There is hysteria, left and right, over the latest announcement from the FBI about Hillary’s emails. I’d like to provide a measured and non-partisan response from a man long dead.
In 1972 I was living in northern Virginia, working at night in a dinner theater, and by day trying to support my acting addiction by driving a taxi and working as a gardener. One of the gardens I tended belonged to one of the highest-ranking intelligence officers in the CIA at that time. (I won’t mention his name.) I had landed the gardening gig at his house because government generally and the intelligence branch in particular were both still very much an old-school-tie affair back in those days. Everyone knew everyone and they had all gone to the same schools and the same colleges; in this particular case, the CIA officer and his wife were friends of some friends of my parents and were charitable enough to help keep a friend’s friend’s son from starving to death.
It just so happened that the day the Watergate scandal broke in the Washington Post (those of you under fifty please go rent All the President’s Men, with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) I was working in the CIA officer’s garden. He had recently had a serious heart attack and was recuperating at home, sitting in the sun on his back patio with the morning paper in his hands. When I saw he was reading about the break-in, I asked him what he thought of it. Without missing a beat he said, “Well, if I were on the Democratic National Committee, and I wanted to make sure my boy” [George McGovern] “got elected, I might stage a phony break-in to make Nixon and the Republicans look bad.”
I was flabbergasted. That way of looking at things had never occurred to me. As it turned out, he was wrong. Things were much simpler than a CIA officer could have imagined, and Richard Nixon and his cronies were as crooked as they seemed.
So now we have James Comey announcing that emails found on a server belonging to Anthony Weiner contained material that justified the FBI’s decision to re-open their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private-server-classified-email peccadillos. In case you’ve been living under a rock, let’s review the bidding:
One of Hillary Clinton’s most trusted senior advisors, the vice-chairwoman of Hillary’s campaign, and her former deputy chief of staff at the Department of State, is Huma Abedin.
Huma Abedin is married to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former Democratic Congressman and New York City mayoral candidate who likes to “sext” photographs of his, uh, not-so-private parts to under-aged girls, which is why all of him is under investigation.
Hillary Clinton came under investigation for using her private, non-governmentally secured server to send and receive classified and top-secret material to various parties, including Huma Abedin.
Ms. Abedin has been accused (by some extremely conservative Republican congressmen) of having ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, an association which, they claimed, made her unqualified to have any kind of security clearance. This appears to have been pretty much dismissed as tinfoil hat material.
We know, from James Comey’s testimony to Congress, that Hillary lied, both under oath and to the American people, about sending and receiving classified and top-secret material.
Now we have a situation where Huma Abedin’s husband (they are separated but still married), who is under investigation for sex crimes, has emails on some of his devices (the same devices, presumably, with which he sent under-aged girls photographs they would probably have preferred not seeing) that are “significant” enough (Comey’s word) to justify the FBI re-opening their investigation into the question of whether or not Hillary’s poor judgement and preference for convenience over national security might constitute illegal behavior.
No matter how you look at this, whether or not you believe Hillary Clinton’s behavior was criminal or merely “careless,” whether or not you believe Huma Abedin should or should not be allowed access to classified material because of her possible ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, even if you believe Hillary Clinton is a pristine and flawless saint who should be canonized, there is absolutely no way that classified emails about the business of the United States government should end up on the server that a pedophile uses to send photographs of his eponymous body part to under-aged girls, thereby—presumably—giving said under-aged girls potential access to classified information.
I hope, I pray, sincerely, that there is some kind of simple, innocent explanation for all this, that it is no more than proof of the extraordinary, mind-boggling stupidity and incompetence of the Woman Who Would Be President and her top advisor, but remembering an aging CIA officer and his immediate response to a vastly less serious crime, the writer in me can easily come up with a half-dozen scenarios that are considerably more ominous. I pray for our country and for an innocent explanation because the alternative is unthinkable.