Many people may share Senator Bernie Sanders’ complaint that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. But the controversy is about issues far bigger than e-mails.

One issue is the utter disaster created by the Obama administration’s foreign policy in Libya, carried out by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

An even bigger issue is whether high officials of government can ignore the law and refuse to produce evidence when it is subpoenaed. If they can, then the whole separation of powers — the checks and balances in the Constitution — gives way to arbitrary government by corrupt officials who are accountable to no one.

This is not the first time Hillary Clinton has defied the law to cover up what she had done. When Bill Clinton was president, back in the 1990s, both he and Hillary developed the strategy of responding to charges of illegal actions on their part by stalling and stonewalling when either courts or Congress tried to get them to produce documents related to these charges.

Hillary claimed then, as now, that key documents had disappeared. Her more recent claim that many of her e-mails had been deleted was just Hillary 2.0. Only after three years of stalling and stonewalling on her part has the fact finally come out this year that those e-mails could be recovered, and now have been.

By this time, however, Hillary and her supporters used the same tactics that both Clintons used back in the 1990s — namely, saying that this was old news, stuff that had already been investigated too long, that it was time to “move on.”

That was Hillary 1.0. More recently Hillary 2.0 said, melodramatically, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

One of the things that the former Secretary of State was now trying to cover up was the utter disaster of the Obama administration’s foreign policy that she carried out in Libya.

Having intervened in Libya to help overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi, who was no threat to America’s interests in the Middle East, the Obama administration was confronted with the fact that Qaddafi’s ouster simply threw the country into such chaos that Islamic terrorists were now able to operate freely in Libya.

Just how freely was shown in September 2012, when terrorists stormed the compound in Benghazi where the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was staying. They murdered him and three other Americans who tried to defend him.

Moreover, the terrorists did not even have to go into hiding afterwards, and at least one of them was interviewed by journalists. That’s how chaotic Libya had become.

Meanwhile, there was an American presidential election campaign in 2012, and Barack Obama was presenting himself to the voters as someone who had defeated Al Qaeda and suppressed the terrorist threat in the Middle East.

Obviously the truth about this attack could have totally undermined the image that Obama was trying to project during the election campaign, and perhaps cost him the White House. So a lie was concocted instead.

The lie was that the attack was not by terrorists — who supposedly had been suppressed by Obama — but was a spontaneous protest demonstration against an American video insulting Islam, and that protest just got out of control.

Now that Hillary Clinton’s e-mails have finally been recovered and revealed, after three years of stalling and stonewalling, they showed explicitly that she knew from the outset that the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and others was not a result of some video but was a coordinated terrorist operation.

Nevertheless, Hillary 2.0, along with President Obama and national security advisor Susan Rice, told the world in 2012 that the deaths in Benghazi were due to the video, not a terrorist organization that was now operating freely in Libya, thanks to the policy that got rid of the Qaddafi government.

Yet that key fact was treated by the media as old news, and what was exciting now was how well Hillary 2.0 outperformed the Congressional committee on television. If the corruption and undermining of the American system of Constitutional government eventually costs us our freedom, will the media say, “What difference does it make now?”

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.