While the Star Tribune Editorial Board and the rest of the media hyperventilate over Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mails while secretary of state, let’s review:
• 97 percent of the e-mails she sent contained no classified information.
• 99.3 percent of the e-mails she sent were not marked classified when sent.
• 100 percent of her statements to the FBI were truthful. (Lying to the FBI is a crime. If she had lied to them on Saturday, denying what they by then knew to be fact, FBI Director James Comey made it clear on Tuesday that this would be evidence of criminal conduct.) There was no evidence, three years later, that any of her e-mails were used by anyone anywhere to compromise the security of the United States.
Using a private e-mail server to conduct government business is not prohibited by statute, criminal or otherwise. We all can safely assume that the job of the secretary of state is a busy one. If she wanted to send a one-sentence e-mail, she could take 10 minutes or so to log onto the secured system or 10 seconds to send it through her server.
Careless? Yeah, but more efficient, and, as it turns out, no harm done. When was the last time you received a 97 percent rating on your job performance?
James McGovern, Minneapolis
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I’m wondering how many senators, House members and their staffs could pass an examination similar to the one Clinton underwent in the handling of the top-secret and other confidential information they encounter in the course of their work in the government? I would be surprised if every one of them had perfect records of compliance with all statutes and regulations.
Mary Leizinger, Victoria
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I have no political experience other than what is learned working in corporate America for almost 40 years. One of the first rules you learn is that in order to avoid the wrath of your boss, you engage in the practice of “no surprises.” I have to believe it is no different in Washington, D.C. I cannot believe that Comey went on national television to announce the results of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server for her e-mail without first informing Attorney General Loretta Lynch of his plans. This certainly enabled the AG to make her announcement last week that she intended to accept the recommendations of the FBI in the case, and makes it very possible that her “chance” meeting with Bill Clinton in the Phoenix airport was for the purpose of sharing information with him, knowing that the message would get to candidate Clinton. While the meeting with Mr. Clinton could be labeled a “mistake,” it certainly makes that scenario possible.
James Showalter, Champlin
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Now that Comey has displayed that he is a loyal soldier, Clinton is on her way to the November election. While her supporters bask in her recent victories concerning Benghazi and e-mails, there is another concern to address.
The e-mails are undoubtedly in the possession of foreign governments. Knowledge is power, and this info can be used to defeat policies, procedures and intelligence. While the “intent” wasn’t there to pass off intel, the result is still the same. While “e-mailgate” will fade in the ensuing weeks, rest assured that the critical content of thousands of e-mails will be used against the country. While one person has evaded prosecution, how will 300 million Americans be affected?
There is no indication that Clinton has learned a lesson, but I wonder if the electorate has?
Joe Polunc, Cologne
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The Democrats say “case closed.” The Republicans excoriate Comey for failing to indict. That other Republican says, “The system is rigged.”
They’re missing the point, all of them. This is an issue of entitlement. Surely, the secretary of state is entitled to behave as she wishes, no? Such an important person should not be bound by quotidian limitations. Geeky dudes at the State Department poring over confidences meant for friends and close associates? Certainly not.
Maybe we missed it because we are becoming ever more entitled ourselves. Growing up since the Pepsi Generation turned the staid ’50s inside out, we’ve all gotten trophies for just showing up, believed Garrison Keillor’s “all the children are above average,” and have been inundated by internet advertisements treating each of us as somehow special.
But entitlement is a more serious indictment than the ones we’re hearing. Entitlement brings lack of awareness. Of all the qualities I would hope to see in a president, awareness — the ability to see beyond the Washington bubble and understand beyond ideology — is the most important.
John B. Rogers, Golden Valley
I’ve lived both there and here, and let me tell you …
I had to laugh as I read the July 5 letter “Imagine Texans finally secede,” written by another probable Minnesota liberal who has never lived in the great state of Texas and knows nothing about it except that its residents cherish their constitutional rights and honor their history as an independent nation and state.
I have a unique perspective on this issue. I grew up in southern Minnesota, served in the Navy for 14 years, then made Texas my home for four years. After living in Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa as my career dictated, I returned home to Minnesota eight years ago to be closer to aging parents.
Let’s look at some of the letter writer’s claims. First, if Texas seceded tomorrow, it would instantly become the 12th-largest economy in the world. Texas is currently the sixth-largest oil-producing entity in the world. The Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale oil reserves total 10.7 billion barrels. The Bakken Shale and Williston Basin reserves total 5.7 billion barrels as of 2015. Texas owns 25 percent of America’s natural gas reserves and pioneered natural gas and propane for automotive fuel use. It leads the nation in wind-powered energy, producing one-fifth of the U.S. total in 2014. Thanks to its abundant sunshine, Texas will soon surpass California and Arizona in solar-powered energy. Texas is a leader in renewable energy. Only the Silicon Valley has more tech workers than Austin and Houston.
No need to worry about Texas having a strong military or being able to secure its borders. For three years, I served in the Texas Army National Guard — one of the finest Guard organizations in the U.S., led by combat experienced officers. Texas Guard infantry and armored units led the way for the coalition forces during the 1991 Gulf War and also the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. could take back its armor and aircraft. Fort Hood and many other Guard and Air Guard bases would be ready for the arrival of newly purchased jets and armor from their allies in Germany, Britain and France.
My wife and I look fondly back at the years we lived in Texas as the best place we have lived in the past 25 years — outgoing people who help their neighbors; well-maintained roads and highways, and very low taxes that foster and welcome new business and allow Texans to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. And — here is a bonus — Texas drivers know how to merge onto interstates properly and know that the left lane is for passing only.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Minnesota for the most part — the clean air and lakes, change of seasons, and the natural and varied beauty of the landscape. I just wonder how long those things will be able to overcome the high-income, vehicle-registration and sin taxes; a governor who meddles in other states’ business, and state-based corporations that try to shove their values and beliefs down our throats.
Marc Puhl, New Prague, Minn.