Mountain of Paper!You’re aware of how Hillary evaded the required record-keeping and compromised national security by maintaining her private email server for State Department business. The Washington Post, not exactly a bulwark of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™, awarded Hillary’s defenders with three Pinocchios in their analysis, “The misleading Democratic spin on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails”.

But there’s one nasty detail that isn’t widely appreciated, and it exemplifies Hillary’s duplicity. When pressed for the missing documents, she took the email archives that any normal person would have delivered on a portable USB drive and instead printed out 50,000 (some reports say 55,000) pages of paper.

Handing over boxes of paper serves no purpose other than to render the text relatively inaccessible and worthless, unless the receiver makes a colossal effort to convert the paper back to its electronic form.

From the New York Times (another Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™ non-member), “Hillary Clinton Asks State Department to Vet Emails for Release”. The article begins with some background.

As State Department lawyers sifted last summer through a new batch of documents related to the Benghazi attacks, they repeatedly saw something that caught their attention: emails sent to and from a personal account for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The lawyers, according to current and former State Department officials, were working to respond to a request from a specially appointed House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Libya. But they noticed that among the 15,000 documents they examined, there were no emails to or from an official departmental account for Mrs. Clinton.

…but here’s the meat:

In October, the State Department sent a letter to Mrs. Clinton and all former secretaries of state back to Madeleine K. Albright, seeking emails and other documents in their possession that related to their government work.

Finally, in December, dozens of boxes filled with 50,000 pages of printed emails from Mrs. Clinton’s personal account were delivered to the State Department. Those documents were then examined by department lawyers, who found roughly 900 pages pertaining to the Benghazi attacks.

It’s a typical sleazy lawyer trick, to bury the other guy in paperwork. But the whole sordid mess flew under the radar until one of the good guys was affected…

Three weeks ago, the State Department handed over the Benghazi emails to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina.

And Hillary’s antics finally got some attention. Rep. Gowdy noted that, 55,000 pages notwithstanding, there were still “huge gaps” in the record (all they have is what Hillary gave them; there’s no way to check how incomplete this record is).

I’m flashing to those various news reports one hears now and again about someone who pays their tax bill in pennies. For example

Whatever prompted Julann Roe to pay her property tax bill in $1 bills and pennies — whether a political protest or a statement about taxes in general — wasn’t made clear Monday morning.

The 52-year-old simply strode into the Dade City tax office and plopped two duffel bags packed with cash onto the counter. She pulled more cash from a handbag and declared, “I want to pay my tax bill.”

With that, five county staffers spent the next hour counting money — $11,075.44. That’s after a discount for paying ahead of the March 31 deadline.

This is what you do for only two reasons, and that’s to thwart the other guy and make life miserable for him. Except a better analogy for what Hillary did would be to pay a million-dollar invoice in one-dollar bills delivered in a huge barrel, and and then require the receiver to manually sort the bills in order of descending serial numbers. And some of the bills may be missing, and there’s no way to know it.

Is there any possible excuse for how Hillary has handled this? I’d love to hear it.

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13 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Shifra says:

    Hillary lied, trees died…

  2. Alain41 says:

    I believe that FOIA law requires that you turn over paper not electronic copy. Congressional request is not a public FOIA request but likely follow the same procedure.

    • Maynard says:

      I admit to a lack of specific expertise, but my general understanding is that laws have been updated as the world has gone digital. The Wiki article on FOIA has several references to electronic access. Example:

      The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996

      The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA) stated that all agencies are required by statute to make certain types of records, created by the agency on or after November 1, 1996, available electronically. Agencies must also provide electronic reading rooms for citizens to use to have access to records. Given the large volume of records and limited resources, the amendment also extended the agencies’ required response time to FOIA requests. Formerly, the response time was ten days and the amendment extended it to twenty business days.

      That was 1996, and there have been other subsequent updates and modernizations to the law. It would be expected that digital reporting would (like digital tax filing) by now be the norm, except in unusual cases.

      I’m not saying that Hillary’s paper mountain is unlawful, but I’d be surprised if it were required. And if she really wanted to be as open and transparent as she’d have us believe, this was not the way to go about it.

      • Alain41 says:

        Not a FOIA expert, my experience; Fed. gov’t agencies have electronic libraries containing both public and non-public documents (low sensitive info. only) publicly accessible 24/7. For example, assume one with 50 million public files and 20 million non-public files. You can search the 50mil. files to your heart’s content, but you wonder if there are any of the 20mil. non-public files that might contain good info., so you make a FOIA request. After ensuring that request is sufficiently specific, the agency will then have its employees search for agency records subject to the request. Each employee makes a determination whether records in their possesion are agency records or personal records. All agency records subject to request are forwarded to FOIA office for determination of whether they can be provided to requestor or not. (Emphasis; you do not foward records that are personal and you are the determiner of that). After its review determination, FOIA office will provide to requestor the electronic library access no. of each public document and a paper copy of each non-public document. A non-public document provided under FOIA does not change it to public. (It can be funny pathetic looking at FOIA requests that say, give me what you provided to Reuters or AP or …). So in either case, you do not get an electronic file. You get a list of access nos. for public documents or paper copy of non-public documents. (Sometimes a non-public doc’t is changed to public but that’s an exception and will result in your getting the library access no.)

        Congressional requests are a little different. I assume that someone has to go through all the Hillary provided documents and place into an electronic file that Congress can have access to, but who knows how long that will take, and you’re not going to get it. Soon to come FOIA requests for those files will take forever to determine redaction, public, non-public. And then you can expect library access nos. and paper copies.

    • ashleymatt says:

      Good point, Alain, but likely another reason she never used .gov email. They set up a perfect scenario where she used private email with no accountability, no government record-keeping standards, and no access by the chain of command in the State Department. Then, when there was a FOIA request, they “obliged” by sending a mountain of unsearchable paper.

      On a minor note, this brings up an issue of discrimination. Apparently, only a chosen few had Hillary’s email. Especially in the government sector, you as an employee have a right to contact the top of the chain, since executives are often the leads on issues such as emergencies, safety policy, regulation compliance, sexual harassment, etc (albeit laughable topics under Hillary’s tenure). For example, I have the .gov/.mil email addresses of the Navy Captain in charge of my reserve unit at CENTCOM, the email of her boss who is in charge the entire division (active and reserve), and the email of the 2-Star General in charge of the entire intelligence directorate at CENTCOM. It would be a rare/extreme circumstance if I ever had to use those channels, but as an employee, I reserve that right. In fact, at “all-hands” meetings, these leaders will often remind us not to hesitate to utilize those channels in case of emergency. Those at State, however, were SOL except for Queen Hillary’s inner circle. In a sane world, there would be workplace discrimination lawsuits flying.

  3. Pat_S says:

    The State Dept. warns release could take months because the emails have to be gone over according to procedure (irony noted) and necessary redactions made. Why, I wonder, since Hillary says she never emailed about classified material.

  4. strider says:

    Electronic versions of actual relevant emails were probably disappeared long ago and this ridiculous paper mountain could be the product of an email synthesizer.

    • Maynard says:

      That’s an interesting hypothesis. Something like a postmodern thesis generator. (Click that link to generate a fresh new thesis, complete with footnotes. This program writes a more sensible essay than most grad students. Hey, Tammy, try turning one of these in for class!)

  5. LJZumpano says:

    How long does it take to print out 50,000 emails? Who did the actual printing, and how much did they get paid?

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