In a complete non-surprise given her career track record, Hillary Clinton's definition of "cooperation" with requests to turn over whatever emails she unilaterally deigned could be seen meant giving them to the State Despartment on paper.
That's lots and lots of paper, 55,000 pages in all, some of them double-sided, all seemingly part of a conscious strategy to deliberately slow down the process at taxpayers' expense. It's quite easy to believe that if a Republican or conservative politician engaged in these tactics instead of turning over digital files, the press would be giving this a lot more exposure. Beyond that, a person with IT experience has informed me that Mrs. Clinton may have chosen to turn in paper copies of those emails because digital copies might have exposed damning information.
At the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog (HT Twitchy), Kevin Schaul has graphically presented the incredibly tedious process. After Mrs. Clinon's people printed out and boxed up the documents (requiring an estimated 12 boxes), State employed 12 people for five weeks to scan each of the 55,000 pages individually and to convert the text using optical character recognition (hopefully verifying the accuracy of the OCR scans).
Mrs. Clinton could have chosen to avoid all of this by handing over the emails involved in digital format. Schaul noted that "when Jeb Bush released a cache of e-mail from his Florida governorship, he did so electronically."
Was gumming up the works the only reason Mrs. Clinton chose to turn in the emails on paper? Perhaps not.
A person with IT experience reminded me today in an email that digital copies of emails contain far more than To, From, Subject, and text. Because Mrs. Clinton has submitted paper:
Investigators will not get the background "electronic fingerprint," which is not displayed to either the writer or the recipient. This can include (the) originating IP address (as opposed to the email address itself), the server it was sent from, timing information that cannot be easily manipulated (as opposed to the header, which is easy to type or alter in paper format), and whether or not there was an attachment at some point in a multi-level conversation. By handing them over in print, she destroys the data integrity.
Given Mrs. Clinton's proclivity for subterfuge, even to the point of essentially operating an extra-governmental shadow intelligence operation with longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal, I suspect that this matter of data integrity deserves attention.
Somebody should give it some attention, as WaPo's Schaul gave it none.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.