The Fox News “Scandalous” series, easily as good as anything on PBS’ “Frontline,” provided a valuable service. Millennials and such may be unaware of the Whitewater affair, Hillary Clinton’s miraculously reappearing billing records, the mysterious death of Vincent Foster, and President Clinton’s liaisons with “that woman,” White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That all went down more than 20 years ago, but on March 3 the final “Scandalous” episode provided key links to the present.
Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal has recently emerged in the DNC dossier affair. Republican James Rogan, a hawk for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, has given way to Democrat Adam Schiff, whose evidence of Russian collusion has an existential problem. Other links emerged in the 140 pardons Bill Clinton issued on his last day in office.
President Clinton pardoned his brother Roger, busted for distributing cocaine, and Whitewater crony Susan McDougal. He pardoned former HUD boss Henry Cisneros and Patty Hearst who became a partisan of the murderous Symbionese Liberation Army. Clinton also pardoned fugitive financier Mark Rich, but this was not the president’s most controversial last-day reprieve.
John Deutch had been CIA director in 1995 and 1996 and the White House said he was pardoned “for those offenses described in the information dated January 19, 2001.” The precise nature of the DOJ charges remained unclear but, as it emerged, the man in charge of the nation’s secrets had mishandled classified information.
According to ABC News, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was unaware of the pending presidential pardon when “Attorney General Janet Reno gave the approval for investigators to make a deal with Deutch.” The former CIA boss had been “under investigation for sloppy handling of secret files.”
As the New York Times noted, this came to light as Deutch was preparing to leave the job and security experts discovered classified information on personal, unsecured computers in Deutch’s home. As the CIA inspector general reported, agency general counsel Michael O’Neill and executive director Nora Slatkin shielded their former boss by slowing what the Times called “an immediate and exacting investigation.”
As Hans A. von Spakovsky recalled in National Review, the IG did not let Deutch pick and choose what information he was going to hand over. Instead they sent in a team to grab everything and found that Deutch “continuously processed” classified data “for unclassified use.” This took place on computers that were “vulnerable to attacks by unauthorized persons,” and the information included “Top Secret communications intelligence,” and information on the “National Reconnaissance Program.”
That was a violation of 18 U.S.C. §793, which makes it a criminal offense “through gross negligence” to allow classified information “to be removed from its proper place of custody.”
As von Spakovsky notes, “no intentional misconduct is required; just gross negligence,” and offenders can be fined or imprisoned for violations.
Deutch duly returned to his teaching post at MIT and more than two years later was stripped of his security clearances. What classified information might have been stolen by hostile actors remained uncertain, but with the pardon from Clinton the grossly negligent Deutch would not be taking a fall. This all proved instructive to former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She kept government information, including classified materials, on a private, unsecured server in her home, and POTUS 44 emailed her through that unsecured network. Hillary Clinton said it was all about Chelsea’s wedding, yoga classes, and no classified material was involved. When government investigators wanted to have a look, Clinton promptly destroyed more than 30,000 emails, bleached the server clean, and smashed up electronic devices.
Trump-hating James Strzok of the FBI changed “gross negligence” to “extremely careless” and FBI boss James Comey said no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges. In similar style, as a deputy attorney general, Comey cut a sweetheart deal with former Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger, who stole and destroyed classified documents.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Comey to call whole thing a “matter” and Hillary Clinton paid no penalty. After she lost the 2016 race, her FBI-DOJ team set about framing the winner, Donald Trump, on the charge that he colluded with Russia to steal the election.
Despite zero evidence, Robert Mueller and his squad of Clinton cadres continue the bogus probe. As some in Congress are now contending, the target should be the DNC dossier, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, the FISA warrants, and Hillary Clinton. A look back at John Deutch will provide both motivation and guidelines.
The CIA boss was not above the law, which should also apply with full force to the former First Lady and Secretary of State. Likewise, nobody should be able to choose what material they hand over to investigators, and destruction of evidence should not be tolerated. Any DOJ, FBI or CIA official who ignores evidence, alters evidence, or hinders the investigation should be charged with obstruction of justice and prosecuted.
If found guilty, Hillary Clinton should get no special deals and pay the full penalty. And unlike the case of John Deutch, the president of the United States should issue no pardon. Justice and the rule of law would be served, and the story of what really happened would make a great documentary.