This puts to rest one of the hottest campaign issues raised by Clinton.
The facts have emerged: Russia did not steal Hillary's Department of State emails.
This revelation flies in the face of the host of allegations that have been propagated by news outlets and government officials. For instance:
Associated Press reported last April:
"Critics of Clinton's decision to rely on the private server have suggested it potentially made her communications more vulnerable to being stolen by hackers, including those working for foreign intelligence agencies."
Later, PC World claimed that:
"Stolen documents from those hacks, including sensitive emails, have been leaking online over the past months, potentially hurting the election chances of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton."
The issue here is whether or not any documents were stolen. Some suggest that they instead have been leaked by an insider. But no evidence of a leak has been presented.
The overarching issue, however, is that there is no legitimate legal theory under which the documents could have been stolen. Here's why. For something to have been stolen there must be an owner from whom it was stolen. The fact is that no one had legal ownership of those State Department documents.
On the surface that may sound preposterous. They were indeed State Department documents after all.
But nothing was taken physically. No papers were removed from any premises or taken away from any person. What's at issue here is "intellectual property." The body of law that deals with content such as the emails in question is US Copyright Law. It allows a person or organization to own intellectual property.
That law does not protect the emails in question, though. That's because the law specifically exempts content produced by federal government employees as a part of their jobs. It is considered to be in the public domain. There is no owner. There is no one to have stolen from.
Then there is the question of why the Clinton campaign is focused on whomever or however the emails were obtained. If the Russians had done the hacking, and for all I know they very well may have, why is Russia being blamed for the publication?
Isn't the publication of the emails the source of Clinton's embarrassment? Why isn't Wikileaks the focus of Hillary's angst? If Russia had just put hacked emails in a vault, would the Clinton campaign be so aggrieved?
That points to the essence of this whole Russian hacking story. It really doesn't matter who got the ball rolling. It's the publication of the emails that hurts. And the publication of public domain content does not infringe anyone's copyright.
I suspect that Russia is being targeted as part of a provocation. Even the use of the word "stolen" is pejorative.
This is the same kind of sleight of hand activity wherein Obama claims to have intelligence agency proof of Russian involvement. I debunked that one in my earlier article here .
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