By Dave Lindorff
As Clinton email scandal grows Nixonian, Sanders must ask hard questions
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When it comes to Hillary Clinton's State Department email scandal, reporters -- and even her right-wing critics in the Republican Party -- are asking the wrong question.
Sure, doing all her official business on an unprotected, unscrambled private server in her own home and on an unsecured private Blackberry phone device means that any two-bit spy outfit, not to mention sophisticated ones like those of Russia, Iran, Israel or China, could easily hack it and read secret State Department and other agency communications. But really, those entities have ways of getting that kind of secret stuff anyhow.
The real question is what kind of private conversations Clinton, in her role as Secretary of State, was having with powerful people both at home and abroad that may have involved cash donations to the Clinton Foundation and to her and Bill's personal enrichment or her future campaign for president.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, and while she's slippery, she's no dummy. She may have played dumb when asked earlier by reporters about her server's hard drive being wiped clean of data before she turned it over to the FBI, saying, "What, like with a cloth or something? I don't know how it works at all," but she surely was involved in the deletion of her private emails -- over 30,000 of which were reportedly erased.
And those erasures were made without any involvement of State Department security or legal officials. The decision, according to Clinton, on which emails were "private communications," was made by her personal attorney, whose interest, by definition, was her and not the public or even national security for that matter.
As the Washington Post has reported, the Clintons went from being, as Hillary Clinton has said, "dead broke" upon leaving the White House in January 2000, to earning some $230 million by this year -- a staggering sum of money even in a new Gilded Age of obscene wealth. Most of this money has been little more than influence buying by corporations and wealthy people trying to curry favor with a woman who was already Secretary of State, perhaps the second-most powerful position in the US government and whom many expected to become the next president after Obama.
The power couple's two foundations, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, now together reportedly worth more than $2 billion, both function effectively as money-laundering operations providing salaries to Clinton family members and friends. And Hillary Clinton, particularly while serving as President Obama's secretary of state, was in a perfect position to do favors for unsavory foreign leaders seeking to have their countries kept off of State Department lists of human rights violators, and for US businesses seeking lucrative business deals abroad. It's those kinds of email conversations that would have benefitted from a private server, since US State Department official computers have dedicated back-up systems that would be hard or impossible to wipe, and are also by law subject to Freedom of Information inquiries from journalists and the public.