There was hope among supporters of Hillary Clinton that after she spent 11 hours batting away questions in a marathon House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing last month, the controversy over her use of a private email server while Secretary of State might subside. However, recent revelations suggest that the controversy isn’t going anywhere.
Last week, the conservative Washington Free Beacon published a copy of the non-disclosure agreement Clinton signed when she took over the State Department, which outlined the dangers of “unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention or negligent handling” of classified information. The document also made clear that some violations of the agreement could lead to criminal prosecution.
Clinton declined to use a secure State Department email address during her four years at the department, opting instead for an email account run through a server in her home in New York. She has been accused of improperly sending and receiving classified information on the account – something she denies doing.
The non-disclosure agreement likely won’t resonate with the general public, if only because it seems redundant to make the nation’s top diplomat sign a paper promising to keep the country’s secrets. However, among Clinton’s most dedicated opponents on the right, the document will be held up as further proof that she is getting kid glove treatment from the mainstream media and law enforcement.
They will point to retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who was forced to step down from his position as head of the Central Intelligence Agency and faced criminal charges after he shared classified information with a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Clinton, of course, has not been shown to have actively shared classified data with anyone ineligible to see it, but the comparisons to Petraeus are inevitable.
Unfortunately for Clinton, she will not be able to point to all of the attention surrounding her emails as a bee in the bonnet of the far right. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a report in Politico Tuesday morning, is stepping up its investigation of Clinton’s email system and the way she and her top aides communicated with each other.
While Clinton’s top opponent for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, may have articulated the feelings of many in the party when he said during a debate, “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” he clearly wasn’t channeling the members of the GOP. If Clinton wins her party’s nomination and the FBI investigation continues into the general election season next year, we can count on hearing about the damn emails for a long, long time.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: