Just in case your sensibilities haven’t been offended enough, the FBI wants you to know that your interest in Hillary Clinton’s emails is less important than protecting her privacy. Therefore, the FBI says it will not be releasing any more information on the subject. In effect, the FBI is telling you to go to hell and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
In March 2016, Ty Clevenger, a New York City lawyer sought government correspondence on the subject of Clinton’s emails under the Freedom of Information Act. Earlier this month, the head of the FBI’s Records Management Division finally got around to answering Mr. Clevenger’s query. The FBI informed Mr.Clevenger that the Bureau has “determined you have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject.” In other words, the FBI blew off Mr. Clevenger and the rest us. And it took over a year for the FBI to do so. Perhaps, the FBI also believes that Clinton’s privacy is so important that it justifies her deletion of over 30,000 emails, which were government records.
Given its terse reply, the FBI could have answered Mr. Clevenger the same day it received his inquiry, instead it deliberately stalled over a year before offending Mr. Clevenger and we, the public, with its ridiculous self-serving answer. The FBI’s reply recalls New York City’s Tammany Hall leader, Boss Tweed, who famously told pain-in-the-ass citizens, who dared question him about blatant public corruption, “What are you going to do about it?”
By stonewalling public advocates seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI adds insult to injury. Its responses, or lack thereof, to FOIA requests lend credence to accusations that the Bureau has been complicit in a massive and ongoing cover-up. The Clinton email scandal and its clumsy cover-up by the Obama Justice Department includes bit-bleached emails, hammered computer storage devices, a sneaky meeting between an Attorney General and a former president whose wife happened to be the Democratic Party presidential candidate and the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, an endorsement of said candidate a couple of days later by a sitting president after a softball interview between FBI agents and Hillary Clinton, and then the exoneration of Hillary Clinton a few days later by a now-disgraced FBI Director. Add to this the failure of the Department of Justice to convene a grand jury in the Clinton case, FBI interviews with numerous Clinton colleagues who were given immunity beforehand, the glacial release of thousands of redacted emails by the Obama State Department, and the failure to recover over 30,000 deleted emails from a number of backup servers. Even the village idiot could see that the FBI investigation was anything but a search for the truth. It was a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would never be charged with anything. She publicly scoffed at the notion that she had done anything wrong, when the evidence in the public domain said otherwise. She even laughed off the FBI’s investigation characterizing it as a “security review,” as though she knew the fix was in.
Any criminal will tell you that his or her right to privacy outweighs the public’s right to know. In most instances, where evidence is overwhelming, law enforcement authorities are proud of how well they did their job and are anxious for the public to know that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. But the opposite is true in the Clinton case, where there is abundant evidence that crimes were committed. By protecting Clinton and taking its sweet time to respond to legitimate requests for information, the FBI appears to be protecting itself more than anything else.
When one looks at the totality of the Clinton email scandal, it appears to be a cover-up of a cover-up. First, Clinton destroyed her emails when she should have preserved them. Then the Department of Justice and the FBI made sure she wasn’t held to account. Now FBI leaders are making sure they will never be held to account, if they can help it. It’s like one those Russian Babushka nesting dolls. You remove one of the dolls and another one appears underneath it. By throwing sand in the public’s face, the FBI is attempting, in a ham-handed way, to put distance between itself and the underlying crime. But the FBI’s amateurish cover-up of a cover-up only amplifies the original crime. The FBI’s ludicrous reply to Mr. Clevenger attracts even more attention to the Clinton scandal from Main Street Americans, who are outraged that powerful politicians are above the law. Nobody likes to be played for a fool.
For the time being, the FBI has the upper hand and appears untouchable. After all, how does one force the premier law enforcement agency in the land, if not the world, to come clean? It would be helpful if we had more investigative journalists doing their jobs so that public pressure can be brought to bear on corrupt public officials and bureaucrats. Particularly frustrating is the fact that a government agency such as the FBI is allowed to stiff-arm the public, independent of which political party holds high office. The deep state appears to rule the roost.
We can only hope that sunlight filters its way into the dark recesses of government revealing the depth and scope of one of the biggest cover-ups in U.S. history.
Until then: There’s nothing here to see. Just keep moving along.
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