Sloth in Foggy Bot­tom

The State Depart­ment says it needs on 75 years to find Hil­lary’s emails

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but some mar­velous work was done posthaste. Only 10 years was re­quired to build the Colos­seum, and Michelan­gelo painted the ceil­ing of the Sis­tine Chapel in four. Vi­sion and am­bi­tion can defy the tick­ing of the clock and the pas­sage of the years. But de­spite the ad­van­tage of tech­nol­ogy that moves at the speed of light, the State Depart­ment says it needs 75 years to pro­duce doc­u­ments that for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton and her aides con­signed to what she thought would be the obliv­ion of a pri­vate In­ter­net server.

Hil­lary’s be­com­ing the first woman pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee has not freed her from the heavy bag­gage she has been drag­ging be­hind her for years. The elec­tronic mes­sages she stored on her per­sonal server dur­ing four years in Foggy Bot­tom are still the sub­ject of scru­tiny. In ad­di­tion to an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her reck­less mis­han­dling of the na­tion’s most pre­cious se­crets, the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee has filed re­quests for the emails un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

Mark Toner, the State Depart­ment spokesman, told re­porters the other day that by his reck­on­ing the search for the doc­u­ments might re­quire 75 years. “That’s not an out­landish es­ti­ma­tion, be­lieve it or not.”

Ac­tu­ally, it is an out­landish es­ti­mate, and we ac­cept Mr. Toner’s in­vi­ta­tion to not be­lieve it. What’s out­landish is the State Depart­ment’s at­tempt to keep the doc­u­ments out of pub­lic view. It’s of a piece with the skul­dug­gery the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has been prac­tic­ing for nearly eight years. First there was Op­er­a­tion Fast and Fu­ri­ous, in which the Jus­tice Depart­ment, un­der Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, got one of its own killed in a cocka­mamie scheme to push weapons to Mex­i­can drug deal­ers. Next came the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice scheme to tar­get Tea Party groups for ha­rass­ment to side­line them dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. Records that Congress sought in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion were de­stroyed.

But none of this quite matches the au­dac­ity of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s de­ci­sion to send four years’ of of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions to her pri­vate email server, where she thought they would be safe from pry­ing eyes. Among Democrats, for whom ethics seem to be op­tional, she’s get­ting away with it, con­firm­ing their be­lief that she’s in a class by her­self. The State Depart­ment is thus in no hurry to pro­duce doc­u­ments that could sink her pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions.

The great civ­i­liza­tions of the past had no tol­er­ance for such de­lay. In ad­di­tion to the glory that dec­o­rates Rome, the Egyp­tians erected the Great Pyra­mid of Giza, one of the Seven Won­ders of the An­cient World, in a decade or two 46 cen­turies ago. World War II was fought by the Al­lies to suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion in six years. When the United States set its sights on the moon, an Amer­i­can stepped out there in eight years.

When he waves good­bye from the steps of Marine One, Barack Obama can boast that it took him only eight years to “fun­da­men­tally trans­form Amer­ica.” When they want to, hu­mans can ac­com­plish much in a short time. The no­tion that the grunions at the State Depart­ment need 75 years to lo­cate a batch of emails is ab­surd. If she be­comes pres­i­dent in Novem­ber, Hil­lary can or­der them found and secured, per­haps to seal her server and the emails into a con­crete lock­box and put aboard a de­stroyer to take them to the Mar­i­ana Trench, where they can be thrown over­board to sink to a depth of seven miles. She has a per­sonal server for such things.

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