RIGHTSView, By EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO: 2016 US Presidential Election and the Clintons

Posted by News Express | 27 January 2016 | 2,483 times

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Historians say it is easy for history to repeat itself. History can repeat itself in a very negative way if people fail to learn from history. In the United States of America, especially on the political turfs, it seems history has repeated or about to repeat itself in the context of the debate around the accusations that Mrs Hillary Clinton used her private e-mail address for official communications as Secretary of State.

The sinister nexus is this: while her husband, Mr Bill Clinton, was President of the United States, he became one of the very few sitting presidents to be impeached: the reason was that he lied on oath that he never had sexual relationship with a young female White House intern known as Monica Lewinsky. On her own part, Hilary, when bombarded during a recent parliamentary hearing, denied under oath that she ever used her private e-mail address to communicate exclusive national security matters. Is Hilary, the erstwhile US Secretary of State, as guilty of perjury for this gaffe as her husband who was found guilty of perjury for lying under oath that he never had any sexual liaison with Miss Lewinsky, even when it emerged with abundant evidence that Mr Clinton, indeed, had serial sexual escapades with the beautiful lady?

Already there are stories in the US media that Mrs Clinton, contrary to her claim, had indeed used her private e-mail to communicate high profile intelligence that may have endangered the national security of the United States right under her watch then as the Secretary of State at the time of the Benghazi-Libya attack by terrorists, which led to the killing of the United States’ Ambassador to Libya, Mr J Christopher Stevens.

 Britain’s Telegraph newspaper publication of July 24, 2015 reported that indeed there are moves to take investigative action that might snowball into an indictment of the then most powerful woman in the United States, when she served as the first US Secretary of State, under the Barak Obama-led administration. The British newspaper reproduced The New York Times report which disclosed that the US Justice Department is considering a request by two government’ inspectors-general to open a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account for her work as Secretary of State. The inspectors-general, who were not clearly identified in the NYT's report, have asked the Justice Department to decide whether Clinton, the leading Democratic contender for the 2016 presidential election, mishandled classified information while she was the nation’s most senior diplomat. “The Justice Department”, according to The Telegraph, “has not decided whether it will pursue a criminal inquiry, the NYT said in its report published online which cited unnamed government officials.”

Mrs Clinton has repeatedly said she broke no laws or rules by eschewing a standard government e-mail account for her State Department work, in favour of a private account linked to a computer server in her New York home. She has also said she sent no classified information through e-mail. Her exclusive use of a private e-mail account first came to public attention in March, opening her to a volley of criticisms from political opponents, as she began her presidential campaign, that she was side-stepping transparency and record-keeping laws, the UK Telegraph noted.

Mrs Clinton, indeed, appeared before a congressional hearing late last year during which time the media reported that she denied ever using her private e-mail address to convey communications that encompassed significant national security implication. But the contradictory evidence has emerged, thus making it imperative to pose the question: Was she is not repeating the mistake of her husband by committing perjury? She has already apologised profusely for the gaffe and took personal responsibility for this inadvertent action. “I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility and I'm trying to be as transparent as I can,” she was reported to have said, according to www.time.com.

But CNN recently reported that Hilary’s server contained “highly classified intel.”

According to this version, the e-mails on Hillary's private server contained classified intelligence from some of the US Intelligence Community's most secretive programmes. The Intelligence Community Inspector-General, I. Charles McCullough III, sent a letter to leaders on congressional intelligence committees last week detailing the findings from a review of Mrs Clinton’s e-mails, a spokeswoman for the inspector-general confirmed to CNN. Two government agencies flagged e-mails on Mrs Clinton’s server as containing classified information, the inspector-general said, including some on “special access programmes”, which are above “top secret” in classification level. The inspector-general’s review was first reported by Fox News.

There were “several dozen” e-mails in question, according to Fox News, beyond the two previously reported e-mails containing top secret information. Clinton's campaign and the State Department have denied that any information was handled improperly, saying that the information and e-mails in question were all retroactively classified. The department has noted that same information can come from multiple sources, not all of which are classified.

State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said the department is still undergoing its review process, but any upgraded classification that is needed will be done.

“The State Department is focused on and committed to releasing former Secretary Clinton’s e-mails in a manner that protects sensitive information,” Kirby said in a statement, adding: “No one takes this more seriously than we do. We have said repeatedly that we anticipate more upgrades throughout our release process. Our (Freedom of Information Act) review process is still ongoing. Once that process is complete, if it is determined that information should be classified as Top Secret, we will do so.”

Before proceeding let us analyse briefly how the then President Clinton ran into stormy waters by denying ever enjoying steamy sexual relationship with the young female White House intern. 

We will thereafter be in a better position to assert if Hilary has permitted this sad side of history to repeat itself so very rapidly. Lewinsky in a piece written by one Douglas O. Linder, published in 2005, was said to have settled in Washington DC in July 1995, to work as a White House intern at age 21, newly graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland.  In her first few months on the job, the aggressive and sexually experienced Lewinsky met and flirted with the president, but no opportunities for close personal contact arose. As the story by Linder goes: “In  November 1995, however, Lewinsky was assigned to the West Wing and she soon found herself alone with Clinton. Yours faithfully is aware based on stories generated from multiple sources that Bill Clinton is a Ladies’ man and he has soft spots for beautiful women. He asked if he could kiss Lewinsky. She quickly consented.  Later that evening, the two would have the first of what eventually would be ten sexual encounters over a 16-month period.” So recounts Mr D O Kinder in his work aptly titled The Impeachment Trial of President William Clinton, published in www.law2.umkc.edu.

After eight of the encounters had taken place, in April 1996, Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff – most likely aware of the threat the young intern posed – reassigned Lewinsky to a position in the Department of Defence. The following month, Clinton told a disappointed Lewinsky (“He was my sunshine,” she later told a grand jury) he was ending the relationship. But he revived it briefly in early 1997. These and several salacious episodes happened between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, which precipitated his indictment and impeachment by the House, but he was eventually saved when the Senate couldn’t concur, or so it seemed. This captures what transpired prior to the then president being found guilty by the Congressional Panel for perjury over his cover-up concerning his love relationship with Lewinsky.

Predictably, the media will focus thoroughly and closely on what is now becoming the fate of Mrs Clinton’s presidential campaign amidst these controversies over her private e-mail.

What impact would the media focus on the emerging scenarios make on Hillary? Communication scholar Josh Meyrowitz argued that television brought politicians “down” to our level, thus eliminating the possibility of their presenting themselves as old-style “great” leaders. The scholar offered further insight thus: “Television accomplished this by invading the “back region” of politicians. The media heat is now fully switched on towards the direction of Hilary Clinton who for now is the front runner in the race from her own political divide, but Donald Trump and the rest of the pack in the Republican Party may stoke more fire of adversarial attacks targeted at her. Those who have endorsed her as the best candidate to fly the flag of Democrats in the coming United States presidential elections say her formidable legal scholarly background makes it almost impossible that she could have made the silly mistake of deliberately misinforming the Congress about the use to which she put her private e-mail, because of the adverse consequences this would generate. She has said it was purely a human error for which she is sorry. Her words: “Yes, I should have used two e-mail addresses; one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department.”

Hillary graduated from Wellesley College and then went to Yale Law School, where she was one of just 27 women in her graduating class. She met her husband, Bill at law school.

After law school, Hillary chose not to go to a big New York or Washington law firm. Instead, she went to work for the Children’s Defence Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts, gathering stories about the lack of schooling for children with disabilities, which contributed to the passage of historic legislation to require their education. The fact is that Hilary has huge support from the citizens of her nation, because of her larger-than-life public image as a lover of the less-privileged. Her supporters still feel that there is not yet any repeat of negative history that may affect her chances in the forthcoming elections. They argue that the current ordeal of Mrs Clinton is diametrically and fundamentally different from the mistake made by her spouse, when he willfully committed an act of perjury.

How the pendulum would swing would emerge in the coming days.

RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He can be reached via 08033327672 (sms only) or via doziebiko@yahoo.com

Source: News Express

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