Yesterday I kept my regular Thursday date with Hugh Hewitt. Wracked by laryngitis, Hugh's voice had been relocated to a private server and he was reduced to a husky whisper as he brought me up to speed on the news of the day:
HUGH HEWITT: I want to begin by telling you that ISIS attacked the archaeological site at Nimrod today, and Libya says their oil fields are in the hands of the militants, and ISIS is believed to have 46,000 Twitter accounts. These are all front page stories. But we're going to talk about email instead, if you don't mind, because that is the biggest story of the day. And I want to know what you make first from 30,000 feet of Hillary's intentionality from the beginning of her tenure at State of avoiding scrutiny.
MARK STEYN: Yes, I think there's no doubt that it was deliberate. This is why the usual spin isn't going to work - because she essentially set up a shadow operation to supplant the normal exchange of information within a cabinet department. At midnight last night, I posted a story that a friend of mine, a diplomat, tipped me off - not an American diplomat, interestingly enough, but a non-U.S. diplomat - about how the American ambassador to Kenya was fired just three years ago during Hillary's term for precisely this, for using commercial email systems instead of secure government ones for official business. Hillary Clinton's State Department fired the U.S. ambassador for Kenya for doing that in 2012. The story's now been picked up by the Weekly Standard and Drudge and people, and I'm glad, I'm very glad of that, because I think it actually gets to the heart of the matter here - that this country is decaying from a republic into a banana republic, where if you're an inconsequential person the rules apply to you, but if you're a select few, at the Hillary Clinton level, then the laws and the rules don't apply. This should be a disqualifier. She essentially freelanced - and presumably with the knowledge of the President and other people - she essentially, in defiance of the law, she essentially freelanced an entire cabinet department to Clinton HQ for four years.
Hugh played for me the bland brush-off of Hillary's successor, John Kerry, that "the State Department has had access to a wide array of Secretary Clinton's records". Well, that's awfully decent of her. A "wide array"? What is that - a representative sample? a random smorgasbord?
MS: It's all part of a pattern here - that they're protecting their own in the same way as they protect the President when he decides which bits of U.S. immigration law no longer apply, or which bits of Obamacare law no longer apply; that there is an increasingly open contempt for the rule of law... She thinks she can get away with it, which is one reason all this stuff is coming up and out now... The New York Times guy who broke the story is sort of kind of sheepish about his own scoop. In other words, he's writing it up now because he doesn't want the scoop to get out of hand. But it's a major, it's a major issue. The problem in Libya on the night of Benghazi was that nobody, either in Benghazi or in Tripoli, can get hold, could get hold of the cabinet officer in charge of American foreign policy... The deputy ambassador in Tripoli, after the U.S. ambassador had been killed, was able to get the president of Libya on the phone, but he wasn't able to get anyone who mattered in his own department back in Washington on the phone. Because he's like all these other shlub ambassadors: He didn't have the email for the Secretary of State. That's absolutely ridiculous. The Australian ambassador in Washington knows how to contact the Australian foreign minister in Canberra... This was a separate, unique arrangement that Hillary Clinton thought she was entitled to because of her celebrity, and there were real consequences to it.
The revealed email address - [email protected] - attracted some comment earlier this week because "hdr" is "Hillary Diane Rodham". But nobody could figure out what the "22" meant. The year she was born? The age of Bill's current girlfriend? The obvious explanation is that it's to distinguish it from email addresses hdr1 through hdr21:
Although Hillary Clinton's spokespeople have maintained that the former secretary of state only used one privately-controlled email address during her tenure, a hacker working in conjunction with Fox News discovered that there were multiple email addresses owned by Clinton...
Other accounts included:
You can find my full interview with Hugh here.
~Thank you for your many interesting comments on Magna Carta's 800th birthday, which we'll publish a selection from a little later. Thank you also for your generosity toward the crowdfunding of John Robson and Brigitte Pellerin's anniversary documentary. Their goal is now well within reach, so, if you'd like to contribute, I do hope you'll consider it.
I'm also very chuffed (as they say in the birthplace of Magna Carta) by the pre-orders for an autographed copy of Climate Change: The Facts. After a week that has seen new lows in Big Climate thuggery, it's heartening to know there are people who still like to hear all sides of the story.