Not long ago, a former associate predicted that a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would be foisted upon Americans one long, slow dumpster fire smoldering with “a new scandal a day.”
Today’s scandal — and we’re throwing a dart here, because there’s more than one to choose from — involves the revelation that the Clinton camp appears to have lied about having only one private email address, an address she used for official government business while heading the State Department in contravention of federal policy.
The New York Times on Monday published a list of Clinton emails dating from Hillary’s time as President Obama’s secretary of state. All of them relate to Libya in some way, and a lot of them suggest a blurred and conflicting role for Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton family confidant and former aide to President Bill Clinton.
“Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government,” The Times reported in a related article:
The projects — creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools — would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.
It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton or the State Department knew of Mr. Blumenthal’s interest in pursuing business in Libya; a State Department spokesman declined to say. Many aspects of Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement in the planned Libyan venture remain unclear. He declined repeated requests to discuss it.
But interviews with his associates and a review of previously unreported correspondence suggest that — once again — it may be difficult to determine where one of Mr. Blumenthal’s jobs ended and another began.
The Blumenthal connection, a potential scandal in itself, gets the lion’s share of the attention in The Times’ Monday piece.
But there’s that other small, incidental tidbit, hidden in plain sight in the published emails: another private Hillary Clinton email address, active during her time as secretary of state, used in some correspondence that appears to fall under the general description of “official government business.”
The existence of the second email address, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” is perplexing in light of comments Clinton’s staffers have made to explain away the discovery of her first private email address. In short, Team Hillary has been adamant, from the beginning, that there is no second email address.
“Secretary Clinton used one email account during her tenure at State (with the exception of her first weeks in office while transitioning from an email account she had previously used),” Clinton’s office said in a statement after the original scandal broke. “In March 2013, Gawker [a general interest website] published the email address she used while Secretary, and so she had to change the address on her account.”
But as The Blaze observed Monday, the “hrod17″ address was plenty active alongside Clinton’s other account. “Clinton served as secretary of state from January 2009 to February 2013,” wrote The Blaze. “The emails she sent through ‘email@example.com’ were sent in 2011 and 2012, according to the documents released by the Times.”
It’s worth noting that all of this discussion centers on the emails that have been made public. There are vastly more that have not been made public, and perhaps will never be.
Clinton herself is showing — it’s too early to tell if she’s feigning — an eagerness for the public to have a peek at the 55,000 privately held emails that her camp voluntarily turned over to the State Department. That act came only after Team Hillary had conducted a self-managed audit using its own undisclosed criteria. It’s self-reported content, and doesn’t even begin to include the untold thousands of additional emails that Clinton and/or her handlers allegedly deleted from her home-housed email server.
Barring a subpoena that might tap into whatever trove of permanent data the NSA presumably has on everyone’s emails — including Hillary’s — there’s no getting at those deleted items. So this whole news cycle focusing on the canonical 55,000 may be a piece of infotainment theater and nothing more.
That would at least make plausible Mrs. Clinton’s recent assertion: “Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do.”
Guess we’ll know — maybe — come 2016.