Tag Archives: emails

Are You SURE You Want Those Emails?

When I read about this the first time, I was sure it was a story from the Onion.

It wasn’t.

As everyone not living on Mars is aware, the Republicans’ six hundredth Benghazi Investigative Committee (okay, so maybe I exaggerate a bit) forced disclosure of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server. It turned out that some of those emails were from the prior administration, and one of them– from then Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush–confirmed Tony Blair’s promise to sign on to the Iraq conflict a year before the invasion began… a time when Blair and Bush were assuring their respective countrymen that they were taking great care to confirm the presence of weapons of mass destruction and that no definitive decision to invade had been made.

The British press has made much more of this revelation than the American media, but even here, it has been fairly widely reported. If the members of the Benghazi Inquisition were capable of embarrassment, you’d think they’d rethink their approach. But of course, they aren’t.

Then, this week, we had Clinton’s much-anticipated 11 hour testimony, and a whole series of further embarrassments centered on the committee’s obsession with her emails. (For a detailed “take down” of the day’s effort by a Clinton partisan, you can read this diatribe from Kurt Eichenwald, who noted–among many, many other things–the absence of similar expressions of concern over the twenty-two million Bush Administration emails that mysteriously disappeared.)

The continuing revelations about his brother should keep Jeb! quiet, but he weighed in with a tweet to the effect that the security failures at Benghazi were evidence of Clinton’s “incompetent” foreign policy; that prompted a post at Daily Kos “reminding” Jeb! that his brother’s administration had overseen not just 9/11, but deadly attacks on at least thirteen overseas American embassies and consulates as well as numerous other successful attacks against American diplomatic personnel and their staff.

It’s fair to assume that this week’s hearings did little to sway partisans on either side. But I was struck by a Facebook post by a friend who is a well-respected foreign policy expert at another university–someone I know to be a Republican, someone who has previously shared lukewarm-at-best feelings about Clinton, and who reported watching the whole thing.

If there is one truth that has come out of this ridiculous committee hearing for me, it’s that the search for wrongdoing in Benghazi is a tempest in a tea pot. The death of four Americans in a terrorist attack is a tragedy. But I wish the Republicans controlling Congress would have spent 1/10 of the time and energy (and the $4.7 million) investigating the decision to go to war in Iraq and all the decisions made after that that destroyed Iraq, killed over 4,000 American servicemen and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. Why isn’t that worthy of at least one investigation (let alone eight)?

I think Kevin McCarthy accidentally answered that question.


Drip, drip……

The Daniels Administration may now be in the rear-view mirror, but sometimes, a rear-view image allows us to see things we missed when the view was head-on.

Yesterday, more embarrassing emails emerged--this time, from the Superintendent of Public Education’s office. It seems that Mr. Bennett was perfectly willing to play games with his beloved “A-F” grading system for schools when a GOP donor’s charter school failed to make the grade. The emails disclose that the system was manipulated so that Christel Academy–a charter established by major donor Christel DeHaan–would not get the “C” grade it deserved, but would instead be awarded an A.

Bennett is frantically trying to spin the emails, but–like those issued by Daniels in the Zinn controversy–they are hard to re-interpret.  Superintendent Bennett blew plenty of smoke during his tenure in office, but these messages are anything but ambiguous.

There are a number of observations one might make over these latest disclosures. At the very least, the emails indicate a willingness to overlook deficiencies of favored charter operators that the administration was unwilling to extend to public schools. They confirm a widespread belief that Bennett was a political operative charged with furthering Daniels’ ideological agenda, not an educator. (Sue Ellen Reed, Bennett’s Republican predecessor, was an educator, and Daniels forced her out of that office.)

It’s also hard to understand why either Daniels or Bennett felt they could express themselves so clearly when using official email. Did they not realize that these messages would be maintained and discoverable?

Of course, the sixty-four thousand dollar question, as we used to say, is: who is leaking these delectable morsels? How has the AP known to ask for them?

And what other disclosures await?