By Steve Rusakiewicz, News Writer
As the race for President enters the election year, candidates on all sides are jockeying for party nominations and getting their messages out to the public. Among them is Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and First Lady. As the Democratic primary election races began heating up this month, Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders have been engaging in spirited debates on subjects ranging from healthcare to foreign policy to alleviating the burdens of the modern working-class citizen. The race between Clinton and Sanders currently follows the arc of the famous fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” with Sanders off to a very slow start in terms of poll numbers, but making steady gains along the way and even taking the lead from Clinton in Vermont, New Hampshire and closing to within the margin of error in Iowa. Despite these strong showings from Clinton, her campaign may be in serious danger of derailment due to her testimony regarding the nature of information contained on her private email server.
Former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Andrew Napolitano, writing for The Washington Times on November 4th, 2015 highlights two issues which could seriously undermine the confidence of the electorate, if not the legitimacy of her entire campaign. The first point of concern is more political in nature, and centers on her official responses to the events of the Benghazi embassy while she was Secretary of State. According to Napolitano, “her political problem is one of credibility.” This problem stems from emails confirming that then-Secretary Clinton sent emails to her daughter and the former Egyptian prime minister stating the embassy in Benghazi had been attacked by al Qaeda. This record contradicts the official version of events presented by the Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton herself that placed responsibility for the attack on a spontaneous reaction to a political cartoon mocking Muhammad, Islam’s sacred prophet. Additionally, the CIA had sent notice to Clinton 24 hours prior to the attack that al Qaeda had planned the operation 12 days prior to the killings. Napolitano speculates this issue will present a serious obstacle to Clinton winning the support of independent voters. The increasing support for Bernie Sanders is, for now, supporting that speculation.
As much trouble as the Benghazi scandal might make for Clinton, it is not the most serious obstacle facing her as she runs for the Presidency. The Washington Post reported on January 19th, 2016 that I. Charles McCullough III, inspector general of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), wrote he had received sworn statements from intelligence officials reviewing Clinton’s emails confirming the presence of classified material on her unsecured, private server. The State Department reported that 82 percent of Clinton’s correspondence had been released as of January 19th and is under a court order to make the remainder available to the public by the end of the month. While many of these emails are “upgraded” to classified status in preparation for public release, the IC watchdog insists, despite Mrs. Clinton’s assertions to the contrary, that some of the correspondence was, in fact, designated classified at the time it was sent. Adding to the complications for Clinton are two messages from Clinton with blatant instructions given to her subordinates to violate protocol. In one instance, Mrs. Clinton directed a subordinate to send classified information via an unsecured fax machine, and in the other case, she explicitly told a subordinate to remove the official “confidential” and “secret” designations from a document Clinton had not yet seen prior to transmission.
Why is this an issue at all? It turns out that the federal government is quite strict with their enforcement of standards with regard to protecting sensitive information. For merely possessing photographs considered to be classified by the federal government, 10-year Navy veteran Kristian Saucier is facing up to 20 years in prison, despite absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the photos were ever shared. In another case, The Washington Post reported last November on Major Jason Brezler’s compulsory separation from the Marine Corps due to his mishandling of classified information. In this case, the person of interest was changed and convicted of mishandling classified information because, while stateside, he forwarded a classified warning to a forward operating base in Afghanistan over his personal gmail account warning his deployed colleagues of an attack that was carried out days later, killing three marines.
Given these two examples, and the serious responses attached to them, it is no wonder that Napolitano and many others are predicting Hillary Clinton will be indicted for the same crimes as Saucier and Brezler, virtually assuring a swift end to her current run for President.