Egypt leaks ignored, Hillary's emails cause scandal

Egypt leaks ignored, Hillary's emails cause scandal
Comment: The difference in the reaction to Kamel's leaks and Clinton's emails, highlights political differences between Egypt and the US, a failed country and a successful one, writes Khalil al-Anani.
4 min read
06 Mar, 2015
Democratic presidential hopeful Hiliary Clinton [AFP]
US media revelations that former US Sectary of State, Hillary Clinton, used her personal email instead of her official State Department email for official business while in office is turning into a full-blown scandal.

Not only did Clinton violate federal law, which requires government employees to use their official emails in government correspondence, she may also have also hidden some emails from public information requests and scrutiny, something forbidden in a country that respects its
     It shows the difference between populations that are alert and aware and those that are in a deep slumber.
citizenry and their right to oversee government institutions.

In the US, all government correspondence is placed in the national archives and every citizen has the right to request access after a period of time. Therefore those emails do not actually belong to the public official no matter what his or her position, but to the nation.

Furthermore, the use of a personal email in public office creates a mix of the private and public. This raises questions about the misuse of office for personal gain, away from the oversight of government institutions and civil society organisations.

Perhaps, dear reader, you are surprised at the use of the word "scandal" in describing the events that unfolded with the case of Mrs Clinton's emails. Perhaps you see it as normal behaviour especially compared to the disastrous scandals revealed by the leaked conversations of General Abbas Kamel, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's office manager.

Perhaps, dear reader, you feel some puzzlement at the angry reaction in the US towards Clinton's emails, especially as she does not currently occupy any official position. Consider the shameless indifference with which Sisi and his ilk have been dealt with the disastrous scandals revealed by those leaks.

You might also be shocked, dear reader, to discover these emails could ruin Hillary Clinton's political career and disqualify her from the presidential race next year for which she had been a strong contender to win.

By contrast, the Kamel leaks have not resulted in the dismissal of any official, despite the calamities they contain,for which an entire generation of incompetent and treacherous politicians should be brought down.

Those officials, including the minister of defense, the chief of staff, and Kamel himself, were instead promoted to become the confidantes of the most important person in the country.

You might be astounded to discover, moreover, that the Clinton email scandal was brought to light by a little known journalist who had submitted a freedom of information request to view Mrs Clinton's correspondence relating to the Benghazi attack in September 2012, which resulted in the death of US Ambassador, Christopher Stevens. When the journalist did not receive a response after nearly a year, she made the request public, bringing it to the attention of US authorities.

In Egypt, you hear and see a large number of Egyptian journalists who are not only implicated in the Kamel leaks by name, but come out and brag about it in public. They see it as an honour. One well known journalist unashamedly boasted about his involvement live on air.

The difference between how the Clinton emails and Kamel's leaks have been dealt with represents the difference between successful and failed countries. It shows the difference between populations that are alert and aware and those that are in a deep slumber.

It highlights the difference between independent and responsible journalism and affiliated and complicit journalism. It also exposes the dire state of Egyptian government institutions and public awareness regarding the issue of oversight and accountability.

This is the same dire state that has made a nobody like Kamel the actual ruler of the country: he is obeyed when he orders, he is not held to account if he steals, he is feared when he threatens, and when he acts treacherously, he is promoted.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.