- - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There’s a new chapter in the familiar Clinton dodge, this one written by Hillary. On Monday The New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton stubbornly refused to use a government email account during her tenure as secretary of state, choosing instead a private account to better hide her emails. This likely violates the U.S. Records Act, and we’ve seen this kind of Clinton subterfuge before.

The Associated Press reports that Mrs. Clinton’s private email server is registered to one Eric Hoteham, a name connected to presidentclinton.com and wjcoffice.com, an address no longer in use. Bill Clinton (aka wjc) used this address when he was in the White House. Fast forward 14 years, over to Benghazi and through the woods, and the email address for Mr. Hoteham is traced to the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, New York.

With the assistance of technology, Mrs. Clinton kept all manner of emails under wraps, including those related to the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. The New York Times reports that in 2012 congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents, but did not get all of them. Last month, the House committee investigating Benghazi obtained 300 of her emails relating to the attacks. Mrs. Clinton had earlier released about 50,000 pages of government related emails that had been stored in her private account.

The London Daily Mail reports that at an Emily’s List gala Tuesday, when reporters asked questions about her extensive use of a personal email address during her four years in Foggy Bottom, Mrs. Clinton changed the subject. Channeling happier thoughts and chortling to the audience of adoring female fans, she asked: “Don’t you want to see a woman president?”

This answer recalls another Clinton question time during the investigation into the killing of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, when Mrs. Clinton was asked pertinent but annoying questions: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the special House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, says the committee learned about Mrs. Clinton’s private email account last summer. Private email accounts were used exclusively and she used more than one. The Clinton spin machine is spinning faster than a centrifuge in Tehran as her aides continue to push the line that her use of a private email account or accounts was not so unusual. They point out that former Secretary of State Colin Powell used one, but that ignores the fact that that was before current regulations prohibited them.

Laura Diachenko, a spokesman for the National Archives and Records, told The New York Times that since 2009 “agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.”

Hillary is not likely to get the passes from nosy reporters that Bill did. These are different times, with different rules for a different ball game. There’s precedents for Clinton stains and surprises that Hillary may find do, at this point, make a difference.

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