Pathetic, adj.: arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness.
Synonyms: pitiful, pitiable, piteous, moving, touching, poignant, plaintive, distressing, upsetting, heartbreaking, heart-rending, harrowing, wretched, forlorn
This is the word that constantly came to mind and heart as I explored the FBI’s notes (you can too, here) regarding Hillary Clinton’s decisive—at least in terms of saving her from prosecution—interview with the FBI. Everything about them arouses pity–for her, for us, for the nation. Let us count the ways.
1. Over at MSNBC, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, a fully committed operative of the Democratic Party, like most of his colleagues, and like them committed through his partisan bias to saving America from Donald Trump, was overcome with an attack of objectivity. “It bothers me as an American citizen,” he said, that the FBI didn’t record Hillary’s interview, and left Americans to ponder merely notes taken by one agent as the public tries to assess who it may be electing President in November. “Are you kidding me?!” Todd cried. “We’re releasing notes?!”
We’re releasing notes. It’s pitiable to see one of many prominent journalists who have tried so, so hard for eight years to paper over, minimize and otherwise shrug off the constant, near complete incompetence of the Obama Administration and every agency under it to be suddenly stung by the realization that this has consequences—for trust, for truth, for belief that the government isn’t actively engaged in suppressing it. Pathetic.
2. Some of you will recall that I was collecting the various partisan reactions to FBI director James Comey’s statement announcing that the FBI would not be recommending Clinton’s indictment to ultimately gauge which party’s reaction was more ridiculous, irresponsible, dishonest and foolish. Democrats were claiming that Comey’s report, despite showing that Clinton had lied outright about her use of the private e-mails server, and that her recklessness had endangered U.S. intelligence, exonerated Hillary. Republicans were claiming that Comey’s statement and the decision not to prosecute was indefensible. I was waiting to learn what Hillary had said in her interview, as I assumed that it would have to be released before the election. To reveal a closely guarded Ethics Alarms secret, I was prepared to declare Republicans the “winner” of the competition, as obviously idiotic as it is to say that a report declaring Clinton incompetent and dishonest could possibly “exonerate” her. Reading the notes, however, and considering the fact that the F.B.I. only has these notes to show us, I am back to, as Bobby Fisher would say, square one. Which is pathetic.
3. Why? Well, we have just learned that Clinton had her server “wiped” after the New York Times, on March 3, 2015, broke the story of the server system’s existence. At the same time, she and her surrogates were telling the news media and us, “I want the public to see my email,” even as she directed her henchmen to destroy it. The FBI knew this, yet still found Clinton’s actions just negligent, and not criminal. Five months later–back in those halcyon days when she actually held press conferences— she feigned ignorance when Fox News’s Ed Henry asked, “Did you wipe the server?” saying, “Like with a cloth or something?” Now we know, vie the FBI notes , that she had the server emptied using a sophisticated software program, BleachBit, that is designed to make purged e-mails virtually unrecoverable, and indeed several thousand of hers were successfully destroyed. Clinton got away with this, her supporters don’t think it matters, and the FBI apparently minimized these efforts to obstruct justice. Pathetic.
4. This past week we learned that 30 e-mails related to Benghazi and this its Congressional investigation were among those Clinton tried to eliminate, despite Clinton saying over and over again that she wanted all of her State related e-mails to come out, and that she had turned over every one of them. This attempted destruction of evidence, for that is what it was, occurred after Clinton knew that there were various official government investigations of the Benghazi massacre. This means that Clinton engaged in prima facie obstruction of justice. The F.B.I. apparently didn’t care. It is therefore either corrupt or incompetent. Pathetic.
5. The first paragraph of the notes identifies Clinton’s lawyers, who were permitted to be present for the interview. Among them is Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s longtime confidant and chief-of-staff at the State Department. KABOOM!* Cheryl Mills was a potential witness, and even a likely subject of the investigation. She had an absolute, unwaivable conflict of interest. Her appearance as Clinton’s attorney was an apparent or actual ploy to protect information she received regarding the e-mails that was not privileged, since her role on Clinton’s staff was not as her personal lawyer or a State Department lawyer. Again, for the interviewers to allow this was either brain-blowingly incompetent, or corrupt.
6. That’s five reasons for pity already and one KABOOM!, and I haven’t even reached the stunning statements—well, descriptions of statements—Clinton made during the interview. In the interest of length, here are the most pathetic ones, all together:
- Clinton said she wasn’t familiar with the markings on classified documents! Andrew McCarthy neatly puts that one in perspective:
“[O]ne of the highest ranking national security officials in the United States government – an official whose day-to-day responsibilities extensively involved classified information; who had secure facilities installed in her two homes (in addition to her office) so she could review classified information in them; and who acknowledged to the FBI that, as secretary of state, she was designated by the president as “an Original Classification Authority,” meaning she had the power to determine what information should be classified and at what level – had the audacity to tell the interviewing agents that she did not know what the different classification symbols in classified documents signified.”
When she was asked about an email chain containing the symbol “(C),”meaning “confidential, Clinton said she didn’t know what it meant—even by the time of the interview!— and, the notes say, “could only speculate it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.” McCarthy again:
“Mind you, Mrs. Clinton was not just secretary of state for four years. She was a United States senator for eight years, during nearly all of which she was assigned to the Senate Armed Services Committee (and such Armed Services components as the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities). Reviewing classified information, including highly sensitive national defense secrets, is a routine part of that committee’s work.”
- Hillary frequently, and I mean frequently—I thought I lost devices too often— lost her Blackberrys, and the FBI failed to find thirteen of them, which she used to submit more than 2,000 classified emails.
- Clinton told investigators she could not recall getting any briefings on how to handle classified information or comply with laws governing the preservation of federal records. She really said that.
- Forty times Clinton said that she couldn’t recall critical events.
7. This, as much as it is a terrible reflection on Clinton, the State Department and the F.B.I., is more evidence of the unconscionable incompetent and miserable leadership of Barack Obama. His Secretary of State, giving her the benefit of the doubt, was an incompetent, blithering fool. His State Department was technologically inept and reckless, to a dangerous degree. Did he know? Did he check? Did he care? Pathetic!
8. Hillary’s corrupted supporters and most of the news media have been cheering on this woman, in part on based on the claim that she is uniquely qualified for the Presidency by experience. You see, for experience in a job to be a qualification for a tougher job, one has to have shown ability, skill and competence in that job. By the evidence her own words, Hillary Clinton did not possess basic knowledge essential to her position, and worse, lacked the curiosity to even seek to acquire that knowledge. This kind of astounding incompetence—a mechanic saying “Wrench? What’s a wrench?”…a pilot saying “Flaps? What are flaps?”—is not a qualification. It is a disqualification. Yet we will continue to hear how qualified Clinton is for the next two months. He advocates are stupid or corrupt: those are the only alternatives.
9. And what of Hillary herself? My initial conclusion, supporting Comey, was that she was, like so many others of her generation in positions of power and authority in the private and public sector, overwhelmed by the rapid advance of technology, and her ineptitude in the matter of her e-mails was careless and negligent but not criminally so. Reading the notes, however, what I see reeks of wilful or contrived ignorance, and willful ignorance is unethical as well as a weak defense against criminal complicity.
If not wilful ignorance, then the remaining explanations are that she was lying to the F.B.I,, or that she has something wrong with her, because she wasn’t always this stupid. Whichever it is of the three, there is only one word for the fact that the Democratic Party has allowed this woman to be the only thing standing between Donald Trump and the White House.
By now, you should know what that is.