Inspector General Report Shows Secrecy Threatens Democracy

The 500-page inspector general’s report released Thursday reveals how unjustified secrecy and poor decisions helped ravage the credibility of both Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the FBI.

Yesterday’s Inspector General report on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton contained plenty of bombshells, including a promise by lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok that “We’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president. The report reveals how unjustified secrecy and squirrelly decisions helped ravage the credibility of both Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the FBI. But few commentators are recognizing the vast peril to democracy posed by the sweeping prerogatives of federal agencies.

The FBI’s investigation of Clinton was spurred by her decision to set up a private server to handle her email during her four years as secretary of state. The server in her Chappaqua, N.Y. mansion was insecure and exposed emails with classified information to detection by foreign sources and others.

Clinton effectively exempted herself from the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The State Department ignored 17 FOIA requests for her emails prior to 2014 and insisted it required 75 years to disclose emails of Clinton’s top aides. A federal judge and the State Department inspector general slammed the FOIA stonewalling. Freedom Frauds: Hard L... James Bovard Check Amazon for Pricing.

Clinton’s private email server was not publicly disclosed until she received a congressional subpoena in 2015. A few months later, the FBI Counterintelligence Division opened a criminal investigation of the “potential unauthorized storage of classified information on an unauthorized system.”

The IG report gives the impression that the FBI treated Hillary Clinton and her coterie like royalty — or at least like personages worthy of endless deference. When Bleachbit software or hammers were used to destroy email evidence under congressional subpoena, the FBI treated it as a harmless error. The IG report “questioned whether the use of a subpoena or search warrant might have encouraged Clinton, her lawyers … or others to search harder for the missing devices [containing email], or ensured that they were being honest that they could not find them.” Instead, FBI agents worked on “rapport building” with Clinton aides.

Indictment justified

FBI investigators shrugged off brazen deceit. An unnamed FBI agent on the case responded to a fellow FBI agent who asked how an interview went with a witness who worked with the Clintons at their Chappaqua residence: “Awesome. Lied his a__ off. Went from never inside the scif [sensitive compartmented information facility] at res [residence], to looked in when it was being constructed, to removed the trash twice, to troubleshot the secure fax with HRC a couple times, to everytime there was a secure fax i did it with HRC. Ridic.” When his colleague replied that “would be funny if he was the only guy charged n this deal,” he replied, “aint noone gonna do s___” as far as filing charges.

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