The accusations are flying that the Russians were behind the hacking and dissemination of the Democratic National Committee’s emails. Of course, the temptation is irresistible to consider the implications of a foreign power such as Russia also having accessed the multitude of classified emails held under far less secure conditions on Hillary Clinton’s home server, and to ponder the eventual ramifications for our national security.
That the FBI and the DOJ have given her a pass for what should have been an indictable offense with serious legal sanctions is worse than scandalous; it’s evidence of deep corruption at the very top of our federal government. That she was given this pass when there are still hundreds if not thousands of missing emails — emails that may well hold the most damning evidence of all — just adds to the stench. That she was given this pass to help her win the presidency and become our Commander-in-Chief is all the more outrageous.
But the worst may be yet to come. What if Russia did hack her emails? What if Vladimir Putin now holds dispositive proof not only that Mrs. Clinton violated security laws and protocols, but also that she used her position as Secretary of State to peddle influence, favors, and secrets to foreign leaders in return for obscenely outsize donations to the Clinton Foundation and absurdly lavish speaking fees for her husband? What if the emails are evidence of perfidy bordering on treason?
This brings us to the tempest over Donald Trump’s suggestion — later characterized by him as sarcastic — that the Russians turn over the missing emails to the American public. From a moral standpoint, the suggestion is worth considering.
Let’s begin with the notion that a bottom-up nation of citizens with a government that is of, by, and for them actually belongs to them. This means that everything the government knows, the citizens have a right to know. So far, so good. But enlightened citizens understand that they are better off if their government keeps certain sorts of information — advanced military technologies, identities of intelligence personnel (i.e., spies), etc. — secret from the people, lest the information fall into enemy hands. That is precisely why we have enacted laws allowing our government to declare certain categories of information “classified,” and why violations of those laws are supposed to warrant punishment.
That brings us back to Mr. Trump’s suggestion. What should we as citizens do if, say, we learn that, thanks to Mrs. Clinton’s criminal recklessness, top secrets are now in the hands of the Russians or the Chinese? Should we have those secrets aired in public? The cat would already be out of the bag, so to speak, with potentially everyone but us knowing the emails’ contents. Under that circumstance, it might well be best for us to know, too.
But it’s downright naïve to believe that the Russian or Chinese leaders would simply hand the hacked fruits over to us. Just think how valuable the emails would be if they really were that damning of Hillary Clinton. How much better for those leaders to wait, hope she gets elected in November, and then hold the emails hostage in return for still more favors and influence. If the evidence were bad enough, they might even get some of that Clinton Foundation money back.
On second thought, that is not the Clinton way, or for that matter the Democratic Party way. As usual, they would stick the taxpayers with that tab, too. In the meantime, we’d be left to wonder why America keeps making such lousy deals with the world’s worst troublemakers.
Blaine Winship, who was lead trial counsel for 26 states in their historic constitutional challenge to ObamaCare, is the author of Moralnomics: The Moral Path to Prosperity (Moralnomics Press), available in hardcover from moralnomics.com and in e-books fromamazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. (“Moralnomics” is a trademark owned by Blaine Winship.)