Back in 1987, when Reagan was president, at the height of the cold war, top state department official Ronald Spiers (accidentally) leaked one of the government’s most sensitive documents (above top secret), which ended up in the hands of nearly every government in the world. The leaked document was a photo of the “National Intelligence Daily” — the daily report produced by the CIA that is so sensitive that each copy is numbered, and nobody else is allowed to even be in the room when the document is not secured.
What is truly ironic is that Spiers was the chief security officer in the state department — the person in charge of making sure that breaches like this didn’t happen. So he investigated the leak himself.
Spiers’ punishment? He was told “to exercise more caution in the future”. The point is that his violation back then was far worse than anything that Hillary Clinton has been accused of about her email, and yet he received less than a slap on the wrist.
On the other hand, in Clinton’s email “scandal” there is no evidence that any documents that were classified at the time were leaked at all. And yet Clinton’s incident has received unrelenting media coverage and condemnation from government officials. The FBI and the Department of Justice were brought onto the case to investigate. And people are freaking out because Bill Clinton had a private conversation with the Attorney General who is investigating, when Spiers, who committed an actual leak of a highly classified document, was allowed to investigate himself, and there was no criminal investigation at all.
The point is not whether Clinton made a mistake. Nor is it that Spiers should have had the book thrown at him. The media response back then was overwhelmingly light, on the order of “mistakes happen”.
The point is that the enormous response to Clinton’s email (and Benghazi) incidents is completely political, and is way beyond what would normally happen in any case like this.