Hillary Clinton has been accused of using her private email server when she was secretary of state instead of the official one. In all the back-and-forth I haven’t heard any of the commenters use the simple acronym: RHIP.
It was commonly used when I was in the Army and in government service. For those for whom it is not familiar, I’ll explain. Rank Has Its Privileges. On occasion during my 30 years with the government, I would be instructed to do something that could have got me fired or prosecuted had I come up with the idea myself. However, if the person in charge wants it done, it’s done. And, I was not working directly for a cabinet secretary.
If the Secretary of State says a document is classified, it is. If she says it is not, who has the rank to contradict her? Only the president. Dogs do not run the kennel.
If Ms Clinton were to use the RHIP defense, she would sound elitist and arrogant, so she won’t. She also will not go to jail, because any case will hinge on whether the material on her server was classified. She says it was not, so it wasn’t.
Suppose the Secretary of State were negotiating with a foreign leader and decided to use some information about that leader, or the leader of another country to gain favor or leverage, from whom do you suppose she asks permission to use the information? Possibly the president if the breach were that important. If the issue did not rise to the level of White House concern, the secretary would only consult herself. Discretion over these matters is part of the job description.
Personally, I think the private server was a bad idea. However, Ms Clinton saw her husband betrayed and nearly destroyed by a trusted intern, so I think she had reason to regard those around her with healthy suspicion and to believe sensitive communication was better kept to herself.
RHIP, it’s a real thing, and a real defense.