It seems the GOP overreaching has gotten farcical.
This morning the chair of the so-called “Benghazi” committee, Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), demanded former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turn over all her personal emails as well as her server. In his words, “we don’t get to grade our own papers in life.” Let me translate my fellow South Carolinian’s folksy colloquialism: he’s saying that Clinton doesn’t get to decide which emails she turns over and which ones she doesn’t.
Actually yes she does. That’s the rule for every single federal employee except, you guessed it, the members and staff of the legislative branch aka the Congress. Rules governing the president and his immediate staff are far stricter, but no one here is talking about that. Yet.
I was a Senate staffer for years, and the one thing we always knew about our emails was this: no one, and I mean no one, could ever get their hands on them. Congressional email is exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.
Fast forward to Gowdy demanding Clinton turn over her personal emails. As I wrote yesterday, her personal emails are none of his damn business. Period. And yet, he’s demanding she turn over those emails. Correct the Record’s David Brock asked the right question this morning in a letter to Congressman Gowdy:
March 11, 2015 Chairman Trey GowdySelect Committee on Benghazi United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Gowdy:
I noted with interest your public demand that Secretary Clinton turn over her personal email server, presumably so that the committee can access some 30,000 Clinton emails deemed to be strictly private and beyond the reach of the government.
This Orwellian demand has no basis in law or precedent. Every government employee decides for themselves what email is work-related and what is strictly private. There is no reason to hold Secretary Clinton to a different standard— except partisan politics.
But since you insist that Clinton’s private email be accessed, I’m writing today to ask you and your staff to abide by the same standard you seek to hold the Secretary to by releasing your own work-related and private email and that of your staff to the public.
While I realize that Congress regularly exempts itself from laws that apply to the executive branch, I believe this action is necessary to ensure public confidence in the fairness and impartiality of your investigation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Correct The Record
The good news here is Brock has called Gowdy on his complete and sheer hypocrisy. The bad news? Gowdy and the rest of his cronies are completely exempt and will never have to turn over a single email to the taxpayer. Once again, the double standard is staggering.
I asked the folks over at CTR about this and Adrienne Elrod told me:
“Hillary Clinton’s email was secure – in fact, she said there were zero security breaches to the system. That’s more than we can say of the federal government, whose various departments have been hacked numerous times, resulting in the exposure of sensitive data and personal information. If Trey Gowdy feels so strongly about the security of her personal email, he should apply the same standard to himself and his own staff, and release all their public and private emails.”
Finally, let me address this BS surrounding the “security” of the Clinton server. The U.S. Secret Service has watched over that server since it was plugged into the walls of the Clinton’s Chappaqua home. Furthermore, at no point has anyone hacked into the Clinton server, something the Department of State has confirmed.
In 2013, the federal government incurred almost 61,000 cyber attacks and security breaches. In fact, Reuter’s reported the State Department’s own servers were hacked into in the fall of 2014.
The Clinton’s server? Nada. The federal government? Over 61,000 breaches.
Our friends on the right will ask: “Well how do we know!??! How can we trust anything Clinton tells us?!?”
And the answer is actually quite simple: they never will trust her or her husband. Ever. Period. No matter what. She could take a lie detector test, and they’d say she rigged it. She could swear on the Holy Bible, and they’d say she’s not a Christian so it doesn’t matter. (Heard that line lately?)
We know that hundreds of thousands of state secrets were leaked when Bradley Manning, a Defense Department employee, downloaded State Department cables. We also know not a single email from Secretary Clinton was included in any of those documents and cables.
So if we’re going to have a conversation about the security of the Clinton server, let’s have that. Compared to the federal government’s track record with secured emails, I’d say the Clinton emails did just fine.
Whoever thought the GOP would love government email so much.