Clinton's Emailgate and the Long History of Missing Documents

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016



What happens when a secretary of state takes thousands of work-related documents, deems them personal and then decides to neither reveal their existence to government archivists nor personally turn them over to the public? If you’re Hillary Clinton, the answer is still pending. But if you’re Henry Kissinger, you end up hoarding them for almost three decades after leaving office … without facing a single charge. 

Like Clinton, who failed to turn over her private-server emails after leaving office — including 15,000 previously undisclosed ones recently discovered by the FBI — Kissinger left with a treasure trove of 15,000 transcripts of secretly taped phone conversations. In both cases, it wasn’t until subsequent investigations that the papers were discovered and forced into the public record, as Kissinger’s were through a series of legal proceedings in the 2000s. The big difference? Kissinger, at least, “got approval from the State Department legal adviser,” even if that approval proved to be misguided, says Doug Cox, a records-preservation expert and law professor at City University of New York. “His case was the closest to the Clinton situation.”

Indeed, Clinton’s displaced documents join Kissinger’s transcripts and a long list of politicians who’ve been accused of negligent, technical erroneousness or more nefarious acts related to paper trails in Washington. “Clinton, of course, is not the only official to fall into the vanity trap and confuse a desire to craft public image with the public’s right to know,” former Pentagon official Michael Rubin writes in a blog post for the American Enterprise Institute. “The problem is bipartisan.”




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