so much easier, and harder to detect, if they merely deleted the damaging emails and not an entire several months’ worth.
So I am more inclined to see this as another example of Clinton’s almost incomprehensible incompetence. Its main significance may be political: a reminder that Hillary’s email troubles will drag on and on, with no end in sight. Meanwhile, she is sinking like a stone in the polls, leaving Republicans wondering whether her collapse might be coming too soon. Perhaps there will be time for the Democrats to substitute a better candidate. But who, exactly, would that be?