Report: Info in Hillary Clinton’s emails was ‘born classified’

“Immunity? Like with a shot or something?”

This report from Reuters about Hillary Clinton’s continuing email saga qualifies as a bombshell:

“While the (State) department is now stamping a few dozen of (Clinton’s) publicly released emails as ‘Classified,’ it stresses this is not evidence of rule-breaking. Those stamps are new, it says, and do not mean the information was classified when Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, first sent or received it.

“But the details included in those ‘Classified’ stamps — which include a string of dates, letters and numbers describing the nature of the classification — appear to undermine this account, a Reuters examination of the emails and the relevant regulations has found.

“The new stamps indicate that some of Clinton’s emails from her time as the nation’s most senior diplomat are filled with a type of information the U.S. government and the department’s own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.

“In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own ‘Classified’ stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.”

Let me repeat that: “at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails” with “foreign government information.” This completely undermines the (evolving, as I detail below) Clinton narrative that she had no way of knowing some information would later be deemed or marked classified. As the Reuters report continues:

“‘It’s born classified,’ said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House’s National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

“‘If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession,’ he said in a telephone interview (with Reuters), adding that for the State Department to say otherwise was ‘blowing smoke.'”

Clinton could try pleading ignorance bordering on incompetence on this — indeed, there’s a sign that’s something her campaign is willing to give a shot — but that doesn’t really speak well of someone running for president on her credentials, does it?

I referred to Clinton’s evolving spin on this story over the past few months. It’s worth reviewing (emphasis added throughout):

  • “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.” — Clinton’s statement at a press conference, March 10
  • “(A)ny released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.” — Clinton campaign statement, July 24
  • “I did not send classified material. And I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified – which is the way you know whether something is.” — Clinton’s statement at a press conference, Aug. 18

So, we’ve gone from “there is no classified material,” to no one “deemed” the material classified at the time, to any material she “receive(d)” may have been deemed classified but was not “marked or designated” so. The Reuters report even blows up that last bit by indicating the type of information in question was among the most basic kind of classified information there is.

Which perhaps is why Clinton’s campaign’s newest talking point is:

(It’s worth noting this “former Justice Department official” might be better described as a “longtime Democratic operative,” given his past work for Sens. Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign — all of which he served, just like at the Justice Department, in a communications role, not a policy role.)

While I might be sympathetic to the argument our federal government classifies too much information — just as it regulates too much, criminalizes too much and generally does too much — this argument is a great example of the “blowing smoke” mentioned above. Might there be some government information out there that really shouldn’t be considered classified? I’m sure there is. Does that include “foreign government information” that both other governments and ours would regard as secretive, as well as other information related to national security? Certainly not.

To underscore that point, Bloomberg reports today that some of the information in question concerned armed forces movements and diplomatic personnel’s evacuation plans in Libya in April 2011. That is just one of the emails now being reviewed by the FBI.

All of this, remember, is a story now for one big reason: Hillary Clinton’s insistence on exclusively using her private email account, on her own private, unsecured server, rather using a secure government account. Had she sent and received emails with classified information on a secure government account, we wouldn’t be talking about this. Heck, you would expect the secretary of state to send and receive classified information via email at least from time to time, which is exactly why it should have been obvious from the start that her sole use of a private account was certainly foolish and probably, not just possibly, illegal.

And that gets back to one final question: Why? Why did Clinton insist on conducting her official public business in this way? What did she gain from it, and how did that trump — in the public’s interest, not her own — what she risked by doing it?

As I wrote the other day, the legal questions are interesting and must be answered. But that shouldn’t distract us from the larger question about why she put herself — and our national security — in this position in the first place. She should be asked that question at every opportunity until she gives us a good answer.

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35 comments
King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

Are we looking for anything related to Benghazi or just looking for anything or witch hunting a needle in a haystack?

LaKeisha
LaKeisha

One columnist out there has just suggested that Hillary take the old "Admit it all" defense.  Just say "Yeah, I sent and received classified information on unauthorized servers, destroyed evidence, and I lied about it. And you all KNOW that other people do it, too!"

As dumb as a lot of the voters are, she might just get away with it.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"Why? Why did Clinton insist on conducting her official public business in this way?"

No apologist for Mrs. Clinton here but I suspect it was probably more a matter of convenience, even laziness, than some nefarious motive.

OTOH the abysmal lack of judgment demonstrated by keeping sensitive government information in an unsecured email account really calls into question her qualification to be POTUS. 


Dusty2
Dusty2

Ah Hillary, the Lone Ranger of Dem contestants.  Rides into the sunset bravely with the heartless horde behind her!  Or so it would seem! Sanders does not want to be Tonto!  He wants to lead.  But the Dem horse bravely carries Hillary  onward while struggling in the dust of bad behavior, loser experience and a disbarred husband.


OH well,  somebody has to do it.  Hillary keeps moving and speaking and the Dems keep saying "Isn't she wonderful?"  while they keep their fingers crossed and fervently wish there was another on the horizon from whom to choose!

Poor Dems!!  Hi yo Hillary! (The has been!)

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

General Petraeus was indicted and convicted for a much lesser offense, and one with no chance of compromising our national security. But, of course, he is not a Clinton, and as we know, the rules are different for them. But, it  looks that may be subject to change here before long.


Romney was pilloried for being rich. You would never know how filthy rich the Clintons are by watching or listening to the lame stream media. And imagine the fire storm had the lame stream learned that Romney was writing off millions in personal income for donations to his "charitable" influence peddling foundation and then turning around and living and traveling in luxury on the foundation's dime?  Not a peep in this case, of course, because it is Billary. The rules and the standards are different. 


This will all come out.  Sooner or later the Chinese, Russians, or Iranians will publish all of her easily hacked e-mails that they acquired before she destroyed them and before she attempted to wipe the server clean. Just imagine in a front running Republican had tried to wipe a server he used for all of his official business clean. The lame stream would be having little green puppies in the middle of Main Street. But again, it's the Clintons. It's different for them. 


Those are the ones that inquiring minds want to see. And there were also classified documents marked "unclassified" after the questions began arising about the personal e-mail server. The clumsy attempt to add the unclassified markings was easily detected. 


It really does make you wonder what she is so desperate to hide. Can't wait until we all find out, which we will. Any IT geek can tell you, e-mails never die. It is just a matter of  time. 


So, we are at the point now where her apologists can only sputter and spout, "Well, there is no evidence of anything or any reason  to believe she is hiding or was trying to hide anything." Which is kind of amazing since after all these years, they still have no clue about the character of the woman they are so desperate to defend at all costs. 

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

With a growing number of states where head to head comparisons of Hillary running behind Republican candidates the Democrat leadership must be seriously worried. That along with her email scandal my have her deciding to drop out rather than face further humiliation.

lvg
lvg

Were there any Ashley Madison e-mails on that server? Could they be classified?

Juanx
Juanx

Wow. A 'bomb shell" that is apparent to those who will take anything that might make a noise when the "shell goes bomb". Kyle this witch hunt is just that, nothing more. See you on September 17, 2015 when SOS Clinton visits Atlanta.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

Hillary:  Too big to jail!

Today's new slogan:  Liberalism is what "smart" looks like to stupid people.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

I propose that you and J Bookman debate the Hillary email scandal.

And, sell tickets!

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

It will be forgotten by the time she wins,  except for those who just can't accept reality.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"Had she sent and received emails with classified information on a secure government account, we wouldn’t be talking about this."


OH, sure you would!  Just like Benghazi was investigated multiple times for political reasons (see: Issa), the email is another step in partisan witch-hunts. 

It's a "lets get anything we can dig up" and dig dig dig until something pops up.  It worked with Bill during the whitewater investigation (which found that Bill and Monica were doing more than conversing.) 

So, if anything, the email dig is looking for anything to dig up.  If any other politician was in the same position as Hillary, they'd not want personal emails out either. 


And if the Republicans want to witch hunt Hillary, they should witch hunt Colin Powell, too. He reportedly used a non-governmental email as well. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Colin is not running for president so that "bombshell" would not matter.

Savdon
Savdon

@LogicalDude You're not very logical.  I would ask what has she ever accomplished that is predictive of her being a good president for ALL the people, not just those wanting free stuff? 

straker
straker

I don't know if Hillary is guilty of anything or not.


However, the tirade of frenzied attacks on her from Republicans shows how afraid of her they are.


Pitiful when your Party has 15 candidates and not ONE of them can defeat her.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@straker

"Frenzied attacks"...like those being carried out by the Obama Justice department?

Or like this Bill Clinton appointee to the federal courts:  "We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy"

LDH2O
LDH2O

Admittedly it has been a decade since I retired as an Army intelligence officer but in executive branch regulations there is authority for an "original classification authority" (a person such as Hillary) or a "derivative classification authority" (a set of what is to be classified rules issued by an original classification authority) but in either case a person has to actually look at the material and make a classification decision. I have NEVER seen anything that says that something is automatically classified. In fact this completely goes against regulations that require minimization of classified material.

MarkVV
MarkVV

What is this latest “bombshell” about?

“While the (State) department is now stamping a few dozen of (Clinton’s) publicly released emails as ‘Classified,’ it stresses this is not evidence of rule-breaking. Those stamps are new, it says, and do not mean the information was classified when Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election, first sent or received it.”

In other words, exactly what Mrs. Clinton has maintained.

Again, we have the basic situation. Whoever does that in the State Department, he or she did not consider some information deserving to be classified. And the Secretary of State, the highest official of that department, when she saw that information, agreed with that original assessment. Now another (or the same) employee of the State Department is making a different decision. And the journalists (and some commenters on this blog), who have no expertise in such matters and no direct knowledge of the subject matter, naturally know that the more recent assessment is correct, that Mrs. Clinton knew or should have known it, and that for some reason – what was the reason? – sent e-mails containing that information. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

When you start out aiming to evade the law, your professional responsibilities, and just common sense, it's probably not going to end well.

Wouldn't it have been easier just not being a sleazeball?

Dusty2
Dusty2

Go for it, Kyle! Hillary Clinton is NOT suitable as a president of the USA!  Even the Democrats know it but hate to say so. When she is too lazy or too incompetent to  manage classified material, we certainly don't need her handling important government documents or decisions. .   


I don't think that Trump is suitable either but he is at least entertaining and we have some great others  from whom to chose.  .


Democrats are out on a limb, so to speak.  With nothing but Bernie, Biden and Gore  to back her up, they had better to do a little switching for the good of the country.  You know!  Our country!  Save it!! 

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I know I say this every time you post, but Hillary Clinton should in jail. She broke the law.  There is no excuse for this.  She took an oath to protect the information properly and she did not.


I'm a Democrat, and I would rather lose the election than have her win.  Punish her and send her to jail now.

NorthAtlanta
NorthAtlanta

It's becoming easier to identify the mindless partisans who are complete hyopcrites.  Those would be the ones that continue to make excuses for this woman and call this and all the others phony scandals.

heezback
heezback

"...She should be asked that question at every opportunity until she gives us a good answer."


Never forget this axiom:  When something in governance or politics makes no sense, follow the money.


RafeHollister
RafeHollister

She was all about convenience Kyle, didn't you hear her.  A secure computer is held in a secure area and has been certified and contains enhanced encryption software, so she would not have been able to use her office computer.  She would have had to leave her desk, go to the skif, log in, use the computer, and log off.  You don't expect a Clinton to put out that much effort  and subject themselves to audits do you, that is for the little folk.


She is the senior person at State Dept responsible for maintaining classified information.  She is one of the few people in Gov with the ability to classify documents.  I don't think there is any reasonable person that thinks with all her experience and training that she doesn't recognize classified information when she sees it.  She used her home brew system for her convenience, because she has Clinton privileges.  Huma and Cheryl Mills also were using unauthorized devices to store and transmit classified information and they are under investigation as well.  I am sure many of other state department officials will be as well.


As Mika said this AM, why does she keep saying stuff that is so quickly proven false.  It must be about 10 excuses so far that have all proven false.  You don't think she is trying to cover up things do you?


I liked that orange pant suit she wore for that last disasterous press conference; she looks good in orange.  If she can just convince the folks at Levenworth to change from jump suits to pant suits, she will be set.  She will make a great jail house lawyer.



LDH2O
LDH2O

@RafeHollister  So do you apply the same argument against Colin Powell who had a personal email server? Want him to have the next cell over?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@LDH2O @RafeHollister Colin Powell had a government email account and used a private account for non sensitive stuff.  Read today, that Hillary was the first Sec of State to exclusively use a private acct.    Powell was a  Gen in the Army, he respected and properly handled classified information.  He knew soldiers died needlessly if classified information was not protected.

LDH2O
LDH2O

@RafeHollister @LDH2O  Oh, I did not realize that you had checked his private server to verify that. NO you did not; how do we know he did not send classified emails. His server is long gone - COVER UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

straker
straker

Well, Kyle, you just pick up the phone right now and call the FBI about this "bombshell" information.


They are, after all, doing an investigation and I just know they will appreciate your call.


Let us know what they say.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@straker

That makes about as much sense as suggesting Kyle stop covering the presidential election until it's over.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

She should be asked that question at every opportunity until she gives us a good answer.

---

Good luck with both parts of that request.