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A Bird's Eye View of Hillary's Email Saga

Updated on October 21, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.


This is my first attempt at writing a fictional story. All my writings so far has been non-fiction on topics such as technology, travel, recipes, sports, religion and politics. Since the Clinton email investigation have concluded this past week with a non-indictment recommendation by the FBI, I felt it is time to ask a "what if" question. Remember George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life"? How the angel showed him some scenarios of "what If..."

- Jul. 2016

What if Hillary did not set up her own email Server?

Suppose it is 2009 and Mrs. Clinton was just appointed Secretary of State by the newly elected President Obama. She made the one key decision to use the email account setup by the State Department for all employees on their secured Server. What would have transpired since?

How did this one small insignificant fact change history as we know it?

Remember in the story "It's a Wonderful life", one of the incident that changed history was when George Bailey was a youth, he saved his little brother from an accidental drowning in an icy lake. His brother later grew up and became a war hero... It is said no man is an island, we all live and affect the lives around us in positive and negative ways.

Benghazi - September 11, 2012

On Sept. 11, 2012, the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Twin Towers in NYC, a mob of Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. The attack lasted 13 hours from beginning to end.

The YouTube Video

Initially, top U.S. officials and the media reported that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video. Subsequent investigations determined that there was no such protest and that the incident started as a premeditated attack that was quickly joined by rioters and looters enraged by the video.

Ambassador Susan Rice went on TV shows and blamed the video as the cause of the Benghazi attack.

Investigation by Congress...

When the story provided by the Administration didn't match with the reality of facts as reported by news reporters and officers on the ground, something is amiss.

The Congress of the US, has the responsibility to find out what really happened and what went wrong in this particular case and how to prevent this from happening in the future.

During the hearing, we would have found out what were the communications from the embassy in Libya to the Pentagon to the State Department and to the White House related to this incident. What events on the ground lead to the responses that were provided to support the ambassador under attack. What was happening at the situation room during a crisis. All the people directly involved with the incident would be brought in to testify as to their knowledge and their actions and decisions.

All this is standard procedure in getting to the bottom of any incident when the story presented to the public is different from reality.

FOIA request for Documentation

FOIA, Freedom of information Act was passed in 1966 and updated in 1977 after the Watergate scandal. It's purpose is clear. We expect transparency from our government so that our officials either elected or appointed are accountable to the people they serve. This act is to avoid long investigations where the facts are hidden from the people and politics rule over and we end up with long dragged out partisan hearings that lead to no real answers or solutions.

"What Difference at this point does it make?"

The answer is simple. The difference is whether our government acted responsibly in reacting to a terror incident that claimed the lives of Americans serving overseas.

The difference is whether we arrest some video maker and put him in jail for voicing his first Amendment right of free speech or mount an effort to root out terrorists that are threatening our embassy.

The Truth Exposed

Assuming everything worked as intended. Congress had a hearing, information was readily provided either voluntarily or through FOIA requests, and the people involved testified to facts as they knew it under oath. There would be three possibilities of outcome.

1. It was the "fog of war" that among the chaos, we lost 4 lives. Decisions made by superiors were justified and they did the best they could under the circumstances. There were some lack of preventive measures that could have helped. Going forward, we would address these shortcomings in recommendations to beef up security in embassy located in hot spots.

2. It was a deliberate attempt to spin the story to present the best possible view in an upcoming presidential election of 2012. It was clear the attack was premeditated and we were warned prior to 9/11 that something was coming and no preemptive action was taken. It was a failure of our officials to deal with a real threat. Some reprimand is called for. Possible indictment of people making false statements under oath is also a possible outcome.

3. A secret operation that went awry. This third possibility is most troubling. It reveals that our government was acting in secret to funnel weapons to the rebels trying to topple a government. These actions are illegal and not sanctions by Congress. Our country's reputation has been marred in the past by such unlawful acts.

Our country is the only super power left after the cold war. Being the world's policeman is not an easy task. We have to realize our own limitations and show restraint. The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely..."

Moral of the Story

Honesty is the best policy. As one of the 10 Commandments of the Bible, "Thou shall not lie" does make sense.

Having the history record of the past 4 years to rely on, it is clear of what we could have avoided.

  • The numerous Congressional hearings that seems to give no answers costing over 7 Million dollars.
  • The efforts of the FBI over the past year and a half trying to unravel the mystery of these emails (dozens of agents time and efforts could have been avoided)
  • FBI Director Comey could have avoided testifying before Congressional committee.
  • Precedence would not be set for miss handling of sensitive information.
  • Placing sensitive documents in unsecured location with possibility of being hacked by foreign characters.

Meanwhile, what would have happened.

  • Bengazhi victim's family would have closure.
  • Our government works better with FOIA intact as designed.
  • 2016 election cycle saved from all this unnecessary distraction. It would have been better for Mrs. Clinton to focus on issues without this hanging over her head.


It is worthwhile to note that there was no "vast right wing" conspiracy to bring down the Clintons as claimed in this case. The events that unfolded was a direct result of Mrs. Clinton's decision to set up her own email server.

To the FBI Director Comey, when investigating someone, one often look into their history and background to seek out a pattern of behavior. In Mrs. Clinton's case there is a long history of scandals going back to the early 1990s. (Whitewater, Travelgate, FBI Filegate, Chinagate...)

We are told that a Secretary of State for four years did not send or receive emails that contain confidential information marked or unmarked. Is this plausible?

Her trouble as far as the emails are concerned is over. She is going to be the Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party in 2016. It is up to the American people to decide. It is just unfortunate that we are given two very flawed candidates to choose from.

Is it too much to ask for an honest, transparent government leader?

© 2016 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Btw, given what has happened in our government, I predict they will be exonerated of any wrong doing in the Foundation. It is like the House of Cards show on Netflix. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Carolyn, you are right. The next acandal for the Clinton's will be the Foundation. It never ends...

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

      I agree. I also have another question: If Hillary had set up a .gov account - as she was supposed to do - would we now be investigating all the times people donated to the Clinton Foundation, and then were treated well at the State Department? Just curious.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Old poolman, totally agree. Thanks for your comments.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      2 years ago

      Jack, Wow, this was awesome. Great job of writing.

      The old law of physics which states, "Every action has an opposite and equal reaction" applies in this case.

      That one decision to not use the State Department email and setup a private server is what caused this entire situation. Millions of dollars and countless hours of time by many including members of the FBI and Congress were basically wasted.

      Perhaps if they had not been involved with this unnecessary investigation they could have actually accomplished something of a positive nature.

      Serious damage has been done to a great many people by this one action on the part of Hillary. It has caused many to lose whatever confidence they may have had in our Justice Department, and driven yet another wedge between the citizens of this country.

      If nothing else, Hillary is guilty of using very poor judgement.


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