Kurt Eichenwald breaks it down, in one of the best pieces I’ve seen yet on this overblown nontroversy: Why Hillary Clinton’s “Emailgate” Is a Fake Scandal.
Now that we’re past the headline and the primary point of the scandal, let’s get to part two of emailgate—that the agencies are required to make sure emails from non-federal accounts are preserved. Here is what the Times article says about that: Clinton “may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.” The article goes on to say that: “Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required that any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records. But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.”
Let’s dismantle this one part at a time. There is a term in journalism for the word may. It’s called a weasel word, which helps readers gloss over what the story is really saying: That the Times doesn’t know if the regulations were violated, but it sure sounds good to suggest that it could have been.
Then there is the part about how “Clinton and her aides failed” to preserve the records. Well, guess what? Under the very same regulation that Sullivan cites, it is not the responsibility of the email senders, recipients or their aides to make sure that the records are preserved. It is the responsibility of the State Department itself, which does so through technical analysis of all of the systems being used. The methods of preservation and ensuring preservation take up a whole page of federal regulations, which pertain to the systems built into the electronic structure. Or, as the regulations permit, the emails can just be printed out.