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The FBI says that Hillary Clinton should not be indicted for illegally using a private email server in her basement to send classified government messages, because this was all the result of “negligence” and there is no evidence of “intentional misconduct”. She did all this by mistake.

Extreme right-wingers are attacking this conclusion. But really, let’s be fair, isn’t this the sort of mistake that people make all the time?

Probably she was sitting at her desk one day, accidentally knocked over her coffee cup, it fell against the telephone, and just happened to dial a local computer company. Then she picked up the phone intending to say, “Sorry, wrong number”, but she tripped over the words and it came out sounding like, “I’d like to have an email server installed in my house.”

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When they showed up at her house with the computer, she meant to tell them that it was a mistake and to take the server back, but then she slipped on the carpet, stumbled, and ended up pointing toward the door to the basement. The service techs misunderstood this to be indicating they should install the server in the basement.

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A day or two later she was probably relaxing surfing the Internet. She meant to type “cat pictures”, but she had her hands positioned incorrectly on the keyboard so instead she typed “domain name registration”. When the form for setting up an email server came up, she couldn’t figure out how to get back to the cat pictures, so she just filled out the form and submitted it, not knowing what else to do.

Then one day she had to send a classified government email and she forgot that she was at home and not at the office. So she accidentally sent the email from her personal account.

When the FBI subpoenaed her emails, she meant to copy all the emails from her hard drive to a thumb drive. But she confused the icon for the thumb drive for the icon for the recycle bin, and accidentally deleted 30,000 emails.

Et cetera.

It’s perfectly understandable, just a funny series of innocent mistakes, the kind we all make all the time.

Oh, I suppose that you never accidentally installed an email server in your basement, huh?


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by


I'm a software developer by profession. I've published four books -- one on database design and three about the Bible. I've contributed chapters to textbooks on criminology, economics, and women's rights. I've published magazine articles on software development, the Christian view of homosexuality, and creation theory. I'm married and between us we have six children from previous marriages. (In two colors!) I could share further credentials but I think if what I write doesn't stand on its own, the credentials don't matter. I could share further personal details but that would be boring.


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