Conspiracy?

When I recently read the DOJ Inspector General’s report on the Clinton Email investigation, I saw where IG Horowitz referred to a classified document relating to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Horowitz indicated that the FBI had a classified document that implicated Lynch in some way, but that the information had not been verified. It turns out that referenced document was one in a batch of “hacked documents” stored on Russian computer networks. One of the documents is an alleged Email from former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to “an operative working for billionaire George Soros.” The Email assured the operative that Lynch had assured Clinton campaign political director Amanda Renteria that FBI and DOJ investigators and prosecutors would “go easy” on Clinton in the ongoing Email investigation. Allegedly, when Comey took the highly classified document to Lynch’s office, she immediately became “frosty” and threw him out of her office. Of course, Lynch, Wasserman Schultz and Renteria all deny that any such Email was ever sent. However, the document remains classified at a level even above Top Secret, a classification so high that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are denied access to it.

Whether the intercepted document is real or not remains to be seen, but there were indications of Lynch’s complicity with Clinton from early in the investigation. When it became apparent that word of the investigation was going to be publically revealed, Lynch told Comey to refer to it as a “matter” rather then the criminal investigation it was. Her directive caused Comey to wonder if Lynch was “carrying water” for the Clinton campaign. President Barack Obama was publically down-playing the significance of Clinton’s Emails, to Comey’s consternation. As for the “unverified” document, bear in mind that while it remains classified, the also unverified allegations about Donald Trump made in a document produced for the Clinton campaign were released to the public.

 

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SHE’s Out of Her Cotton-Picking Mind!

Yesterday I wrote about the stupid controversy over the comment made by a FOX News contributor to a black “Democratic strategist” whose knowledge of cotton-picking is so limited that he has no clue that EVERYBODY did it. Today I’m writing about a New York transplant in Lexington, Virginia who has apparently departed from common sense. I just found out that Stephanie Wilkinson, the Lexington, Virginia woman who told White House Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders that she wasn’t wanted in her Red Hen restaurant in downtown Lexington. It turns out that Wilkinson is executive director of a local organization called Main Street Lexington whose role is to promote the city’s downtown businesses. By her actions, the far-left Resistance member has brought attention to Lexington that no one in the town wanted.

It turns out that Wilkinson is a New Yorker who went to the University of Virginia after graduating from Dartmouth and ended up in Lexington, a small college town at the upper end of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley after her husband took a position at the Virginia Military Institute. I lived across the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lexington for five years and passed by it on I-81/I-64 but have never set foot in the town. Lexington is that kind of town. It’s only there because of two schools, Washington & Lee University and VMI. The population is only a little over 7,000. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton received just over 1,500 votes of some 2,200 votes cast, but surrounding Rockbridge County gave Donald Trump some 6,600 votes while Clinton got 3,500. Like other college towns, Lexington is an island of left-wingers in a sea of conservative voters but it’s nothing like Charlottesville, where Wilkinson lived before moving to Lexington with her husband. She has a long history of left-wing activism, including publishing a literary magazine for mothers “dedicated to social change” called “Brain, Child, the Magazine for Thinking Mothers” – over-educated women like Wilkinson. Her husband, Duncan Richter, who is British, is a professor at Virginia Military Institute where he teaches courses in ethics and philosophy. (His wife apparently has never taken any of his courses because she has no ethics.) He has authored several books, all focusing on ethics and philosophy. Wilkinson and her husband and at least one of her children were in Washington for the Women’s March and apparently consider themselves to be members of “the resistance.” Considering her actions this past week, it’s obvious that Stephanie Wilkinson is a leftwing fanatic.

With time on her hands after her children were older, Wilkinson did what any other over-educated leftwing elitist would do, she started a restaurant in downtown Lexington and advertised it as “farm to table.” Her menu states that the place, called the Red Hen, sells vegetables raised on a local farm owned by Mexican immigrants. Of course, there’s no mention of the fact that vegetables are seasonal and the Shenandoah Valley has winter. The restaurant is very small, with only twenty-four seats, which works out to six four-place tables.

Just why Sanders was in Lexington has not been revealed, but she was with relatives, including her brother-in-law, who claims to be a “liberal” and is not a Trump supporter. After the party was seated, one of the staff called Wilkinson at home and told her Sanders was in the restaurant. Wilkinson jumped in her car and headed for the little red building on Washington Street. She claims that when she got there, she talked to her staff and asked them what they thought she should do. She claims her staff, which must be made up of leftists like herself, told her she should ask them to leave, which she did. Reportedly, a waiter had already served the party and they were eating when Wilkinson went over and called Sanders outside where she told her she didn’t want her in her restaurant because she works for the White House. Although  Wilkinson claims the incident wasn’t disorderly, Mike Huckabee, Sanders’ father, says that Wilkinson followed them to the nearby restaurant they went to and attempted to organized a demonstration. Finally, Sanders’ brother-in-law went outside and told them they were making a huge mistake and should disperse.

Now, Wilkinson’s actions are an act of bigotry – the simple definition of the word is “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself – but it is also an act of stupidity. Not only did Wilkinson attract negative attention to her restaurant, she also attracted unwanted attention to the city where Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was a professor and where General Robert E. Lee served as president of the university that bears his name, the city from whence the VMI cadets who made the charge at New Market departed for their famous action; she also attracted unwanted attention to another restaurant with the same name in Washington, D.C. (whose manager said his staff would serve anyone.) In short, the woman is out of her cotton-picking mind, but then so are most of those in the media and the Democratic Party who do stupid things in opposition to Donald Trump.

 

 

They’re Out of Their Cotton-Picking Minds!

Now, I don’t watch FOX News. In fact, I don’t even have cable – I got rid of it several years ago and went to a leaf antenna and streaming. However, I must say that the reaction to a comment by FOX contributor David Bossie to “Democratic strategist” Joel Payne that he was “out of his cotton-picking mind” is way out of proportion. Payne, who is of African ancestry, took offense at the comment because “my relatives picked cotton.” My response to that is – so fucking what? I picked my cotton, my daddy did, my mother did, my brother did and my sisters did and so did my grandmother, aunts and uncles, not to mention my neighbors. In fact, if you lived in the rural South prior to the 1960s when the use of mechanical cotton pickers became widespread and were able to get to the fields, you picked cotton. Picking cotton was so much a part of the culture that rural schools had split “vacations,” with school starting back in July for six weeks, then getting out for “cotton picking” in the fall.

Payne’s reaction is that of a northern black person with little real knowledge of the South and of the practices before his time. (He’s also a “Democratic strategist,” which says a lot.) Black northerners have been attributing racial prejudice to sayings common in the South for decades. For example, when I was in the Air Force, I had a roommate who was a mulatto from Harlem – his father was “Irish” and his mother was black. The first thing he said to me when we met was that I had better not ever call him nigger – as if I ever had any attention of doing so. (“Nigger” was known to be considered by blacks as synonymous with a “sorry” white person. Incidentally, the term “white trash” originated with slaves who used it to refer to poor whites with no land or slaves of their own.) That, however, is not my point. He went on a trip as a student with a sergeant instructor from Georgia who, like most Southerners, had a habit of calling everyone “boy.” My roommate took umbrage, but the sergeant, who lived across the hall from us, sat him down and explained that everyone in the South called each other “boy” and “girl” regardless of whether they were white or black. Although we never became friends, at least he seemed to understand that everyone wasn’t looking down on him after that.

It seems that blacks in the North have concocted a number of mistaken ideas. An example is the term “soul food” which came about in the 1960s when blacks from the South opened restaurants in New York and other northern cities and called their fare “soul food” at a time when blacks had started referring to certain forms of music and black culture as “soul.” In truth, what is now commonly called soul food is actually nothing but rural Southern cooking. Rural people in the South, white and black, made full use of the animals they slaughtered and grew crops foreign to northerners such as collard and turnip greens. Hog intestines were cleaned and called chitlins, which is short for chitterlings. White families ate them, as did blacks. Personally, I love chitlins the way my mother fixed them. She breaded and fried them and we ate them with her biscuits. Catfish were practically a delicacy at our house (blacks were famous for eating “rough fish” such as carp and buffalo.)

Payne seems to have taken exception to Bossie’s comment because his grandparents were sharecroppers. Again, so what? Share cropping was a means by which people who owned no land of their own could make a crop and living, and large numbers of sharecroppers were white. Sharecropping was a means of allowing a landowner to get full use of their land. Before farming became mechanized, a single family could farm some forty acres. Although it’s commonly believed – apparently especially by blacks – that sharecropping came along after the Civil War, the practice actually dates back for centuries and was and still is common in many parts of the world. (There is a difference between a sharecropper and a tenant farmer. Sharecroppers are laborers who provide the labor to raise a crop for a share while a tenant farmer rents the land from the landowner and provides everything necessary to raise a crop. Tenant farming is common today – my own land is rented to local farmers to raise a crop each year.) Sharecroppers were provided everything they needed by the landowner, including a house and plot of land where they could grow their own food and raise hogs and maintain a cow or two for milk.

There is a common misconception that picking cotton is hard work. Actually, while cotton-picking by hand is tedious, it’s not particularly hard and its definitely not backbreaking. Personally, I’d much rather pick cotton out in the open fall air then work in a foundry or factory. Cotton-picking is not a constant, year-long task. Cotton becomes ripe for picking in late summer or early fall, depending on the length of the growing season and when the crop is planted, and is picked over a 6-8 week period. The image of slaves or sharecroppers laboring in the fields from dusk to dawn 365 days a year is false; the actual days spent in the field for cotton-picking is more like 65 days, if that.

As for the use of the term “cotton-picking” as an adjective, the origin is unsure. So, for that matter, is the meaning except that it is used to add emphasis to a statement – for example, “She’s a cotton-picking liar!” Another common use is “Just a cotton-picking minute!” “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind” is another. However, in no way is the use of the term “cotton-picking” derogatory to blacks, as the media often claims. The only connection to blacks is that blacks picked cotton, but so did whites.

Border Diversion

The news media – and Democrats – have focused their attention over the past few days on the McAllen, Texas area and the Health and Human Services facilities where young children who were brought into the country illegally are being housed until they can be sent to relatives in the United States or returned to their parents, who have been incarcerated for violating US immigration laws. There has been copious handwringing and ain’t it awfuls by people who have no clue about the actual events. What many Americans fail to grasp is that it is no coincidence that this “story” broke almost immediately after the contents of the DOJ Office of the Attorney General report on the Hillary Clinton Email investigation was released. When the report was first released – and before anyone in the media had read it – the “news” was that the report had found no evidence of bias, but then it came out that, in fact, there had  been multiple incidents of demonstrated bias on the part of five senior investigators. That’s when the shit hit the fan and the media realized it had to come up with something to divert attention from the report. They decided to focus on the plight of illegal immigrants who were being charged for Federal crimes and incarcerated, and were separated from their children as a result. The tactic worked, although it’s now coming out that members of the media and left-wing politicians have exaggerated the situation and in some cases, outright lied.

For some time now, thousands of teenagers, mostly from Central America, have been detained along the Mexican border. In recent weeks, there has been a horde of people coming up from Central America, particularly Honduras and El Salvador, with the intent of sneaking across the Rio Grande River into Texas then making their way to cities in hopes of finding employment. When they are caught, some claim that they are seeking asylum, not so much for political reasons but because they claim they are fleeing gang violence or, in the case of women, domestic abuse. Since they are in violation of Federal immigration laws, they are charged and incarcerated until their case can be brought to court. Many illegals are women, who have brought children and grandchildren with them. Dick Durbin, a left-winger from Illinois, claimed these people are coming from “three of the most dangerous countries in the world.” His comment was a lie – those countries don’t even come close to such an assertion. In fact they rank BELOW EVEN THE UNITED STATES, not to mention Mexico.

Now, while the United States does admit people who seek asylum, they – and everyone else – are required to enter the United States at an official port of entry where they present themselves as asylum-seekers to the Homeland Security people at the facility. US law requires that ANYONE who crosses the border, regardless of their citizenship, MUST enter through an official entry point – without exception. In the case of the people currently being detained, they snuck across the border and were apprehended by the Border Patrol. The only thing “new” is that there have been increasing numbers in recent weeks. The leftwing American media has misrepresented the situation. An example is the current TIME magazine cover story, which originally claimed that a little girl shown looking up at President Donald Trump was separated from her mother. In fact, the photograph was taken by a Getty News photographer who was on a ride-a-long with a Border Patrol agent who came across a group of illegals who had just crossed the Rio Grande on a raft. The photo was snapped of the tearful little girl while her mother was being searched. The photo was represented as showing a little girl who was being separated from her mother when, in fact, there was no separation. As a matter of fact, small children under the age of four ARE NOT separated from their parents.

While accounts of children and parents being separated at the border is heart-wrenching, the media’s true intent is to divert the nation’s and the world’s attention away from the DOJ/FBI OIG report on the Hillary Clinton Email investigations and the appearance of the report’s author, Michael Horowitz, before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the resulting firings of Federal agents who exhibited bias toward Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump in communications with other agents. One of those fired was former Deputy for Counterespionage Peter Strzok, who led the Email investigation then took over the investigation of alleged Russian “interference” in the US presidential election. Strzok’s security clearance was stripped from him and he was escorted from FBI Headquarters this past Friday. Horowitz revealed to the Senate committee that Strzok is under investigation for his role in the initiation of the Russia investigation, and the possibility that he used his position because he was biased against Donald Trump. His cohort and alleged lover, Lisa Page, left the FBI a month ago. Of course, there has been little mention of Strzok’s removal in the so-called “mainstream” media because they’re focusing on the “situation” on the border and on the wording on the back of the raincoat First Lady Melanie Trump wore onto the Air Force transport that took her to McAllen, Texas to inspect the facilities where children are housed while their disposition is determined. (Federal policy is to send them to live with relatives who are in the US legally if at all possible. If not, they remain in DHS hands until their parents’ case has been decided then are usually deported along with them.)

Santa Fe

I got up on the morning of Friday, May 20 and went downstairs and turned on the TV. My wife had left earlier in the morning for work and I was home with the dogs. When I turned it on, I was surprised that scheduled programming had been replaced by local news about an unfolding incident at the high school in Santa Fe, a community some twenty-three miles from me. There were reports of a shooting with possible deaths but details were sketchy. Aerial shots taken from the TV station helicopters showed ambulances and helicopters parked on the school parking lot.

I had no idea there was a Santa Fe, Texas until one May afternoon in 1994 when I stopped for supper at a Cajun restaurant just off of I-10 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I’d been to Houston many times in my job as a corporate pilot and now I was on way there to start a new life. The young waitress and I were chatting and after I told her I was on my way to Houston, she said “I’m from Santa Fe.” I thought she meant Santa Fe, New Mexico but she told me no, she meant Santa Fe, Texas and said it’s a community south of Houston. As it turned out, my new home in Clear Lake was only a few miles from Santa Fe and I’d soon meet people from there, including the president’s secretary at my new place of employment. I soon learned that Santa Fe has a large population of people of Czech ancestry. That was almost a quarter century ago. Since then I found a new wife and eventually a new home on the southwest side of Houston. My wife and I often drive through Santa Fe on our way to and from Galveston and have stopped for breakfast at the local McDonalds (the worst in the world!) and have visited the Haak Winery. We are familiar with the high school, which sits right off of Texas 6. In short, Santa Fe has become a familiar place and I was shocked to learn there was an incident at the school.

Most of the local affiliates had little real news but I found that the local FOX outlet was in contact by text message and phone with teenagers who had been at the school but had managed to leave the school grounds. Some had actually been in the classroom where the shooting took place. They said the shootings were in the back of the school building in the art department and that the shooter had used a shotgun and a pistol. They also revealed that people had been killed and wounded, at a time when ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates still had no information. When news teams started interviewing “victims,” their subjects were people who had been nowhere near the actual shootings, which caused considerable consternation among those who were. As the day drew on, more information became available and the toll of dead and wounded grew. The final toll was ten dead and thirteen wounded.

Something stood out about the Santa Fe shooting in comparison to the recent shootings that captured the attention of the nation, particularly the media – there were no “assault-style rifles” involved. Instead, the shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzisa, 17-year old student at the school, used a common shotgun, a Remington 870 pump-action commonly known as the Wingmaster, and a .38 caliber revolver, both owned by his father. The barrel of the shotgun was allegedly sawed-off but whether it was a special version of the famous shotgun designed for military and law enforcement use has never been revealed. (The only difference between the sporting and military/law enforcement versions are semantics. Military versions have a longer magazine tube and can accommodate more shells. The sporting version holds four shells in the magazine and one in the barrel.) The shooter was reported to have worn a long overcoat, apparently a military-style duster, and combat boots. However, although the coat allowed him to conceal the shotgun, he was known to have worn similar dress on a regular basis.

Now, let me state that I grew up with firearms in the house. Some of my earliest memories are of shooting my dad’s .22. I started hunting at age nine and received my first shotgun, an Ithaca 20-gauge pump, as a present when I was eleven. I hunted with my dad’s 12-gauge automatic and single and double-barrel shotguns as well. I also hunted with his .22. I also had a Daisy pump-action BB gun and knew the difference between an air rifle and a firearm in terms of killing power. I have no problem whatsoever with children, especially teenagers, having access to firearms as long as they are experienced. Experience with firearms is common in rural areas such as that surrounding Santa Fe.

Of course, as soon as word of the shooting became public knowledge, gun control advocates began blaming the young man’s access to firearms as the cause of the shooting. However, as anyone with any knowledge of firearms knows, they are merely tools. The common axiom, “Guns don’t kill, people do” is true. But there is another factor present in the Santa Fe shooting, a factor that was also present in the Parkland, Florida shootings and in other shootings at schools, particularly high schools. There was a girl involved – and she was obviously the young man’s principal target. According to her parents, 16-year old Shana Fisher had publically embarrassed the shooter two weeks before his actions.

Just what the girl said to the boy or where or how she said it has yet to be revealed, but based on her parents’ accounts, it was in the presence of others and her words caused embarrassment so great that the girl believed he would kill her as a result. They had not been dating, as was the case in the Parkland and Great Mills, Maryland shootings. According to her parents, the boy had been pestering her for several months to go out with him but she had refused. Her mother claims that she refused because the boy had recently broke up with one of her friends and she didn’t believe she should a friend’s boyfriend. Fisher’s parents claim Pagourtzis pestered Fisher for four months before she unloaded on him, apparently in a public setting. It is possible that the story about the two teenagers is a fabrication. His closest friends said he was “shy around girls and never had a girlfriend.” However, Shana Fisher was reported to have been the first victim and Pagourtzis evidently wanted to make sure she was dead. According to reports, when he came into the classroom, he pointed the shotgun at one student, apparently Fisher, and shouted “I’m going to kill you!” At least one witness said that after he started shooting, he turned the gun on one girl who had already been shot and was lying on the floor and shot her twice more in the head. Fisher’s mother told reporters the girl’s body was so disfigured she was unrecognizable.

Much has been made of the “Born to Kill” T-shirt Pagourtzis posted an image of on his Facebook page and reportedly wore under his trench coat on the day of the shooting. Some claimed “Born to Kill” is an alt-right slogan but in fact, it’s an old term going back to World War II, at least. There was a 1947 movie called Born to Kill. The term was used frequently during the Vietnam War as soldiers and Marines wrote it on their helmets or even had it tattooed on their arms. Pagourtzis is reported to have said he wanted to be a Marine.

Pagourtzis claimed after the shooting that he had no memory of the events (which is likely true) and his lawyer claimed he had no knowledge of the situation with Fisher. Very little has appeared in the media, even the local Houston-area media, since right after the shootings and there have been no published accounts from students of the confrontation between the two teenagers. Some students did claim, however, that Pagourtzis had been bullied, by adults as well as fellow students. The school district denied bullying by coaches, as students alleged.

In regard to bullying of students who went on killing sprees, a Federal study conducted after the Columbine, Colorado shootings found that shooters had been bullied in 70% of cases. On the other hand, one “journalist” who wrote a book about the Columbine shootings claimed that bullying wasn’t a factor. However, a close friend of one of the shooters, who wrote his own book, said they were definitely bullying victims. There is no doubt that Nikolas Cruz, who carried out the Parkland shootings, had been bullied for most of his life. Cruz had also suffered a broken relationship with a girl, apparently at the girl’s mother’s insistence, shortly before he decided to carry out a Valentines Day massacre. Great Mills, Maryland High School student Austin Rollins shot his former girlfriend, Jaelynn Willey, with a Glock pistol and wounded another student then shot himself after engaging with a security officer. There was another shooting earlier this year in Italy, a small town near Dallas, involving two students who had briefly dated. It appears that boy-girl relationships are a frequent factor in high school shootings.

Needless to say, the Santa Fe shootings attracted the media as well as gun control advocates. Local Houston media lost no time in interviewing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and police Chief Art Acevedo, even though neither has any jurisdiction in Santa Fe and Galveston County. Acevedo’s outrageous comments that students should vote for gun control advocates led to condemnation by the National Rifle Association. Acevedo, a Cuban immigrant who grew up in California, is notorious for his leftwing political views. He was on the verge of being fired from his job as police chief in leftwing Austin when he was hired by the (equally leftwing) city of Houston. Attempts by the notorious Parkland, Florida antigun students and other antigun crusaders to get involved were rebuffed by the local community. A handful of Santa Fe students spoke at a press conference organized by a Houston gun control group but it was held in West Houston, over fifty miles from Santa Fe.

Since there has been no statement from the authorities regarding Pagourtzis’ motive, I don’t know what to think, other than that the shootings seem to have somehow been the result of his insane anger at Shana Fisher.

 

A Real Cluster Fuck

I had ever heard the term “cluster fuck” until I saw the Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Bridge but after reading the ENTIRE DOJ inspector general’s report on the Hillary Clinton Email investigation, I can’t find a better term to describe it. Let me start off by stating that Hillary Clinton’s actions by declining to use the official State Department domain for her official communications is a violation of US policy as well as an invitation to foreign actors to penetrate her communications and extract sensitive and classified information. Her intentions were obvious to anyone with any experience in government – to avoid scrutiny. The result was the compromising of numerous pieces of classified information, including at least two that were in the super-secret, higher than Top Secret category. Yet FBI and DOJ investigators determined that Clinton wasn’t guilty of a prosecutable crime.
As I read the DOJ OIG report, it became more and more obvious that the investigators had no intention of finding evidence to indict and convict Clinton. The FBI and Justice Department decided to limit their investigation to determining if Clinton could be charged under 18 US Code 793 (f) – Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. Instead of examining computers and telephones belonging to members of Clinton’s team, the FBI and DOJ investigators limited themselves to Clinton’s own devices – which were no longer existent – and computers used to cull the former Secretary of State’s Emails prior to turning over her alleged work-related Emails to the Department of State to be archived, as is required by Federal law. As a result, in excess of 30,000 Clinton Emails were allegedly “lost” and could not be scrutinized by the investigators.

Although Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed the investigators to refer to the investigation as a “matter” and President Barack Obama made like it was a minor incident, it was actually a full-fledged CRIMINAL investigation, even though the report makes it obvious that the FBI investigators and DOJ prosecutors imposed limitations on themselves, apparently so they wouldn’t find enough evidence to warrant charges. Although Inspector General Horowitz “found” that the investigation was unbiased, a reading of the report shows just the opposite – it was intended to be a whitewash from the beginning.

One thing that struck me about the OIG report is that the various subjects seemed to have possible selective memory loss when it came to recalling conversations, phone calls and meetings. Granted, their failure to recall details are in common with the human mind’s many foibles but there is also something fishy about it. “Plausible deniability” is a byword of Federal officials, from presidents on down the chains of command. Even though they took notes in many instances, the notes are so sketchy that even the notetakers have a difficult time understanding them. Of course, this is common with notes taken during a conversation or meeting.

During the investigation, the prosecutors preferred to use voluntary means to persuade witnesses to submit to interview rather than subpoena or warrants to obtain computers and phones. Witnesses were not sworn in and placed under oath. This was also true of Clinton, who was the last to be interviewed and then several months after senior executives in the FBI and DOJ decided there would be a declination to prosecute. Prosecutors allowed Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to be present at Clinton’s interview even though they were themselves witnesses. Mills and Samuelson were responsible for culling Clinton’s Emails and should have been suspects. They were both Clinton insiders with no experience in government recordkeeping. Mills and Samuelson are both attorneys and were representing Clinton even though they were witnesses. The OIG faulted the prosecutors for allowing the two women to be present.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Justice and thus under the authority of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the investigative unit of the DOJ, reported to Director James Comey but Lynch had the final say in the conduct of the investigation. It became apparent early on that Lynch, who had been appointed by and reported to President Barrack Obama, was anxious to exonerate Clinton. Soon after the investigation got under way, Lynch instructed Comey and the DOJ prosecutors to refer to the investigation as a “matter” and to not use the word “investigation”. The Clinton campaign downplayed the investigation as a small matter and Obama himself, who knew Clinton was the subject of a criminal investigation, also downplayed it. After one meeting with Lynch, Comey came away feeling that Lynch was “carrying water” for Clinton. The FBI received information that Lynch intended to exonerate Clinton. The information remains classified, but the OIG revealed that it also claimed that Comey intended to carry the investigation through the election. Investigators believed the information was bogus, but nevertheless classified it and have yet to reveal the information. Comey’s distrust of Lynch would influence his later actions.

Shortly before agents and prosecutors interviewed Clinton, her husband, former President William J. Clinton, precipitated an incident at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that caused great consternation for Comey, in particular. Often erroneously called the “Tarmac” meeting, the impromptu meeting took place aboard the Air Force VIP transport carrying Lynch and her entourage on an inspection/speaking tour. (Tarmac is actually the brand name of an archaic paving technique used in the early Twentieth Century. It is commonly used by ignorant journalists to refer to the airplane parking ramp or apron at airports. Such ramps are actually made of concrete. The use of Tarmac is fairly recent. The author spent a lifetime in aviation, civilian as well as military, and not once did I ever hear an aircraft parking ramp referred to as a “Tarmac.”) Clinton’s private airplane was parked near the Air Force transport and the former president took it upon himself to force his way onto the attorney general’s airplane. Both Lynch and President Clinton claim that their conversation was all personal and had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation or anything else of an official nature. However, they were together for some twenty minutes in the cabin of the airplane where the only witness to their conversation was Lynch’s husband. Only Clinton, Lynch and Lynch’s husband know the actual content of the conversation.

The former president also played a role in the establishment of the private Internet server. Although the IG did not explore it and investigators never talked to him, “Slick Willy” claimed that he never thought much of the Email investigation and that the server belonged to him. Regarding the server and the use of Email, FBI investigators stated that they found Mrs. Clinton to be “technologically ignorant.” Investigators excused the use of the Clinton server to send messages containing classified information by rationalizing that the messages were only seen by State Department personnel and that they were sent by people who “talked around” the content during off-hours such as weekends. Bear in mind that at least two of those messages contained information that was classified above the Top Secret level. (Although Top Secret is the official highest level of classification, there is another, unacknowledged, level that is even higher. It is generally applied to information such as military and diplomatic codes.)

During her interview, Clinton claimed that she didn’t know how classified information was marked. Now, Mrs. Clinton had occupied the White House for eight years where she played an active told then served as a US Senator from New York for six years before her appointment as Secretary of State. All government personnel are given instruction on the marking and handling of classified information. Depending on their assignment, most government personnel are cleared for classified information up to the Secret level. Mrs. Clinton’s ignorance was either feigned or she really is ignorant. (Clinton is rumored to be an alcoholic who is usually drunk by mid-afternoon.) There is one thing for certain – ignorant or deliberate, Clinton’s use of an unsecure Email server allowed dozens of classified Emails to wind up on computers where they shouldn’t have been, and exposed them to the threat of interception by hostile powers.

Both the FBI and the DOJ had made up their minds by early 2016 that they were not going to charge Hillary Clinton with any crimes. Director Comey was especially concerned with how the information that no charges would be filed would be released to the public. He drafted a message as early as May 2016 in which he stated that although Mrs. Clinton had exhibited “gross negligence,” “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges. On July 5, without approval from Lynch or Yates, Comey addressed the nation. Although he stated that no charges would be filed, he made it very clear that Clinton had violated Federal policy and removal of any and all security clearances and loss of employment would have been appropriate. “Gross negligence” was replaced by “extremely careless” but the message he was sending to his fellow FBI agents and other Federal employees and military personnel was clear – Hillary Clinton had placed the security of the United States at risk by her use of an unofficial and unprotected Email server.

Although the investigating team and the DOJ, not to mention the White House, were fully aware of it, the OIG report ignores that the Clinton Email investigation was truly unique in the history of the United States – a presidential candidate was being investigated for their actions as a senior official in the United States government. Investigators determined that Clinton’s actions – and the actions of others who sent classified information to her unofficial Email account – had violated USC 793(f) but decided to go around it by claiming a requirement for “criminal intent,” which is not spelled out or even mentioned in the law, which only requires a negligent act. By using an unsecure server, Clinton was effectively doing the same as leaving a classified document in a bar in a foreign country – just removing a document from a secure place is negligent conduct. My personal experience with classified information is from the military, where each squadron had a “classifieds” officer. We were required to read the squadron classified information file monthly. Classified documents were kept locked in a safe. We went to the classifieds officer and he removed the file from the safe and we read them in his presence. On aircrews, the navigator was designated as the classifieds officer and all classified documents were in his care, with the exception of technical orders, which were signed for by whoever was using them.

A major finding by the OIG was the possibility of political bias on the part of some investigators. Although the IG determined that there was no evidence that bias had played a part in the investigator’s findings, conversations made on official Federal servers in the form of instant messages indicated the possibility, As it turns, out no less than five of the FBI agents and Federal prosecutors in the investigation – including Peter Strzok, the head of the FBI counter-espionage division – revealed themselves through personal messages recorded on Federal communication systems to be virulent Clinton supporters and, after he became the nominee, Trump haters. Their intent – along with high-level DOJ executives including Loretta Lynch and her deputy, Sally Yates – seems to have been to exonerate Clinton by claiming there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges. Had FBI Director James Comey not decided to make a public statement, the nation would have never known that although no charges were brought, the investigation revealed that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in regard to classified information (“grossly negligent” was changed to “extremely careless” in the final draft of Comey’s address to the nation.)