As Ian reports, it has now come to light that Hillary Clinton attempted to destroy about 30 emails related to the 2012 Benghazi massacre. They were recovered by the FBI, notwithstanding the use by Mrs. “Like With a Cloth or Something” of an advanced software program – “BleachBit” – in a willful effort to erase the contents of her servers so thoroughly that no one would be able to recover her emails (many of which were government records, which it is a felony to horde and destroy).
Obviously, these emails were kept from the congressional committees that investigated the Benghazi massacre. Mrs. Clinton was also clearly trying to shield them from discovery by defense lawyers in the prosecution of the lone terrorist the Obama administration has thus far charged (in connection with an attack that involved scores of jihadists whom Obama promised to “bring to justice”).
The depth of Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct regarding the unlawful email system and the obstruction of investigations into a terrorist attack in which four Americans were killed is breathtaking – as is the media’s indifference to it. As I’ve repeatedly argued, Clinton ought to be impeached. How much more contempt for Congress does she need to exhibit before some dim memory of self-respect moves lawmakers to take some action?
Nearly as reprehensible, however, is the Obama administration at large. Evidently, it has just today gotten around to telling a United States court that these 30 emails have never been disclosed, even though they have been sought for years, the Justice Department has known the FBI had them for months, and the State Department, too, has to have known they were in the possession of the administration as it litigated Freedom of Information Act claims yet said nothing.
Just as astounding: In making their grudging disclosure today, administration lawyers claimed that they needed another month (until the end of September) to review the emails so that classified information could be redacted before they are disclosed.
Mind you: Mrs. Clinton told us there were no government-business related emails on her servers and certainly no classified information. It turned out there were tens of thousands of government-related emails, with thousands containing classified information. Clinton lawlessly withheld these emails for years, and the executive branch has known about them for months. Indeed, the FBI director told Congress and the public that the FBI went through a painstaking process with intelligence agencies to determine which of the recovered emails had classified information in them. And yet, despite all that, the State Department has the audacity to tell a federal judge that it needs another 30 days to review less than three dozen emails?
When I was a federal prosecutor, neither I nor any of the government lawyers I worked with would have had the nerve to look a federal judge in the eye and make such a mind-blowing request. We’d have been too worried about what we’d say when the judge inevitably asked, “Why am I just hearing about this now?” – and ordered us to produce affidavits from every government official potentially involved in the delay while all these investigations and FOIA requests regarding Benghazi were underway.
The judge, in this instance, is Amit P. Mehta. Judge Mehta has stellar academic qualifications. But he is also a 45-year-old Obama appointee who has been on the bench for less than two years. This is a political case, and the most politicized administration in history has just essentially asked a judge to play ball. So far, Mehta is putting up some resistance, telling the administration it has a week to explain why the review and disclosure of so few emails should take so long. But let’s be real: a week is considerably more time than he should have given the administration to produce the long overdue emails, not to rationalize why more time is needed to produce them.
Does anybody care how outrageous this is?
A version of this piece also appeared on National Review Online.