Remember the story of the turtle and the rattlesnake? The snake talked the turtle into ferrying him across a river despite the turtle’s well-founded misgivings about the very nature of the snake. “You’ll bite me,” the turtle said, but the snake, able to lie convincingly to its prey, convinced the turtle otherwise. As soon as the rattlesnake slithered onto the opposite bank, he turned and bit the turtle.
“But you said you wouldn’t bite me!” exclaimed the turtle in surprised agony.
“You knew I was a rattlesnake when you agreed to give me a ride,” hissed the snake.
Apparently smart people can also believe lies, particularly when their philosophical identity rests on shifting sands. Take the case of Colin Powell. Four-star Army general, Secretary of State (appointed by an evil, racist, white Republic president who subsequently appointed a black female in the same position; how racist is that?), who was unwary enough to trust Hillary Clinton, and even put his apparently innocuous and well-meaning advice in e-mails. Fox News reports:
The top Democrat on the House committee investigating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system released an email exchange Wednesday between former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Clinton in which he advised her on circumventing State Department servers.
The exchange between Clinton and Powell, two days before the start of her tenure as secretary of state, shows Clinton asked him for advice on the use of a BlackBerry. He responded with multiple tips, saying he used a personal computer for government and personal business that wasn’t ‘going through the State Department servers.’
Powell said, ‘I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts.
I suspect Powell was merely offering polite and experienced advice, not about violating the law, but on working efficiently and protecting America’s secrets. Powell perhaps felt he was being helpful, and probably felt a sense of obligation to pass on what he had learned as Secretary of State.
What exactly Powell advised Clinton to do had been a matter of debate, and Powell even recently suggested Clinton’s allies were trying to pin the controversy on him. Democrats released the full exchange in a bid to show that Clinton’s predecessors did not use official email accounts.
In his Jan. 23, 2009, response to Clinton, Powell said he used a ‘personal computer’ and a PDA.
The latest release appears to show that Powell acknowledged he exchanged work-related emails with foreign leaders and State Department officials using a personal device. He said the setup allowed him to ‘bypass the government’s computer network.
Powell was apparently not suggesting sending unsecured classified information over non-secure channels.
The release of the email by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. came on the eve of a House Oversight hearing in which Republicans are expected to focus on Clinton’s use of a private email server and whether the State Department had been forthcoming with Freedom of Information requests.
However, Cummings came down on Republicans accusing lawmakers of holding Clinton to a double standard during the investigation into her private email server.
‘If Republicans were truly concerned with transparency, strengthening FOIA, and preserving federal records, they would be attempting to recover Secretary Powell’s emails from AOL, but they have taken no steps to do so despite the fact that this period—including the run-up to the Iraq War—was critical to our nation’s history,’ he said.
Right. With the possible exception of there being no evidence that Colin Powell violated any Federal law relating to the sending or use of e-mails or classified information, sold our national security for cash, or ran a pay-for-play scam out of the Secretary of State’s office to enrich himself and his family.
Clinton has repeatedly said that she’s followed in the footsteps of her predecessors in regards to using a private email to handle government business.
Powell has denied encouraging Clinton to use a private email server.
A spokesperson for Powell issued a statement last month, saying he had ‘no recollection’ of an alleged dinner conversation between him and Clinton about using a private email server while in office.
‘He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department. At the time there was no equivalent system within the Department.
‘He used a secure State computer on his desk to manage classified information,’ the statement added.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, federal law requires government email exchanges to be preserved for archiving and could be released through FOIA requests. Powell appeared to be aware of that and warned Clinton about using her BlackBerry for government work.
‘There is a real danger. If it is public that you have a BlackBerry and it it (sic) government and you are using it, government or not, to do business, it may become an official record and subject to the law… Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.’
Powell also warned Clinton about the possibility of being hacked by foreign agents. He said he had numerous meetings about why he couldn’t bring his BlackBerry into secure areas of the State Department.
Did Colin Powell advise Hillary to have her minions destroy mobile devices with a hammer? Did he urge her to destroy evidence under subpoena and/or congressional retention order? Did he advise her to set up a private, unsecure server? Did he tell her and her aides to use unsecured Blackberries within the borders of America’s enemies? Did he tell her to violate the law by taking e-mails from the custody of the government after she left office? Did he urge her to destroy thousands of e-mails in violation of multiple federal laws? Did he suggest she should hide public property from FOIA requests? Did he tell her to lie under oath and suborn perjury? Did he tell her to fail to remember pretty much everything? Did he tell her to ensure her closest aids couldn’t remember anything? Did he tell her to have her minions take the fifth?
No, or at least not that we’re currently aware.
Colin Powell: “But you told me you were my friend! You said I could trust you not to throw me under the campaign bus!”
Hillary Clinton (Elijah Cummmings, and virtually every Congressional Democrat): “You knew we were Democrats when you sent us an e-mail. You screwed up; you trusted us!”