Opinion: No Transparency in a Clintonian world

Jennifer Hutchinson

Jennifer Hutchinson

An unfortunate truth is that Americans do not trust their government. I often hear people say that they have given up on politics because everyone involved is a liar, and that the idea of transparency is nothing but a sham. I can’t help but point to the actions of those like Hillary Clinton for igniting this kind of feeling throughout the country. Last week, reports that Clinton had been using a private email server while serving as Secretary of State sparked sharp criticism of the potential presidential candidate and prompted questions of what she may be trying to hide. 

While it is still being determined if Clinton actually broke any laws, there are many questions being raised about the appropriateness and intent of her actions. According to the Washington Post, President Obama didn’t sign a law requiring the archiving of officials’ emails, including those on private accounts, until 2014, after Clinton was no longer Secretary of State. However, according to the White House, officials were still responsible for making sure their emails were preserved. Although, I wouldn’t trust the President much on this matter, considering he said he didn’t hear about it until it was reported in the news. I’m going to chalk that one up to either lying or incompetency. 

With all of the new information coming out, I am a bit taken aback to hear people ask, what’s the big deal? For starters, a matter of security was at stake. Not using an official government email left vital information vulnerable to hackers or spies, since Clinton’s personal email did not have the same protection as federal accounts. In addition, having a private email server registered to her home address gave Clinton and her aides more control over her email records. 

As the Washington Post stated, “A private account could have allowed her to withhold or destroy messages that she’s legally required to turn over for congressional investigations or lawsuits or to make available to the public, the press and historians under open-records law.”

This is particularly important in relevance to the current Benghazi investigation that is continuing against Clinton, as well as her interaction with foreign donors that has come under scrutiny. There’s also an overwhelming sense of hypocrisy in all of this. 

One, while Clinton was still Secretary of State, she advised all of her staff to use federal email accounts in order to keep their information safe. 

Two, when a similar situation arose with the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration, he was criticized and ultimately pushed out of his post in part for using a personal email address “for official government business, including Sensitive But Unclassified information,” as reported by CNN. 

However the thing I find most shocking, is that the people that have been put in charge of the investigation are in fact the ones who are under investigation. Yes, Clinton has turned over 55,000 emails. However, those emails are the ones that she and her staff have hand-picked and consider susceptible to review, and how do we even know if there aren’t any other emails? We have no idea how many emails she and her staff have already deleted, and how many matters have been dealt with behind closed doors.

With all of that being said, I think it is a very big deal. I have said that as time comes closer to 2016, Hillary Clinton will show her true colors, and I think she has done just that.

Contact Jennifer Hutchinson at [email protected].