My guest today is investigative reporter, Steve Horn. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Steve.
Joan Brunwasser: The issue of Hillary's emails, hacked, deleted or insecure, is beginning to grow legs, despite major mainstream media apathy for several years. Your new piece that you co-wrote with Lee Fang just appeared in Intercept.com is: Hillary Clinton's Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal. This is a new wrinkle. Can you get the ball rolling for us, please?
Steve Horn: Thanks for having me again! Okay, so it's important to differentiate our article with those based on the emails Hillary Clinton handed over that were on her private server. I've written articles based on those emails (known these days thanks to Bernie Sanders as the "damn emails," which he said "America is sick and tired of hearing about") too.
My stories on those "damn emails" centered around how she pushed oil/gas sector privatization in Mexico and how the State Department -- in handing over those emails she had stored on her private server at her private home over, which the State Department Inspector General recently berated-- redacted the entire job description of David Goldwyn, who headed up the Global Shale Gas Initiative that's the centerpiece of our article. Goldwyn now works as an industry lawyer, consultant and unregistered lobbyist.
Hillary Clinton Testimony To House Select Committee on Benghazi
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The emails we tapped into for our story on The Intercept were obtained, like the private server ones, via the Freedom of Information Act. Tellingly, as our request was made before the private server request took place, there are NO emails in our hundreds of pages we received that emanate from Clinton or her closest aides that used the clintonmail.com email domain names. But we still got back interesting stuff, which expanded upon the great 2014 Mother Jones investigation about how Hillary Clinton's State Department sold hydraulic fracturing ("fracking," a horizontal drilling technique) of shale oil and gas around the world.
Our emails show that GSGI involved coordination among a plethora of federal agencies and it's important to note it wasn't just a State Department thing, but a "whole of government" approach touted by Goldwyn as such. State Department created its own Bureau of Energy Resources, under which sat GSGI. GSGI brought in delegations to the U.S. and sent delegations abroad for the purpose of selling U.S.-style fracking around the world.
Clinton now campaigns as a cautious supporter of fracking (and aired a fairly secretive anti-fracking ad in New York State that her campaign hasn't put up on YouTube like the rest of the ads its run), given certain conditions only under which she'd support it, but there's no evidence these conditions were part of her team's plan for selling fracking under the auspices of GSGI. So, it could just be pandering and to be honest, it probably is. Why wouldn't it be? This is U.S. electoral politics after all!
The irony of the story is that fracking has only reached commercial-scale levels in the U.S., Argentina, Canada and China. Everywhere else, due to either geology or low oil prices, it has failed. So in some ways, GSGI was a mission failed. But it does show or at least portend that this type of activity could continue under a Hillary Clinton Administration, just as it did under Obama's. And that is nothing but bad news from a climate change and ecological perspective.
JB: Lots to talk about here. First, a bit of clarification, please. You said that you got information via FOIA, but "tellingly" there were no emails from Clinton or her aides using the clintonemail.com domain. You were able to piece this story together without them?
SH: She had a team of her closest advisers that used the private server. Most miss that part of the story, but it's key. Her closest friend, basically second daughter, Huma Abedin, also used that private server as did close friend and adviser Cheryl Mills and a small group of others. It's outlined pretty well in a New York Times piece published back in March 2015 titled, "Membership in Clinton's Email Domain Is Remembered as a Mark of Status." In Putin's Russia, we call these types of folks "loyalists" to the regime. In the U.S., we call them "aides."
So, we got no emails from any of them even though I'm sure they had something to say about GSGI's operability. That's because technically their emails were not in State Department possession. They were in Clinton's possession, stored in a server tucked into a room in her New York state home.
We weren't able to piece together the whole story of course due to the private server issue. And there is still another round of emails to come through this request, as they're giving them to us on a rolling basis. FOIA is notoriously slow under the Obama Administration, the worst Administration in U.S. history on the issue.
But we got a lot of the story filled in from these, on top of the Mother Jones investigation. We can now accurately say Clinton served not only as the Secretary of State, but also the Global Secretary of Fracking.