In this email provided by Wikileaks, it appears that Hillary Clinton asks Rothschild to:

Let me know what penance I owe you.

Was this email written by Hillary Clinton?

  • 4
    Hi, welcome to Skeptics SE. You don't need to justify yourself or explain how you're not the one making the claim. You can go straight to the point : explain what the claim is and give at least one link to your source(s). Jul 27, 2016 at 9:45
  • 5
    I don't see how we have an answerable question here. Unless we are asking if the emails are genuine, then obviously Clinton did write those words. Giving a definitive interpretation is beyond the scope of this site. Jul 27, 2016 at 13:28
  • 3
    @Fiksdal If you are asking if the emails are genuine, can you rewrite to ask that, rather than focussing on this one specific phrase in one specific email. Jul 27, 2016 at 13:54
  • 4
    We can't tell you what Hilary meant by 'penance', so if you insist on asking that then the question will be closed. If you are only asking if the emails are genuine, then please remove all the explanation of the word 'penance'. Them meaning of the word is irrelevant to the question of whether the emails are genuine or not. Jul 27, 2016 at 14:43
  • 3
    Then I recommend the question be closed. We can't answer what Hilary meant by 'penance', and you seem focussed on the interpretation of that word rather than whether the email is genuine or not. Jul 27, 2016 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Was this email written by Hillary Clinton?

There is no reason to believe that it wasn't.

As Wikileaks states:

The emails were made available in the form of thousands of PDFs by the US State Department as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request.

You can see the original PDFs at Wikileaks as well.

The Freedom of Information Act request was made by Jason Leopold.

If you want a different source than Wikileaks as confirmation, the Wall Street Journal also has a database of the released emails, which does contain the same sentence you quote.

Of course it is possible that the Email wasn't actually written by Clinton herself, but just by someone with access to her Email account. But as Clinton hasn't denied writing any of the released Emails, it's unlikely.

What does Clinton mean

Whenever any Rothschild is mentioned in a context such as this, the implication is often that something nefarious is going on, for example that the Rothschilds - often a stand-in for Jews in general - are the truly powerful behind the scenes who use politicians like puppets.

To see that this quote is not a sign of a conspiracy - where Clinton owes the Rothschilds for some supposed misstep -, it's important to look at the whole context of the quote:

I was trying to reach you to tell you and Teddy that I asked Tony Blair to go to Israel as part of our full court press on keeping the Middle East negotiations going. He told me that he had a commitment in Aspen w you two and the conference, but after we talked, he decided to go and asked me to tell you. He is very sorry, obviously, but I'm grateful that he accepted my request. I hope you all understand and give him a raincheck.
He should land around Sam Aspen time. Let me know what penance I owe you. And pls explain to Teddy. As ever, H

What Clinton is saying here is that she scheduled a meeting with Blair at the same time as a meeting Blair had with Rothschild, and she wants to apologize for that - because that is the polite thing to do, not because Rothschild is secretly controlling her.


Yes, Clinton did write this to Rothschild, to apologize for a scheduling conflict.

  • 22
    Why, when put in context, that quote seems downright non-nefarious. Jul 27, 2016 at 22:20
  • 1
    It strikes me as a deliberately formal expression. I'm not cognizant enough with Jewish traditions or religious writings, but by deliberately invoking a phrase that way you're basically adding sincerity to your apology -- "I wronged you, and wish to make amends, and couch this in the traditional terms of your culture to demonstrate that I understand how I transgressed." People forget how powerful sincerity can be, mostly because we see less and less of it lately. Jul 29, 2016 at 12:56
  • 15
    @Shadur I think there's also a twinge of humor to it from the exaggeration. Aug 17, 2016 at 22:39
  • @iamnotmaynard - amazing how that works. No wonder the media keeps pulling things out of context and cropping images. It helps push their narrative and sell newspapers.
    – Mayo
    Dec 19, 2018 at 14:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .