Clinton's E-mail Controversy - Over at Long Last?


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Clinton, shadowed by the American flag she hopes to serve.
Photo Credit: 
Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

                The Clinton e-mail controversy has been running for what feels like a lifetime and a half now, and while it has blurred the line between legitimate issue and reanimated lost cause the final word appears to be in at long last. FBI Director James Comey had spoken out roughly two weeks ago to report that new evidence had been brought to light by a separate investigation into Anthony Weiner, and that the evidence found was potentially relevant. Accordingly, Comey felt an obligation to report this to Congress and begin conducting reviews of these e-mails to verify their importance. Comey has now, as of Sunday, come out confirming that the findings of July would remain upheld as no new evidence was found1.

                Well, let’s start with the basics. Many on the Left have decried Comey’s actions from two weeks ago (reporting the new e-mails as being investigated) as inappropriate and counter to the needed impartiality of such a high ranking federal official. Indeed, even some within the FBI seemed to hold similar sentiments. While I personally agree that Comey confirming the investigation was again underway could be read as an act of bias intended to influence the outcome of the election, a separate point gives me pause in this regard. Consider Comey’s position in light of Trump’s repeated claims that the election is rigged against him. Comey had to have fears about what would happen in the event of a Trump loss if (or, more accurately, when) it came to light that he sat on this new, potentially damning evidence when he was first made aware of it. Even if Comey was concerned about presenting an air of impropriety, he had to realize the obvious truth: it was better to openly declare the new evidence and address it quickly.

                And now that the e-mails have been reviewed and nothing new has been discovered, we find that Trump supporters are still crying foul. Some among them imagine that the e-mail review being conducted thoroughly or properly isn’t possible in such a short stretch of time. However, this notion is somewhat misguided. The FBI was looking for something very specific: evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton. This isn’t, in this scenario, a particularly daunting task. An automated review of the e-mails on the machine/device in question could easily check the sender, receiver(s), content, and attachments of all e-mails and compare them to the e-mails already reviewed in the Clinton case previously. If the e-mail is a duplicate of one already poured over, no further action is necessary.

After that, the remaining e-mails could be reviewed for their degree of connection to Hillary herself as, given the investigation in question is regarding wrongdoing on Hillary’s part, that connection to Hillary is crucial. Manual reviews were likely necessary in a significant number of cases – but if the majority of the e-mails either didn’t pertain to Hillary Clinton or were e-mails already reviewed by previous inquiries, then those cases would be minimized. In short – while reviewing the e-mails in question in detail would take time, the technology exists to drastically reduce the number of e-mails requiring manual attention.

While it seems unlikely that the e-mail controversy will ever completely calm down or fade away, the storm does seem to have abated somewhat on this front. Truth be told, though, the storm likely shouldn’t die down in this regard entirely. Hillary Clinton’s e-mail controversy showed that she used e-mail in a dangerous, under-protected manner that may have endangered protected, sensitive materials. That said? Claims of Hillary’s corruption and malice are much like that of the Wizard of Oz’s powers – exaggerated claims that are oddly embraced as the ominous tone provides influence in a sense. She’s an imperfect candidate, but she’s the candidate of reasonable progressives. Regardless of whether you agree with her or not, though, - do your civic duty and vote.

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