Hey, wait a minute: Blaming Russia for exposing our own corruption?

by John Hnatio

In a new twist on an old story, President Obama has just announced that Russian leaders at the highest level, assumedly President Putin himself, authorized the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hilary Clinton’s e-mails. The president has gone so far as to threaten “measured” retaliatory acts against the Russian Federation for interfering with the U.S. election process.

As a loyal and patriotic American I must ask myself how we, as a nation, ever reached the levels of hypocrisy that we are currown-worst-enemyently engaged in.  No one it appears wants to think below the surface to view the ugly truth—we are our own worst enemy.  All the White House spin on the story will not change the simple facts.  We still look like absolute fools on the world stage.

On July 24, 2016, in an interview with NPR, former DNC Chair and current Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe said the chair’s job should be to remain neutral. “I sat in that chair in 2004 trying to navigate all the different candidates we had.  But if you had people in there who were trashing one of the candidates, I can tell you this, if I were still chairman they wouldn’t be working there. I mean, that is just totally unacceptable behavior.”[i]

In a May 2016, e-mail chain, the DNC chief financial officer (CFO) Brad Marshall said that someone should ask Sanders if he is an atheist.[ii] In another email, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, said of Bernie Sanders, “He isn’t going to be president.”[iii]  In another e-mail Schultz called Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager: “Damn liar,”[iv] and in another she said “He’s an ass,”[v] and the list goes on and on and on.

The significance of the leaks is that they show the co­ordinated efforts within the DNC to help Clinton at the expense of Bernie Sanders contradicting claims by the DNC and the Clinton campaign that the process was neutral, open and fair.  In the end, Schulz; CEO Amy Dacey; chief finance officer Brad Marshall; and communications director Luis Miranda were fired but only after a firestorm of complaints and only after their activities were publicly exposed.

Then there’s the matter of the unauthorized e-mail system used by Hillary Clinton—e-mails that contained some of the most highly classified national security information imaginable.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed that at least 65 of Clinton’s e-mails were “Secret” and 22 were “Top Secret.”

ComeyThe corruption of the U.S. justice system was put on full display for the entire world to watch when FBI Director Comey exonerated Clinton of any criminal charges for establishing her own server and mishandling classified information.

If you do not think this type of behavior by both Clinton and Comey looks bad to the rest of the world you are badly mistaken.  The hypocrisy becomes evident when we consider what happened to others for far lesser offenses involving the mishandling of classified information.[vi]

Take for example the case of Sandy Berger who pled guilty to illegally sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives by stuffing papers in his suit.  He later destroyed some of them in his office and lied about it.  Berger was sentenced to probation and fined $50,000 for illegally removing highly classified documents from the National Archives and intentionally destroying some of them.[vii]

Then there’s the case of Bryan Nishimura of Folsom, California, who pled guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials during stints in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008.  “An FBI search of Nishimura’s home turned up classified materials, but did not reveal any evidence he intended to distribute them.”  The exact words used to clear Hillary of her misdeeds.  Instead, Nishimura was sentenced to two years’ probation, fined $7,500, and had to surrender his security clearance. Meanwhile, Clinton will be able to serve as Commander-in-Chief.”[viii]

Or, how about the case of U.S. Marine reservist Major Jason Brezler who accidentally took home several documents on his personal computer, some of which were classified. He was in a graduate school class when he received an urgent e-mail from military officials in Afghanistan and sent a specific document in response, using his personal e-mail account.  The document was classified, and that led to an internal review.  Brezler was dismissed from the Marine Corps for the offense.

We could literally go through tens and tens and tens of similar cases where people who did far less than Clinton were held responsible for their actions criminally and otherwise.  But we think you get the idea.  The bottom line for the entire world to see is that there are two forms of justice in the United States—one for the powerful like Comey and Clinton and another for all of the rest of us.

Now President Obama, in an attempt at White House political spin, is trying to blame Russian leaders for exposing what the world already knows—there is corruption in U.S. politics.  Of course, no one in the media is asking President Obama if his recent actions to vilify the Russians is a kind of “tail wagging the dog” scenario of his own to intentionally impact the outcome of the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.  But when you take the time to look at the internal DNC e-mails leaked to WikiLeaks you will quickly realize that the White House was working directly with Debbie Wassaman Schulz at the DNC to interfere with a Democratic Party candidate selection process that was supposed to be neutral, open and fair.  You see, Bernie Sanders was not an establishment politician.  Hillary Clinton is.

So, instead of trying to conjure up excuses for our own reprehensible conduct and then blame others for embarrassing us (which may be true), perhaps we should try something different for a change.  How about insisting on a bit of integrity?  How about refraining from engaging in unethical conduct?  Then we won’t have to worry about the Russians showing our politicians up for what we really are.  Besides, if we start to act ethically it could give us the moral upper ground—something we seem to have lost in the world.



[iii] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/23/us/politics/dnc-emails-sanders-clinton.html

[iv] http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/debbie-wasserman-schultz-jeff-weaver-226032



[vii] http://www.weeklystandard.com/obama-dines-with-man-caught-stealing-destroying-classified-documents/article/804668

[viii] Ibid.

Investigating Complex Issues