Even if someone isn't abusing a particular right now, odds are very good that someone will come along who will. It's much better that the power doesn't exist in the first place.
> I always criticize power… Even if you agree with it, you should always criticize power.
Unfortunately, people buy into team politics and split up against each other rather than understanding the system in play.
I mean, the Nixon White House was literally breaking and entering into the offices of their political enemies. You really don't see a moral distinction here?
There is no technical requirement to do so. The only reason I can think of that makes sense is that there was information there that she didn't want to share with others. And given these included professional emails that were part of an ongoing investigation, I'm frankly surprised that it isn't seen as a deal-breaking issue for even her candidacy.
Obviously it's not the same as Watergate actions of breaking into offices. The point is that people are hinting at Clinton deleting emails to cover something up.
I mean 'plausibly done to avoid auditing'... what does that even mean? What does that imply to you?
But in general, if you want to do that you need to start from some kind of hypothesis about what is being covered up (ex: "Some guys were arrested at the Watergate Towers, did the president order the break-in?") and not something that looks like clumsy scandal-proofing to the non-partisan.
There are a large number of Hillary supporters that, even if they are shown proof of criminal activity, simply won't care. Not a bit. Thus their thought process is, "Sure, she's a crook ... but all politicians are crooks, and she's on OUR team, so she gets our support."
Well, I suppose Hillary is a lot smarter about avoiding getting caught ... except even that doesn't fit. She's been caught numerous times, like her husband (the nickname "Slick Willie" came about for a reason, after all). But when she gets caught, various powers that be somehow make it a non-issue.
In other words, to avoid accountability as an official of government for actions she took representing the public.
It's far worse. Without accountability structures, the rule of law simply vanishes. Her attempt to avoid accountability/transparency was simply an attempt to avoid the rule of law and replace it with her own prerogatives.
If our leaders do not themselves respect the rule of law, how can we hope for any kind of just society? There are lots of societies run by warlords who simply take and hold power with no accountability. Our system is fundamentally different by design, or at least, it should be, even though some warlords are well-respected by the people they rule.
> (a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
> (b) For purposes of this section, the provision of documents and materials to the Congress shall not constitute an offense under subsection (a).
> (c) In this section, the term “classified information of the United States” means information originated, owned, or possessed by the United States Government concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States that has been determined pursuant to law or Executive order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security.
I'm not aware of whether she had stuff that was classified, but as Secretary of State I'd say most of her communications would be somewhat confidential.
If not black-letter illegal, it's still extremely dodgy, and dangerous. Remember when Palin got hacked?
If almost any federal employee (even ones with low-level clearance) was caught doing this, they'd likely have security assist them out of the premises immediately. Yes, some people do bend the rules, and get away with it, but only if there's nothing they handled that would cause any issues if it were posted on the internet.
>If almost any federal employee (even ones with low-level clearance) was caught doing this, they'd likely have security assist them out of the premises immediately.
Of course, but then they're not Secretary of State. It's not a stretch to imagine her position should come with some latitude on how they execute their job function.
Sounds like the Nixon defense. Though at least Clinton wasn't (apparently) acting out of malice. She might have just been a bit paranoid about security, incompetent (at IT security - and allowed yes-men to get her set up), or somehow needed a level of convenience that she couldn't get from the official system.
It's even possible the official system was suspected of being compromised (if it was, we might not know), and she could get a safer system.
I remember people of a certain bent celebrating the fact that she got hacked, completely oblivious to the concept that something malicious / illegal had taken place.
Other possible violations here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/03/16/hilary-clin...
What exactly do you mean by your question?
I'm sure that the president would never push for an investigation based on politics...
So, it's clear that the more dangerous and professional of the military/intelligence/LEO community can effectively keep secrets or do damage control. They have plenty successes for every screwup. Dare I say that all the people with clearances vs number of damaging leaks show their method works well enough if only because of good people participating.
So, transparency, whistleblower protection, and strong accountability (esp w/ GAO) are absolutely essential. Further, anyone hiding information in one of these investigations should be, if this is proven, hit with life in a harsh prison immediately. Further, a plan of action to split the media from CIA, etc influence needs to be formed and implemented. It will take such a strong combo to discourage the corruption we've seen for decades.
But first Americans have to give a shit enough to act. I've seen very little of that. The 2008 situation was a good example where Americans pay the crooks off w/ immunity and Icelanders took back their system with prison time on top. I'd like my country to act like a real democracy, too, which confronted with provable abuses we've seen over past 14 years. :)
But before folks pile on to the guy (and he was widely hated), some things to keep in mind:
1) As far as taping conversations go, Nixon did nothing new. It's known that he simply carried on the tradition that LBJ, JFK, and Eisenhower before him did. Whatever happened to all of those tapes?
2) Before we go praising the Pentagon, I've read reports (I apologize for not being able to source them) that the Pentagon bugged civilian leadership. They almost certainly keep extensive dossiers on Congressional members and anybody in their civilian chain of command. Good luck getting eyes on any of that.
3) Nixon's problem was that he got caught doing something bad enough that crossed a political line. Lots of folks felt that he did nothing that others didn't do or try to do. Things like using the IRS for political hit jobs are perennials in DC. Using spies on reporters? Please. I can go back as far as Jefferson and show presidents using and attacking the press as they saw fit.
As the author points out, what concerns me a tremendous amount is the amount of information we don't know about all these other administrations -- up to and including our current one. With wholesale data collection underway against the American public, I would be astonished if 100 years from now it isn't widely known how many folks suffered invisibly from things far worse than Nixon ever did. The fall of Nixon was a harbinger of leaving an age of corrupt, small, overtly powerful presidents and entering an age of pervasive, huge, subtly powerful presidents. (Or rather, the system itself, which controls or is controlled by various presidents depending on their skills and staff capabilities)
If I'm still learning what Nixon did, 40 years later, what chance in hell do I have as a voter to make decisions about the value of any current or recent president? The office is so controlled by the political/governmental system and what we can know or not is so constrained, he might as well be anonymous.
Your final point should be emphasized. Classification and secrecy make information so asymmetric that voting becomes of only symbolic importance - you just can't know.
I already thought about a real leader that nobody knows about, would be the perfect leader since nobody can really attack him because he hides behind corporations. It would be people very effective at predicting public opinion and the political system. The problem is, as ever, accountability.
It would be the best of fictions. Politicians so good at their job they just lead an entire country of people towards their comfort zone, using democracy and consent as tools while making real decisions without the president even really knowing.
It's how a hivemind works, it's really possible to direct it towards something, just like you would move the majority of tens of kittens only with a laser pointer. Problem is that it would be very difficult, and would require a lot of knowledge about public opinion and how people's perceptions of the media is gullible. Hell you could even imagine that all the food additives would be some sort of population control tool or just to inhibit critical thinking or the intellect in general.
It's really great how conspiracy can be a source of imaginations for fictions.
This seems to me to be an entirely inappropriate reason for something to remain classified decades after it occurred.
It's a good thing to make corruption more difficult, in the end it's some sort of quality control. At the very least it reduces corruption or makes it more adequate, a little like Machiavelli would describe it.
In my sense if corruption can be detected, it is not worth it, and is bad corruption. The best situation is when the due process and power separation are tight, but in no sense it will prevent corruption entirely.
see, I disagree. I mean, I don't want to diminish his crimes, but he did a lot of good things. Nixon was responsible for Détente, I think, in ways that Reagan wasn't. Really, to the extent that Reagan deserves credit for the wall falling, he deserves credit for not screwing it up. Nixon had a lot more to do with actively turning China from being our enemy to being our workshop.
Compare that, say, to JFK, who almost started world war three. It's astonishing to me that JFK gets credit for not screwing up the Cuban missile crisis, when the Cuban missile crisis was the inevitable result of the bay of pigs, an operation he approved.
JFK was kind of insane, and if he had gone up against a soviet ruler with his level of crazy, rather than a comparatively sane Khrushchev, the east coast of the US would have been irradiated. (I mean, the CCCP would have been fucked up even more, sure; and I'm sure that's why Khrushchev backed down; we would have "lost less" as it were, but that's still losing.)
The thing to remember is that we know far more about Nixon's presidency than about any other presidency since. Now, again, this doesn't excuse Nixon's crimes, but he did voluntarily record a lot of what he did. If he acted as all modern presidents have acted, which is to say, in secret, we wouldn't have known about most of this.
I mean, I really think it is important to punish crimes when you see them happen, which is why I keep going on about how none of this excuses his crimes... but I really think he looks a lot worse than most presidents because he recorded all this stuff for posterity. For all we know, everyone since has done worse; they've just been more careful to cover their tracks.
I would say though we shouldn't attribute all political wins/loses during one's era only to one guy. I don't think how the show is run, not now and neither back then. Kissinger might have helped out with Chinese for example. You need these huge personas to neogtiate with all-powerful dictators (something my EU lacks so badly it's not fun anymore)
How do we know his offenses if the information is still mostly classified? Perhaps they do not make others seem quaint in comparison.
Admittedly, that's a pretty low bar.
> "Perhaps they do not make others seem quaint in comparison."
All I was saying is that there's a pretty high bar for awful behavior by world leaders.
It is a fascinating read. Watergate is one of those things that you think you understand and then, after reading in depth about it, you realize how complex the whole thing was. From the amount of people involved to the campaign finance part to the lengths Nixon's administration went in trying to combat what they perceived as threats to the nation. It's something that is often forgotten, but many of the limits regarding campaign finance and executive power we have (had) today stem from the aftermath of Watergate.
An interesting outcome I experienced after reading the aforementioned anthology was the feel I got for Nixon as a person. I found myself almost admiring him. Say what you will about his methods, and they were dubious at best, the guy was dedicated to his principles.
Yeah, at least it's an ethos.
Anything that was a threat to the Nixon administration in their view was ipso facto a threat to the nation.
> "You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
There doesn't appear to be a copy of this online anywhere I can verify it.
Isn't that now still (or perhaps more so) a well-accepted view in American politics? I have certainly heard arguments that classified evidence of government wrongdoing shouldn't be leaked, because it could strengthen or embolden our enemies. The Abu Ghraib abuse photos were a notable example. That's basically the explicit purpose of most appeals to "national security."
Limited terms, congress and the free press will reduce that effect, but it will still exist. A leader is being obeyed to. That's how things work at their human nature basis.
Speaking of favorite ShorDurPerSavs: John Gage , who was Sun Microsystem's "Science Officer" and turned the Sun logo 45 degrees on its corner, had the honor of serving his country on Nixon's enemies list  -- a distinguished achievement that L. Ron Hubbard falsely claimed about himself!
"I didn't hide what I did. I never tried to be malicious. It's just the difference between altering fortune cookies to make a candidate look funny and altering State Department cables to make it look as if a former President were a murderer." --Dick Tuck on the difference between himself and Nixon's Watergate operatives.
"The people have spoken, the bastards." --Dick Tuck's concession speech following his loss in the 1966 California State Senate election.
1. http://thedarklegacy.com is the official website, but I watched it on Netflix
But the last I heard, they were not able to get anything useful.
If we can use electron microscopes to recover trace data from hard drive platters, how much harder could magnetic tape be?
This is not to say it's the same as recovering audio from analog tape.
I don't necessarily buy that story, but a thorough analysis could shed some evidence on that, too.
PS: I received a stern warning as an ugrad at a UC uni for `wget -m ...` Oracle DBMS documentation (ugh, closed payware) using an http proxy back to the dorms, even though it still was on frick'n campus. Anyone that foists payware on students in a university when decent open-source alternatives exist should be hanged in the quad and left to rot.
Still don't know anything about Benghazi either.
Point is, you can find out a lot about a person by whether or not they are angered by Watergate or Benghazi. But in reality, it's the jobs, stupid. Taxes. The American Dream. Get over it.