When it comes to low-level government employees with no power, the Obama administration has purposely prosecuted them as harshly as possible to the point of vindictiveness: It has notoriously prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 for improperly handling classified information than all previous administrations combined. – Glenn Greenwald, writing in The Intercept.
Above is a stark reminder for all potential US voters as, believe it or not, the 2016 Presidential election cycle is in full swing even though the election is almost a year and a half away that no one party has a monopoly on repressive surveillance. Barack Obama swept into office seven years ago under the typical Democratic/Liberal mantra of openness and transparency. Under his watch, as is reflected in Greenwald’s words, he has presided over anything but a transparent government.
And now, another presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is posturing for liberal- leaning support. But her record and her words do not convey comfort to those of us who long for more privacy. It is a worthwhile effort at this juncture to take a peek at the primary season and to examine one of the frontrunners as she struggles to maintain her support while juggling her affiliation with the erstwhile incumbent in the Oval Office, attempting to distance herself from his administration’s odious privacy practices. Unfortunately for her, there is a record of her standing four-square behind these repulsive, repressive practices.
People have previously been convicted and are now serving lengthy prison sentences for “mishandling” information not classified and not nearly as sensitive or in the volume of Hillary Clinton’s missives while she was Secretary of State. In the most notable case, Chelsea Manning, faced court-martial in December 2011, though none of the documents in question were considered or marked “top secret” as were the documents ascribed to Hillary Clinton. Yet, in a pre-trial press conference, she defended his prosecution:
“I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so.”
Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison at the same time that Hillary Clinton was installing, covertly, and using a non-government server and a personal email account to receive classified, even top-secret information. Yet, she wishes to be held to a different standard now. The last thing we need in the unlevel privacy playing field is another four- years- or possibly eight- which would be a rerun of Obama’s administration’s odious actions. With the exception of possibly, Rand Paul, none of the other contenders, or should I say pretenders seem to want to weigh in on the privacy issues- except when to do so sullies Hillary Clinton.
In this age of “collect everything”, most documents are erroneously and gratuitously labeled as classified and top-secret leading to overzealous prosecutions. And it has become abundantly apparent that these purges and more mass surveillance and collection of data has not had any material effect on spying or in capturing criminals. Now we are faced with Hillary Clinton’s improprieties. It will be interesting to see how her investigation is handled and to monitor her reaction to being subject to the same standard that she so vigorously defended.