Rome wasn’t built in a day, but some marvelous work was done posthaste. Only 10 years was required to build the Colosseum, and Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in four. Vision and ambition can defy the ticking of the clock and the passage of the years. But despite the advantage of technology that moves at the speed of light, the State Department says it needs 75 years to produce documents that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides consigned to what she thought would be the oblivion of a private Internet server.
Hillary’s becoming the first woman presidential nominee has not freed her from the heavy baggage she has been dragging behind her for years. The electronic messages she stored on her personal server during four years in Foggy Bottom are still the subject of scrutiny. In addition to an FBI investigation into her reckless mishandling of the nation’s most precious secrets, the Republican National Committee has filed requests for the emails under the Freedom of Information Act.
Mark Toner, the State Department spokesman, told reporters the other day that by his reckoning the search for the documents might require 75 years. “That’s not an outlandish estimation, believe it or not.”
Actually, it is an outlandish estimate, and we accept Mr. Toner’s invitation to not believe it. What’s outlandish is the State Department’s attempt to keep the documents out of public view. It’s of a piece with the skulduggery the Obama administration has been practicing for nearly eight years. First there was Operation Fast and Furious, in which the Justice Department, under Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, got one of its own killed in a cockamamie scheme to push weapons to Mexican drug dealers. Next came the Internal Revenue Service scheme to target Tea Party groups for harassment to sideline them during President Obama’s re-election campaign. Records that Congress sought in its investigation were destroyed.
But none of this quite matches the audacity of Hillary Clinton’s decision to send four years’ of official communications to her private email server, where she thought they would be safe from prying eyes. Among Democrats, for whom ethics seem to be optional, she’s getting away with it, confirming their belief that she’s in a class by herself. The State Department is thus in no hurry to produce documents that could sink her presidential ambitions.
The great civilizations of the past had no tolerance for such delay. In addition to the glory that decorates Rome, the Egyptians erected the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in a decade or two 46 centuries ago. World War II was fought by the Allies to successful conclusion in six years. When the United States set its sights on the moon, an American stepped out there in eight years.
When he waves goodbye from the steps of Marine One, Barack Obama can boast that it took him only eight years to “fundamentally transform America.” When they want to, humans can accomplish much in a short time. The notion that the grunions at the State Department need 75 years to locate a batch of emails is absurd. If she becomes president in November, Hillary can order them found and secured, perhaps to seal her server and the emails into a concrete lockbox and put aboard a destroyer to take them to the Mariana Trench, where they can be thrown overboard to sink to a depth of seven miles. She has a personal server for such things.