The Word For The Notes On Hillary Clinton’s FBI Interview—And Everything Related To It—Is “Pathetic”

Hillaryshrug

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.

 Pathetic.

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:

“[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.

Pathetic.

Pathetic.

Pathetic.

Pathetic.

Pathetic.

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.

Pathetic.

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.

* The Ethics Alarms official designation for something so unethical it makes my head explode.
_______________

21 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Science & Technology

21 responses to “The Word For The Notes On Hillary Clinton’s FBI Interview—And Everything Related To It—Is “Pathetic”

  1. The FBI states that the bar to prosecution is she didn’t “intentionally mishandle information”. I’m eager to see the next case involving mishandled information and have them prove intent. Apparently it’s not whether you mishandle information that matters but that you did it intentionally.

  2. Rick M.

    I just applied the “I don’t recall” defense to relationship with my spouse. I am now resting in my new home – the dog bed.

    FBI is in the swing of things making this sorid mess a Friday news dump.

  3. Other Bill

    Reminds me of the Saturday Night Live take-off of an H&R Block TV commercial where the pitchman says, “If you’re audited, we’ll go with you and provide you a defense.” At which point you see the taxpayer saying to the IRS agent, boldly, “I FORGOT!”

    I’m going to begin referring to HRC as Imelda. Which might not be fair to Mrs. Marcos.

  4. J. Houghton

    “for the interviewers to allow this was either brain-blowingly incompetent, or corrupt.”

    Obviously, the correct answer is corrupt.

    James Comey’s conclusion to not make a criminal referral naming HRC and other important people actually means: “I am not going to be the guy to pull the trigger on the next president of the United States.” Or, in other words, HRC and WJC are too big to prosecute.

    Presently I am resigned to the idea that HRC will become the 45th President of the United States, in spite of all my earlier expectations that HRC would have dropped out of the campaign long ago owing to the reality that she had too much baggage to proceed (Thanks Donald!) I now anticipate that there will be a horribly high price to pay… for the Clinton s and for the American culture.

    We are now witnessing a fundamental breakdown in the trust in the American political and governmental system. At the same time, there seems to be a growing acceptance in our society that “nice guys finish last” and that cheating is okay so long as you can win… especially in politics, but also in life in general. Ethics? What’s that? Who needs ethics?

    So, yes, HRC will probably be our next president. But, it will be an unhappy presidency with chaos reigning supreme from day one… widespread distrust… law suits… investigations… political gridlock… and more rot and corruption uncovered. Most Americans already know or suspect the truth. But, eventually and too late, the media will tire of giving cover to the ethically challenged Clinton dynasty HRC may well end up as another Nixon… ending her political career in disgrace and leaving the American culture crippled for decades.

    How’s that for making history?!!!

  5. Captain Sarcasm

    So, are you ready to admit that her conduct was criminal and that the FBI failed to recommend charges despite clear cause to do so?

    • No.

      1. If she was and is as stupid as the notes suggest (in the most generous interpretation of them), then the call was exactly correct. To be criminal, the individul has to have the ability to know what she is doing breaks the law.

      2. I’m not admitting anything. That suggests that my analysis isn’t sincere or is biased in some way. Don’t use the word again.

      3. Republican seeking an indictment to get them out of their own dilemma, caused by pure stupidity and not knowing the bottom feeders of their own constituency, is nasty and cowardly.

      4. Elections should be settled by votes, not indictments. Facts are facts, deeds are deeds, lies are lies, and people should react to them the same way regardless of what happens as a result of them.

      5. Democrats in Wisconsin and Florida have already tried to knock off Republican governors using charges leveled by a politically motivated AGs. It’s different, but the public can’t understand the difference, especially since the corrupted Hillary camp keeps calling this episode politically motivated. Until or unless the calls to charge become bipartisan, an indictment will do real harm to the nation and the system. Hillary’s machinations can be prevented easily: stop giving her power, and stop rationalizing her lies.

      • Captain Sarcasm

        If she was and is as stupid as the notes suggest (in the most generous interpretation of them), then the call was exactly correct. To be criminal, the individul has to have the ability to know what she is doing breaks the law.

        Seriously? To start with, for this to be the case you have to believe what she says, and I’m moderately certain that can’t be the case. Furthermore, you think that at no step in the prolonged process, from “I thought the “C” was a way to alphabetize the emails” and “I didn’t know drone-strike conversations were classified” to “we got rid of a couple of the mobile devices by hitting them really hard with hammers” and “Though some we flat out don’t know where some of the other mobile devices are, and we also completely lost a laptop” she was not aware? I was sure “ignorance of the law” wasn’t an excuse, and for her to be “not guilty by reason of mental defect” she has to be a) actually retarded and b) found to be so by a judge and/or jury, which I thought required a trial.

        Republican seeking an indictment

        I haven’t been a Republican in over a decade, and *I* would like to see her indicted because she broke the freaking law. I thought we held people to the same standard, not permissive anarchy for our political betters.

        Elections should be settled by votes, not indictments.

        And if, prior to their campaign, a candidate should blatantly violate the law, they should be prosecuted. “Running for President” wasn’t a valid defense to any criminal conduct, the last time I checked.

        Until or unless the calls to charge become bipartisan, an indictment will do real harm to the nation and the system. Hillary’s machinations can be prevented easily: stop giving her power, and stop rationalizing her lies

        This is blatantly an unethical rationalization for not charging her – because it would look bad, it shouldn’t be done.

        She violated not merely the spirit of the law, but the plain text of the law. If she’s insane or mentally defective and shouldn’t be considered guilty, that’s fine but it requires a court to do so.

        • You have no idea whether she is lying about THIS. Her conduct was unbelievably stupid, and getting caught was likely if she understood what she was doing. The degree of cluelessness, in that context, is credible, unless yoiu think Clinton was trying to expose classified information to discovery. Do you? If so, that’s proof of irrational Hillary paranoia.

          Yes, the standards applied before indicting someone where the mere fact of indictment itself operates as a punishment and has massive and unpredictable consequences far beyond the indictment itself are different from the standards used when indicting Joe Blow. It isn’t hard to fathom. This is why Nixon’s pardon was essential and right. Prosecutors have to consider factors other than just the facts of the alleged crime.

          Moreover, the FBI and Justice department can and should consider whether the charges can be proven in court and whether any jury would convict her. Otherwise, it’s a show trial, and an absurdly destructive and expensive one. On that basis, I might not indict her either. There is zero chance that she would be convicted, especially with the “I was hit on the head” defense in her pocket, poor thing.

          • Dwayne N. Zechman

            “…unless you think Clinton was trying to expose classified information to discovery. Do you?”

            No, I don’t think she was trying to expose classified information to discovery. I do think she was deliberately side-stepping the standard procedures for keeping data secure for her own convenience and to circumvent Freedom Of Information Act requirements.

            Those are just as prosecutable as trying to expose the information to unauthorized parties (and very VERY likely resulted in such exposure).

            –Dwayne

            • That’s not the law, Dwayne. Circumventing FOIA is a legal maneuver, and to mishandle classified information you need to 1) know its classified and 2) know you’re mishandling it. She should have known she was doing that, but her statements indicate she didn’t. There are notes in the FBI materials about her falling for phishing schemes. To be grossly negligent, the prosecutor standard absent mens rea, she had to know what she was risking. I’m not at all sure she did…hence “extremely careless.”

              The better case is that she obstructed justice in her cover-up. I’d indict her for that.

  6. fattymoon

    Again I say Hillary will be indicted. Assange is out for blood. October surprise, anyone?

  7. I just read the Deposition of Brian Pagliano – (her internet,computer guy)same thing. Not ONE question was answered without the self-incrimination statement. Even the first question “Where do you work” was answered with that statement.

  8. Other Bill

    “The better case is that she obstructed justice in her cover-up. I’d indict her for that.”

    Good.

    How is it we are always told how brilliant HRC is, Wellesley valedictorian, Yale Law School grad, wife of the first smartest guy in the room, but she gets away with playing dumb during an FBI questioning?

    I still think Comey didn’t want to decide a presidential election. I wish he’d just said that and not come up with such a tortured and torturing rationalization. Alternatively, why didn’t he just issue a press release saying “Our investigation is complete and we are not recommending any further action.”

    • Opinion is split across the net whether Hillary lied, or admitted ignorance and incompetence. I really think it was the latter. Oh, she lied about having “one device” (defense: “I meant one KIND of device when I said that.”) and about Colin Powell and other things, but did she really understand the risks of what she was doing? The woman lost a laptop with State secrets on it! How absurdly careless and clueless do you have to be to do that?

      That’s bad enough: she was a First Lady, worked on intelligence matters in the Senate, and never figured out what was classified information? And this woman is being called qualified…indeed, unusually qualified. If Trump and the GOP weren’t so stupid and inept, they could crush her with this.

  9. Other Bill

    I’m also having a hard time reconciling most of this post with the headline for the immediately preceding one. She lies like a rug but it can’t be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt?

    • Right. Because its very hard to prove what people are thinking. Because just because some is a liar doesn’t mean any particular statement is a lie, without more. Because the history of lying—most Clinton lies are careful deceit where the lies can be spun—would not overcome the jury’s natural and predictable reluctance to put a grandmother who was a First Lady and Senator in jail, no matter how guilty she might be under the law.

      • Other Bill

        If my wife lost her IBM work laptop, I doubt her being a grand mother would keep her from being fired. Very annoying the Clintons seem to inhabit a consequence free parallel universe.

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