As the Battle of New York looms, an underground shadow war flirts with High Noon. After nearly one year, the FBI has finally investigated the treasure trove contained in Hillary Clinton’s subterranean private email server. The FBI has refused to release any records. Remember, this is a criminal investigation.
Former State Department IT official Bryan Pagliano – who essentially set up Clinton’s personal server – was granted immunity in exchange for cooperating with the FBI’s investigation. A whodunit applies on whether Pagliano was told this server might be the conduit of secret State Department communications as well as top secret National Security issues.
The timeline of the Clinton subterranean homesick server blues does raise eyebrows. The story first broke in March 2013, when Romanian hacker “Guccifer” leaked four intercepted Sidney Blumenthal e-mails – related to Libya and Benghazi – to selected global media outlets.
Only RT – routinely denounced in the US as a Kremlin propaganda arm – published them at the time. It took the New York Times a hefty two years to report that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, used a private email account.
Now Forbes comes out all guns blazing:
“The Kremlin’s cyber warfare army has had ample opportunity to steal Clinton’s entire e-mail cache (including 31,830 “private” e-mails). Such hacking would likely have taken place before the Kremlin’s propaganda arm, RT (Russia Today), published Sidney Blumenthal’s e-mails to Clinton on March 20, 2013, presumably sending out alarms at that late date to Clinton to secure her private server. The Clinton cache of e-mail correspondence in the hands of the Kremlin or other hostile intelligence agencies could represent one of America’s greatest intelligence disasters, giving Vladimir Putin the opportunity to determine the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election or, barring that, to cast a cloud over a Clinton presidency.”
Away from Putin now cast as The Great Elector, the crucial player is Pagliano. This is entering Grand Jury investigation territory. The Department of Justice (DoJ) – to which the FBI is subordinated – cannot grant immunity; only federal judges can, when formally requested by a DoJ prosecutor. And that, in itself, is a big deal.
The FBI team, led by Director James Comey, together with DoJ prosecutors, is now on overdrive. There will be interviews ahead. Possibly in a matter of days or weeks. And one of them will feature Comey talking to Hillary Clinton in person.
There will be, essentially, two answers to the key question. Either Hillary Clinton ignored the rules of the secrecy game. Or she willfully breached the rules. The undisputed top reason for the existence of the subterranean private server was for Hillary Clinton to keep her emails, well, secret, and thus not subjected to freedom of information laws.
Clinton even had a request for a government Blackberry denied by the NSA in 2009. Yet immediately afterwards she was busy on a Blackberry using private email accounts to contact State Department staff. Legitimate questions in this case include whether the subterranean server was protected against hacking. And whether State Department information morphed into Clinton Foundation information.
The Queen of Libya
If we follow journalism’s golden rule, widely praised by Alex Cockburn, of never trusting anything unless it’s officially denied, President Obama may have – inadvertently – placed Clinton in a world of grief. The President “guaranteed” on Fox News that there will be “no political influence” from the White House.
At the same time, what he said could be legitimately deconstructed as a sort of message to both the FBI and the DoJ.; “She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.” Nothing “intentional” then; it was just “carelessness”.
After the upcoming interviews, Comey will have to make his recommendation to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Exoneration or indictment?
Now picture both Comey and Lynch confronted with the – highly politicized – presidential message. Obama insisted it was “carelessness”. Let’s assume they opt for exoneration. Public perception that Comey and Lynch must have been influenced by the presidential message will inevitably fall like a ton of – legal – bricks.
This might explain Comey’s recent acknowledgment that the investigation could linger into the fall.
Well, at least Hillary Clinton would have had the benefit of evidence being duly examined. In Wild West Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff still risks being impeached without any evidence examined that would qualify as a “crime of responsibility”.
So “careless” Hillary Clinton may have done some funny stuff with her secret emails and still may get away with it. Dilma, instead, still risks getting the boot on top of initially being a target of NSA espionage, as revealed by WikiLeaks.
President Obama has also admitted on the record that the US-led NATO war on Libya in 2011 was “probably” his biggest mistake. Not the war itself; that “was the right thing to do.” But “probably failing to plan for the day after.”
True to Queen of Chaos form, Hillary was the Queen of Libya. She also approved huge weapons deals that benefited proverbially lavish GCC petrodollar sponsors of the Clinton Foundation – side by side with Bill Clinton collecting massive fees for speeches to House of Saud cronies.
As much as Clinton refused to release the amount of fees paid for her Wall Street speeches when she could have easily done it, all sorts of pesky questions related to the Clinton Foundation persist. In parallel, public opinion is required to believe that oil and gas money makes up just an infinitesimal part of her fundraising universe.
Yet all this pales compared to Clinton as War Goddess. From Asia to Latin America, her record – including these highlights – has been scrutinized to oblivion; support for the contras in Nicaragua; support for NATO’s bombing of the former Yugoslavia; support for the 2003 Shock and Awe invasion and destruction of Iraq; support for Operation Enduring Freedom forever in AfPak; then, as Secretary of State, “her” war of turning Libya into a militia hell; the 2009 military coup in Honduras; and finally, support for regime change in Syria via Salafi-jihadis.
All this, predictably, translates into her full support by neocon stalwart Robert Kagan. Plus Pentagon insiders working overtime to save her reputation as if she was one of their own. The Deep State, anyway, knows; the Queen of Chaos is the ultimate neocon.
Yet it ain’t over till the FBI man calls.