The State Department and Hillary Clinton

Hillary home DC small Hillary home small

I want to make another argument on behalf of Hillary Clinton – surprise, surprise – because I just don’t feel that we are using the correct perspective to examine this issue of the “emails”. I also know that what I am suggesting is not an understanding that is written anywhere, or one that perhaps has ever been mentioned before. However, given the unusual nature of the position of Secretary of State, and given that due weight has not been given to how the State Department operates in the digital age, I feel that there are some extenuating circumstances that affect whoever holds this position and that there needs to be some discussion about the role of the Secretary of State.

I am suggesting that the position of Secretary of State is unique because the Secretary of State is rarely in the State Department in Washington, D C but is traveling constantly to near and distant locations. I am arguing that, for this reason, wherever the Secretary of State is, the State Department goes with her or him. So if the Secretary is on a plane, the bubble of the State Department goes along. If the Secretary of State is in a hotel room, the State Department is there. If the Secretary of State is with a foreign leader or a group of foreign nationals, the State Department is there. When the Secretary of State is in his/her home office, the State Department is there. I would argue that Hillary did not ever remove documents from the State Department because wherever she went the State Department was there. As long as Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State, the State Department and Hillary Clinton were inseparable.

If her arrangements threatened national security the threat does not seem to be greater than that to any other system, including government systems. We do not have a way to make our digital networks completely secure at this time. However, given that the Secretary of State takes the State Department with her/him at all times, government security should reach to all digital equipment in the Secretary’s home and equipment carried abroad.

It seems to me that we need to update government agencies to operate in this digital age much more than we need to prosecute employees who take it into their own hands to set up systems that work without undue complexity. I also do not believe that Hillary lied to Congress about receiving or sending classified emails, especially now that we are aware of the inconsistencies in the classification system. I believe it was shown that she only sent emails to people who were classified, although some nasty soul pointed out that her assistants handled emails and they did not have clearance and her lawyers read her email and they did not have clearance. (I’m sure that has never happened before.) Hillary will have to explain why she said that the State Department knew about her private server, but if she is always the head of the State Department then it seems that her home office is simply an extension of the State Department and the same attention to national security is observed at her home office either in Chappaqua or in Washington, DC as would be observed at the State Department in Washington, D C.

I still believe that this issue is being blown out of all proportion because of the 2016 election and the Republicans who are having a hissy-fit because it looks like all their careful plan to capture the Presidency and possess the power in all three branches of Congress seems to be thwarted at every turn, reminiscent of the Road Runner and Wiley E Coyote.

The FBI is being used by the GOP, but the FBI has limitations. However much we may trust them to be nonpartisan, they can only conduct investigations that are narrow in scope and defined by the limits of the task they are given. The FBI cannot look at the big picture and analyze all aspects of this particular situation. The GOP can keep giving them new directives forever and if there is even a whiff of wrongdoing then the FBI will have to investigate. But the optics are that the GOP has the FBI playing fetch. (Good dog.)


Hillary Clinton – What Next

Diplomacy is made up of many, many small events and of
intangibles like forging relationships with world leaders and the leaders of
thousands of organizations that work tirelessly to make the world a better place.
This entails lots of schmoozing and some “strong-arming” and meetings and
conventions and conferences and speeches and travel; lots and lots of travel.
From an article in USA Today we get
a tiny glimpse into some of her activities as we see Hillary travelling to China to
convince Chinese leaders to free blind dissident, Chen Guangcheng; travelling
to India to cajole India’s leaders to reduce oil imports to Iran; renewing old
friendships in one of the world’s poorest nations as she meets with Muhammed
Yunus, a pioneer in providing microcredit to the poor or Sir Fazie Hasan Abed,
founder of the world’s largest development organizations. USA Today says that
Hillary is “part tough-talking diplomat, part back-patting politician.”

Unless you have really strong social, intellectual, and
political skills you will never qualify for the job of Secretary of State. Two
of our best recent Secretaries of State have been women. Madeleine Albright is
legendary. I don’t think there could be a better “school” for an American
President than being Secretary of State so I hope that Hillary is feeling well
enough and rested enough to run in 2016, but even if she doesn’t run she has earned
the chops and learned the skills to accomplish whatever goals she sets for

If the only things Hillary Clinton ever accomplished were
the things she has done for women that would still be enough to have created a
prodigious legacy. Until the women of the world – everywhere in the world –
have the same rights as men there will be important work to do and Hillary
Clinton has dedicated herself to this one goal as a recurring theme that she
returns to whenever she can. In fact, since she can hardly sit back and become
a jet-setter for long, we may see her forming a foundation of her own to focus
on the needs of women around the world.

Hillary, enjoy a rest. You deserve it. Take time out to set
your new agenda and enjoy leisure and your family for awhile. And because
everyone is so much tougher on the way older women look than they are on the
way older men look, we will be quiet if you decide to have a few nips and
tucks. Well I will anyway – others will not be able to keep their big traps
shut, I am sure. Ignore them. I don’t believe you will be able to enjoy leisure for very long.

Maybe you will write a book. When you decide to return to
public life we’ll be watching with interest. Maybe we can help. In the
meanwhile we thank you for your energetic and very effective service to the
American government and the American people (which are one and the same).