Have you just heard bits and pieces of the email scandal? Read on and we will bring you up to speed on this major event.
Hillary Clinton is most certainly a seasoned politician, and as the eyes of the United States electorate are focused on the front runner of the Democratic race, the ensuing e-mail scandal has dented a hole in her campaign. It represents a classic example of having a chip on one’s shoulder in regards to the public’s perception of Clinton, and it is often these problems that can severely discredit a politician’s candidacy. Reputation reigns supreme in today’s contemporary political climate, and it is crucial that a public official must be in clear standing before a presidential run. As the Secretary of State for four years under the Obama administration, it is expected that the holder of such a position has to follow the rules and regulations of transparent communication, yet Hillary Clinton has been involved in a scandal that blatantly disregarded the moral duties of government. In what has become a uniquely 21st century scandal, it is important to understand not only the seriousness of Clinton’s actions, but also her attempted deviations to avoid the issue at hand.
The stated allegations are very fresh in the minds of the American electorate, as this scandal failed to come to light until March 2015. Like most government incumbents, guidelines dictate that all relevant e-mails should be sent and received on a state.gov account, yet Clinton exclusively relied on her own private e-mail address that was on her own personal server situated in her New York residence. Interestingly, the actions of Clinton were under the radar for a long time, but these allegations were brought to the surface when investigators from Congress had submitted a request for documents only to realize that it failed to turn up any e-mails either received or sent-by the former Secretary of State. This aroused the suspicions of the State Department, and they requested the hidden messages that were kept on Clinton’s private server, but this is when the story takes a rather deviant turn.
Clinton did eventually cave in to the request, having submitted 30,490 messages to the State Department that were considered to be relevant to her period as Secretary of State, yet the 31,830 e-mails that she had classified as irrelevant to the investigation were permanently deleted, and her private server was then cleansed of any personal information. In order to fully understand the scandal, we first must tackle the motive of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private server for governmental work. According to Hillary herself, she deemed the use of an unofficial server as accessible, citing the convenience of having a home-based server, and not having to carry two separate phones for business and leisure as her government BlackBerry is forbidden to use multiple email addresses at the same time. The believability of Clinton’s claims have been put into disrepute, as documents showed in April 2015 that she actively carried an array of electronic devices used for communications, including the obligatory BlackBerry, as well as an IPad, an IPad mini and an IPhone, debunking the perceived convenience of having only a singular e-mail address. Regardless of the controversy, Clinton did not break the law, yet she had broken a moral code of transparency that the American public would expect to be upheld, yet if the current incumbent John Kerry had tried to set up a private server for official use, he would fall foul of the law. An updated statute decreed that all departmental employees should transfer their private e-mails to a governmental server within three weeks, and this law was not in place during Hillary Clinton’s tenure, violating a discouraged practice. A large part of this controversy has a tactical element in it as well, as it can be argued that Clinton deliberately used her private server to bypass the transparency of a governmental account and preside over controlling what kind of messages should stay in her account, and what shouldn’t.
The duty of the federal government in supplying an e-mail account is largely administrative in order to achieve an accurate account of an event, and as Clinton had utilized only one account, the government was unable to keep tracks of her communications, possibly hindering a record of events should they need to be referred to. Moreover, the fact that Clinton has partially submitted her emails to the State Department is a selective tactic at best, as she was able to cherry-pick the messages deemed safe to reveal, whilst the undesirable ones were deleted, bringing the whole process into disrepute. A number of these missing e-mails were of vital importance, concerning the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, sent by her former aide Sidney Blumenthal. The mere existence of these sensitive e-mails had been confirmed through the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi incident, but the content of the messages had been permanently deleted.
Regardless of Clinton’s integrity, she had claimed not to have “e-mailed any classified material”, yet after an investigation of the messages willingly submitted by Hillary, some did have classified information in them. Political opponents have capitalized on her perceived dishonesty, and Clinton has made this clear, by claiming that she is a victim of a “partisanization” that seeks to discredit her. This claim can be deemed as dubious, as the justice department that is investigating the matter is under a Democrat administration, without any degree of official Republican interference. The real political implications of this matter are not conclusive, but the electorate’s trust in Clinton has been severely dented. Politicians seek to connect themselves as trustworthy, honest and integral, but question-dodging and secretiveness are two traits that can overshadow an electoral run, potentially doing a great deal of harm to the prospects of a successful campaign. Opponents of Hillary have accused her of trying to drop the issue, and this is because she is not giving a clear or sufficient answer to the allegations made upon her. Many of her Democrat contemporaries are keen to see the back of the issue, with fellow candidate Bernie Sanders claiming that he is “sick and tired of hearing about Hillary’s damn emails” in a chaired debate last month, but this degree of tolerance cannot be expected should Clinton be involved in a head-to-head debate against an Republican challenger.