The Never-ending Email Farce

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

National Review’s Shannen W. Coffin has a great piece up today on Hillary Clinton’s shifting excuses over the ever-deepening email scandal. An abbreviated summary:

  1. No classified email was on my server.
  2. None of the mail was marked as classified.
  3. I didn’t originate the email marked as classified.

About this “the emails were classified only after they were sent” defense: It’s no defense at all. It actually underscores the offense. People who deal in sensitive material point out that sensitive material is always created first, classified later. That’s the reason for storing sensitive material on protected government systems in the first place!

And this “didn’t originate with me” stuff? Obviously the secretory of state must receive sensitive material! Part of the job! Inescapable! Clinton thrust her subordinates into a position where the only way they could do their jobs was by risking national security. And she took all these risks for purely selfish reasons: in the best case, paranoia; in the worst case, to conceal venal activities of her family.

I’m told that Clinton is probably not in much legal jeopardy. A prosecutor would have to prove that she was aware at the time, which is hard to do. But the episode is revealing of what to expect from a Clinton presidency.