This is one of those news items that readers would quickly recognize as a joke.

Until they realize it is not.

Well, actually, it is a joke, it’s just not the ha-ha-ha kind of joke. It’s one of the ‘you-gotta-be-kidding-me’ because ‘nobody-is-that-stupid sort of a joke.’

And the stupid part is puzzling too because these guys aren’t dumb.

That is, the people who masterminded this caper are the gee-whiz, nerd-type people who make computers dance, never forget a password and know all about the latest gizmos and gadgets.

Maybe they just don’t read much.

So it seems Hillary Clinton (will she ever just go away?) was invited to be a featured speaker and a prominent guest at a recent conference.

A conference on cyber security.

And this is no half-baked conference. The confab is described as the place where “World’s leading cyber security experts, government officials and executives collaborate to solve for tomorrow’s risks, today.”

Let that sink in.

So here’s a woman who set up a mail server is bathroom closest which was promptly hacked by multiple unfriendly governments who quickly used the information they stole against our government, perhaps endangering lives in the process.

Yet, barely two years later, she is considered an expert on cyber security?

No word on how much she was paid.

There was a time, of course, when she would have been paid a lot of money. In fact, those were the times when she was paid lots of money and never had to attend anything.

To say it another way, she was being paid on the come.

That’s because back then she was Secretary of State – and more important, the presumed next President of the United States.

None of those payments were made directly to her. That would be gauche. Something even the most sympathetic FBI investigator could not ignore.

Instead the people throwing money at Hillary in the hopes of gaining favor in the future made their checks out to something called the Clinton Foundation. In fact, back in those heady first-woman-President days, lots of people paid lots of money to the Clinton Foundation.

Today? Not so much.

Some people say those payments – and other irregularities – are why Hillary reserved that space in a bathroom closet for her mail server. They say she did not want government to know what exactly it is she was selling. They say Hillary had to hide her correspondence for fear of ending up in prison. They say it was that very fear of arrest and conviction that prompted Hillary to delete thousands of emails and destroy computer equipment and cell phones.

Of course, they were wrong.

It turns out the FBI, the world’s foremost investigative agency, checked all this out and found absolutely nothing amiss.

And that’s how it is possible that just two years after her email boondoggle, Hillary has become an expert in cyber security.

If all this sounds wrong, you’re right.

Liberals, however, take all this in stride. Instead of taking offense over Hillary’s abuse of power, their feelings become hurt when they hear “lock her up.”

Everyone knows that if they committed similar crimes not only would they not be paid to speak at a cyber security conference, they would be in jail.

And broke.

Eventually Hillary will exit the stage (likely screaming and yelping) and the country will move on. Here’s hoping the Justice Department, especially the FBI, can heal as quickly.

DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.

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