And the Rose Mary Woods Award goes to…former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rose Mary Woods of course was President Richard M. Nixon's private secretary, who became a household name when she created an 18 and a half minute gap in transcribing the Watergate tapes. She said it was inadvertent. Hillary Clinton knows all about Rose Mary Woods because Mrs. Clinton was a young staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.

We learned last week that Mrs. Clinton may have taken a leaf from Rose Mary Wood's book. The occasion for the comparison is the news, delivered by Clinton lawyer David Kendall (whom you may remember as a Clinton lawyer in the Whitewater controversy) the emails on the secret server Mrs. Clinton used when she was secretary of state have been wiped clean. Clinton spinners gamely try to convince us that these were only personal emails.

As Byron York notes, the question is whether Mrs. Clinton destroyed emails that were under subpoena from Congress. York observes:  

The answer is more complex than it might seem. There's no doubt Clinton withheld information that Congress demanded she turn over, and some Republicans believe the documents she destroyed were covered under a subpoena as well.

But a look at the story behind the subpoena and other document requests from congressional Benghazi investigators is a tale of obstruction, delay, and frustration that underscores the limits of Congress' power to investigate Benghazi. Clinton and her aides had the means to make life very difficult for Republicans trying to learn the full story of the attacks in Libya, and they did just that.

On September 20, 2014, nine days after the Benghazi attack in which four Americans were killed, including the first U.S. ambassador slain in the line of duty for more than three decades, Rep. Jason Chafetz, then chairman of the House asking for all documents pertaining to Benghazi. The Department of State delayed and after several months allowed Congress to look at documents in camera—that is, they could read them and make handwritten notes. The documents, however, could not be copied. They were made available to members of Congress in a reading room and taken away stored each night under lock and key. Republicans in the House considered this a highly unsatisfactory arrangement, and in August 2013 issued a subpoena to the State Department to produce the documents.

York writes:

To an outsider, this was the odd part: GOP committee investigators were demanding documents they were already seeing in the reading room. They weren't asking for previously-unseen materials, just for possession of what they were already allowed to see. "At the time we were fighting, the State Department had represented that they had produced everything," says the Hill Republican. "The issue we were fighting about was dominion and control of the documents. The whole purpose of the subpoena was to bring to a head the issue of possession."

Yet contrary to its claims, State had not in fact produced everything — there is now absolutely no doubt about that. "We didn't have any of Hillary's emails," the Republican says. "The State Department never made any mention of the fact that there was this [secret] email account. That fact was actively concealed from us."

Investigators were also concerned that there were few emails from key Hillary aides — Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Philippe Reines, Jake Sullivan and others. "Our whistleblowers told us she had an insular world," the Republican says. "You were either part of it or you weren't." Of course, what Republicans did not know was that Secretary Clinton did her business on the secret email system, and that top aides were in on it, too.

The State Department produced material in April of 2014. Not a single email from Mrs. Clinton was included. The House Select Committee on Benghazi was created May 8, 2014. State handed over fewer than ten emails from Mrs. Clinton, but those emails had a curious address: [email protected].

This set in motion the revelation that Mrs. Clinton had done her job as Secretary of State exclusively on a private server that would allow her to hide anything unflattering in what should have been the public record from the public. On March 4,  David Kendall informed the Benghazi Committee the contents of the secret server had been wiped clean.

"To avoid prolonging a discussion that would be academic, I have confirmed with the secretary's IT support that no emails from @[email protected] for the time period January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013 reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server," Kendall wrote. Those two dates, of course, bookend Clinton's entire term as secretary of state.

As is traditionally the case when it comes to Mrs. Clinton and unavailable documents, there is genuine confusion. There is a question of whether the subpoena was in effect when the emails were destroyed. York has a detailed discussion of the legal technicalities. The takeaway:

Whatever the case, there's no doubt Clinton destroyed evidence that was actively sought by congressional committees. And now she's telling investigators what they can do with their subpoenas. …

The bottom line is that the system of congressional investigations has a very difficult time dealing with an official who acts in bad faith, as Hillary Clinton did in the Benghazi affair.

She hid documents from investigators for more than two years, and then, when investigators wanted to see the larger group of documents from which she selected what would be released, she destroyed the whole thing.

The American voter likely will be given a chance to render a verdict on this kind of behavior in 2016. Democrats of course have an opportunity to make a judgment on such behavior in their primary season.  

John Adams, the first president to live in the White House, had a wish for future occupants:

On November 1, 1800, just before the election, Adams arrived in the new Capital City to take up his residence in the White House. On his second evening in its damp, unfinished rooms, he wrote his wife, "Before I end my letter, I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof."

Let us hope that Adams’ prayer will apply when that great day comes that the first woman will rule under that roof.

As Lisa Schiffren has pointed out there are many woman in this country who are accomplished and talented and have broken glass ceilings and one of them eventually will become president.

Somebody should tell the Democrats it is sexist to believe that Hillary Clinton is the only American woman who can win that honor in the near future.