Clinton as transparent as Obama — not very


The following editorial appeared in The Orange County Register on Tuesday, Oct. 6:

Hillary Clinton seems to have ripped a page from the Barack Obama playbook in addressing the ongoing controversy over work-related — and even classified — emails she kept on her private, unsecured server.

“I have gone further than anybody that I’m aware of in American history,” Clinton said of the release of her email messages at a town hall hosted by NBC’s “Today Show” on Monday. While acknowledging the relatively short history of email technology, “I’ve gone longer and farther to try to be as transparent as possible,” she asserted. “Nobody else has done that.”

Her statement recalls President Obama’s dubious claim, apparently made with a straight face, in February 2013 that his administration is “the most transparent administration in history.” Never mind that it has broken its own record this year for censoring or denying access to information made through Freedom of Information Act requests, including those concerning Clinton’s emails. Recall that it took a lawsuit by the Associated Press to gain access to such information, and subsequent judicial rulings to address the State Department’s foot-dragging on their release.

The administration’s lack of transparency and disdain for the freedom of the press and (other people’s) privacy is reflected in Freedom House’s annual Freedom of the Press indexes. While the United States is still among the “Free” nations in the index, it is no longer the paragon of First Amendment rights that it once was, and now ranks tied for just 31st out of the 63 “Free” nations.

The U.S. has seen a marked drop in its ranking in recent years, from tied for 16th in 2007. This is due to the Obama administration’s unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers, the Edward Snowden revelations about wiretapping and other government spying on journalists (not to mention the general public), “relatively rigid controls on the information coming out of the White House and government agencies” and “detentions, harassment and rough treatment of journalists by police during protests in Ferguson, Missouri,” Freedom House notes.

The Emailgate scandal is emblematic of the government’s hypocrisy in proclaiming privacy for itself, but not for its wee subjects. Given her behavior and erroneous statements over her emails, we should expect more of the same if Clinton takes over the White House.

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