A Washington maxim is that the cover-up is always worse than the crime.
But this pithy statement doesn't necessarily apply to Mrs. Clinton's deleting her emails, bad as that is.
It is at least theoretically possible that what was in the emails could have been vastly more devastating to Mrs. Clinton's prospects than the cover-up. We may of course never know.
Still, the FBI is currently investigating Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email system.
And we do know now that it has been discovered that in a sampling from her (still extant) emails there were ones that were classified top secret, which contradicts Clinton's earlier statement that she was "confident" that she had never sent classified material over her private system.
An editorial in the Examiner lays it out very clearly:
Clinton, who previously maintained that she had sent no classified information at all by email, sent top-secret information that is classified as "Sensitive Compartmented" and "Talent Keyhole," meaning it had to do with top-secret satellite imagery. When government officials with the proper classification want to process, look at or even discuss materials like the ones Clinton sent through her insecure home-based email system, they must do so within special secure government facilities where phones and other possible recording devices are prohibited.
There is no way to spin this one: Clinton broke the law. Her campaign now absurdly tells everyone that the FBI is investigating her conduct, not her — a distinction without a difference.
Her campaign released a panicky memo invoking nearly every possible excuse and pointing fingers in every direction except her own. It mentioned, for example, the completely irrelevant fact that Jeb Bush, as governor of Florida, had his own private email server. . . .
Surely, Clinton never wanted to become a national security threat, let alone a subject of an FBI criminal investigation. But she made the choice when she decided she was above the rules that apply to all other employees at the State Department.
Meanwhile, Politico has a story headlined "Hillary Clinton Email Probe Turns to Huma Abedin." Abedin, a longtime Clinton confidante and aide, was also using Clinton's home-brew internet server. You would not have to be a suspicious person to believe this was because Clinton and Abedin didn't want their exchanges to become a part of the public record. Abedin, in an arrangement currently under investigation, worked for the Clinton State Department while at the same time working for private employers (including the Clinton Foundation).
The question has been raised about whether Abedin used the Clinton server after she left the State Department as a full-time employee and whether this posed a threat to classified information.
The Clinton campaign, as Politico reports, has "waved off" questions about Abedin's emails, saying that they are arising as part of the regular innuendo of a political season. But this is not the case:
But Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ project on government secrecy, said Abedin’s potential access to secret materials could be a problem.
“What happens if [a former government employee] still retains access through a prior server, to information that was justified by a previous position? That’s not supposed to happen — and that’s one of the anomalies that are created by the private server,” Aftergood said.
Classified materials with national security implications are supposed to be stored in a place where no one can gain access to them unless they have special clearance.
I am wondering if Mrs. Clinton, if elected, would be the first president ever who had had trouble managing classified information.