Why Hillary’s emails matter

Last Wednesday night during the democratic debate, Bernie Sanders complained that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails.” This statement was met with rapturous applause from the democratic audience and a maniacal grin from Clinton. To many, this was the moment where Clinton finally put this issue to bed, for the email scandal and its related investigations plagued the Clinton campaign all summer, leaving a large dent in her poll numbers. Fortunately, the scandal is not over and will not be over for sometime because the issue is substantive, not a mere partisan attack as Clinton bills it.

For voters, Clinton’s use of a private email server should be a serious concern. Firstly, her actions represent the first time a Secretary of State has used a private email server to conduct official business. Colin Powell, for example, used a private email address for personal matters, but he also used a government email to fulfill his duties as Secretary of State. This transgression on the part of Clinton poses a whole host of problems for the United States. For one, this leaves a gaping hole in the information surrounding Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

Historians will rely upon this information to capture the legacy of Clinton’s time in office for generations to come. We might as well go ahead and put an asterisk next to Clinton’s name when discussing her tenure because she was able to systematically delete any incriminating information regarding her time in office with complete discretion. This becomes especially important when we consider how she is the first Secretary of State since 1979 to have an ambassador killed under her watch. That tragic event in 1979 occurred months after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, as opposed to our own invasion in Libya that effectively left the country in chaos, which is what happened in 2011 under Clinton.

The second reason voters should be concerned about Clinton’s use of a private server is because it poses a grave national security threat. A Secretary of State naturally handles highly classified information, which is the precise reason why they are required to use a government secured email for official business. Indeed, there is an ongoing FBI investigation into the matter that has concluded that some of the documents on the email contained classified information. Now, the main objective of the investigation has shifted to consider whether or not her private email server was breached, an act that could have far reaching consequences. We saw how detrimental the Snowden leaks were to US interests, diplomatic relationships, and most importantly, to the safety of US officials abroad. Fu r t h e r m o r e , we have seen the measure other nations have taken to gain access into classified government files. Look no further than China’s hack on the Office of Personnel Management earlier this year that gave them access to the personal information of over 21.5 million federal employees. Imagine the measures a country like China would take to learn about the classified diplomatic and strategic policy of the United States. Let us hope China assumed that the most important diplomat in the US wasn’t using a Gmail account for her job.

The last and perhaps most important reason for voters to be concerned about the email scandal is how it relates to the plethora of other scandals surrounding the Clintons—most notably, the concerns surrounding the use of State Department contacts to further the interests of the Clinton Foundation. This was the subject of a New York Times article earlier this year. It detailed the transfer of money from Russian banks to the Clinton Foundation and to the Clintons personally through speech fees, as well as the corresponding work on behalf of the Clintons in brokering the sale of the largest uranium producer in North America to a uranium manufacturer owned by the Russian state.

Seeing how Russia holds the largest nuclear arsenal in world— that is growing a far larger pace then that of the United States— and is increasingly expressing hostility to the US and its allies, the fact that they own a uranium manufacturer in our country should be of great concern. Since it appears that we are entering a Cold War 2.0 with Russia, evidenced by proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria, we can have the Clintons to thank for selling Russia one of our uranium producers. It behooves every American to educate themselves on the various issues surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email server so that we may determine whether or not she is the right person to lead this country.