The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.
Because Sharks Don’t Take Selfies
“True Story: Selfies Killed More People Than Sharks This Year”—headline, E! Online, Sept. 21
What Would We Do Without Experts?
“Cubs Fans and Players Should ‘Enjoy the Ride,’ Experts Say”—headline, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 21
He’d Say 1436 if He Weren’t So Islamophobic
“Bernie Sanders Slams Ben Carson For Anti-Muslim Comments: ‘This Is the Year 2015’ ”—Huffington Post, Sept. 20
Breaking News From 1941
“Japan’s Shocking Upset Commands the World’s Notice”—headline, New York Times, Sept. 22
Breaking News From 1980
“Why Jimmy Carter Couldn’t Win Today’s South”—headline, Bloomberg View, Sept. 20
Bottom Story of the Day
“A Brave Swedish Hockey Team in Rainbow Jerseys Continues the Fight Against Homophobia”—headline, Swedish Institute press release, Sept. 22
You may recall that last month, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s campaign said that the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee had agreed to turn over her illicit private email server to the federal government. Earlier this month came the news, reported by the Washington Post Sept. 12, that Platte River Networks, the company that managed the server, “said it has ‘no knowledge of the server being wiped,’ the strongest indication to date that tens of thousands of e-mails that Clinton has said were deleted could be recovered”:
[Mrs.] Clinton and her advisers have said for months that she deleted her personal correspondence from her time as secretary of state, creating the impression that 31,000 e-mails were gone forever. . . .
“Platte River has no knowledge of the server being wiped,” company spokesman Andy Boian told The Washington Post. “All the information we have is that the server wasn’t wiped.”[Mrs.] Clinton and her staff have avoided directly answering whether the server was ever wiped.
In a memorable exchange at a campaign event in Las Vegas last month, Clinton turned aside a question about whether the server had been wiped with a joke: “Like what, with a cloth?” she said, adding, “I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”
Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out they did use a cloth? Or with a paper product, given DailyMail.com’s August report that the server was housed in what Mrs. Clinton might call a “convenience.”
Anyway, you might think this is all good news for the public’s right to know—that now, any official emails her lawyers deleted will be recovered for the public record.
Alas, you’d be wrong. At least for now, Mrs. Clinton’s emails are being held in a bureaucratic silo, concealed from public view and even from the State Department. That’s the upshot of this report from the Washington Times:
The FBI refused to cooperate Monday with a court-ordered inquiry into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email server, telling the State Department that they won’t even confirm they are investigating the matter themselves, much less [be] willing to tell the rest of the government what’s going on.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan had ordered the State Department to talk with the FBI and see what sort of information could be recovered from Mrs. Clinton’s email server, which her lawyer has said she turned over to the Justice Department over the summer.
The FBI general counsel described the refusal to cooperate as “consistent with long-standing Department of Justice and FBI policy,” and no doubt that is true—although it has been widely reported, based on information that unnamed officials unofficially provided, that the FBI is conducting a national-security investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton or others mishandled classified information and possibly whether the server was vulnerable to foreign hackers or actually hacked.
Judge Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit against the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act, and the plaintiff is understandably unhappy:
“We still do not know whether the FBI—or any other government agency for that matter—has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and [top aide Huma] Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department,” Judicial Watch said.
“We also do not know whether the server purportedly in the possession of the FBI—an assumption based on unsworn statements by third parties—is the actual email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business during their four years of employment at the State Department or whether it is a copy of such an email server. Nor do we know whether any copies of the email server or copies of the records from the email server exist,” the group said in its own court filing Monday afternoon.
And we probably won’t know for some time. The national-security questions the FBI is investigating are separate from the public-records issue the Judicial Watch lawsuit and others raise. The FBI is not a party to the FOIA lawsuit, and even if it were, it’s unlikely the bureau would release information collected as part of an investigation still under way.
Thus by giving her server to the FBI, Mrs. Clinton appears to have ensured that the public, the State Department and congressional investigators won’t see what’s on it anytime soon. No wonder she’s laughing. …..
For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”