Monday, June 18 , 2018, 4:54 am | Fair 51º


Ron Fink: Hillary Clinton, Benghazi and the Scandal That Just Won’t Go Away

As much as Hillary Clinton, self-annotated heir to the presidential throne, would like to see it happen, her lying ways just can’t save her reputation.

During her tenure as the secretary of state, she opted to use more than one private email account to conduct sensitive State Department business — a practice that leaves these communications vulnerable to hacking by foreign adversaries. Of course, she initially denied it and even signed on to a policy directive of the Obama administration that forbade the use of private emails to conduct government business.

But the Clintons have a well-established track record of circumventing the rules when it doesn’t fit their agenda. In this case, many believe that she and her advisers didn’t want their conversations subject to freedom of access requests by an inquiring press.

Well, along came the attack on one of her embassies in Benghazi, Libya, that killed her ambassador and three of his security team. The success of this attack has been blamed on a failure of the State Department at many levels to acknowledge the threat and provide adequate security measures to protect an embassy of the United States.

Since Clinton was in charge at State during the attack, Congress wants to know what she knew, when she knew it and what she did about it. They need her to be truthful, and that’s a serious challenge for candidate Clinton.

So, they asked the folks over at State to provide all of her communications on this matter, and that’s when they found out that she was exclusively using her private email server for official communications.

The White House immediately denied any knowledge that this was happening, but since then many revelations have come to light. Her initial release of emails, screened and apparently edited by her legal team, were supposed to be the total and most complete response to the congressional inquiry — but wait, there’s more.

First we found out that neither Clinton nor State had provided all of the information that was requested and that senior White House staffers, including President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, were asking for and using her private email address so that they could communicate with her.

Then we found out that contrary to the president’s personal denial of a request to employ one of her longtime political advisers, she employed him anyway through a nonprofit she and husband Bill had established so he could provide her with an unsubstantiated and, as we have now found out, seriously flawed analysis of conditions on the ground in Libya.

Fast forward to the end of June 2015, and suddenly her teams of obfuscators dump thousands of new pages of emails. Did they do it voluntarily? Not really. They only did it because a careful congressional review of the previous emails uncovered addresses to several other accounts.

When this story first broke, I found it hard to believe that Clinton didn’t discuss classified information on her private server; after all, running the State Department requires some level of secrecy. Apparently I was right, since just recently the Obama administration withheld a number of her emails because they contained sensitive (classified) information. I am sure it couldn’t have been because the information might be politically embarrassing to the president or his senior staff — or would it?

Will this ever end? Not likely because this onion has so many layers that we may never find out the truth about anything Clinton did while in office. Imagine how it would be if she were president and in total control of all information being released about her sneaky way of doing business?

Democrats must be worried because now they are trying to trot out Vice President Joe Biden to run against her. Biden is from the old school and is a likeable fellow, but he doesn’t instill confidence as a presidential candidate. But he may be the only one left on the bench who has enough clout to mount a credible challenge to the Clinton machine.

Clinton has employed some of the most savage political hitmen available to target her opponents. Old Joe and everyone else better watch out because if they view him as a threat, you can expect them to attack vigorously and dredge up his off-the-cuff comments on race, women, disabled folks — well, the list goes on because to be truthful, Biden has said a lot of stupid things during his time on Capitol Hill.

But back to Clinton. She seems disengaged, probably because she has no serious competition among Democrats and her campaign team seems to have lost its edge from her husband’s time in office. Back then, they would have completely shut down any criticism of her by now. Either through intimidation, lying about the accusers, defaming critics or just paying people off, the critics would have disappeared from view.

Not this time. This scandal is swirling around her like a swarm of gnats. Every time she tries to shoo a gnat away, it comes back with reinforcements to continue harassing the queen of Democrats.

Since she appears to be unable to tell the truth about anything, this scandal isn’t going away anytime soon.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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