Hillary keeps making email excuses, and they keep falling apart

“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.” — Hillary Clinton, at an Aug. 18 press conference

“While she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote and sent at least six e-mails using her private server that contained what government officials now say is classified information, according to thousands of e-mails released by the State Department.” — The Washington Post, in a story published online Tuesday night

Another day, another of Hillary’s email explanations found factually wanting. While these six emails (so far) represent a relatively small number, their mere existence flatly contradicts her longtime story of having had, at most, only the passive role of receiving any classified information by email (which, of course, includes scores of emails).

In some of the emails, there wasn’t a chain of classified information back and forth; Clinton was the first to add anything that could be deemed classified. For example, via The Federalist:

Hillary-Classified-5

Note that this is a double-whammy: Not only did Hillary send the classified information herself, the recipient is Sidney Blumenthal, a former Clinton administration official who was barred from a State Department job by the Obama White House. This is a transmission from one private account (Clinton’s) to another (Blumenthal’s) at the request of someone (Blumenthal again) who was denied a job at State.

The nature of the information is also telling. While we don’t know exactly what Clinton wrote — duh; it’s classified — the context is instructive. On Nov. 10, 2009, Blumenthal asked, “How did it go in Berlin?” Clinton responded, “Berlin was terrific. Lots of good exchanges (with) leaders.” The rest is redacted.

But we know what Clinton was doing in Berlin around that time. She was there to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall along with then-leaders Gordon Brown of Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and, naturally, Angela Merkel of Germany. It is a safe bet the “leaders” to whom she referred — and whose comments presumably were related in the redacted portion of the email that followed — weren’t deans at local universities.

And we know that one category of classified information, per President Obama’s executive order of December 2009, is “foreign government information,” the unauthorized disclosure of which is “presumed to cause damage to the national security.” And who is authorized to deem information classified? Among others, “agency heads” … such as the secretary of state.

Judging by the Obama executive order’s guidance on duration of classification, this must have been a clear-cut example of information that needed to be protected. The order sets a minimum of 10 years for classification “unless the original classification authority otherwise determines that the sensitivity of the information requires that it be marked for declassification for up to 25 years from the date of the original decision” (emphasis added). As the above markings indicate, this information’s classification was set for 15 years, more than the default, minimum term.

While this particular email predates the executive order by a month and a half, it’s not as if Obama were breaking with precedent in designating foreign government information as classified. In any case, Clinton wrote other emails with classified information after December 2009.

As I have pointed out before, the question of criminality and rule-breaking are only one aspect of this case.

  • None of this would be an issue had Clinton simply used a government email account, at the very least for these kinds of messages. She has yet to offer a good reason for declining a government account and putting this information at risk.
  • The emails we have are, pending any recovery of information from Clinton’s server by the FBI, only those emails she didn’t delete. At this point, given the way the facts have steadily undermined everything else she has said about the matter, Clinton does not deserve the benefit of the doubt that she only deleted emails of a personal nature.
  • Further to that point, we have no assurances she didn’t simply deem emails related to the Clinton Foundation — and the potential conflicts of interest between it and Clinton’s work as secretary of state and, perhaps, one day as president — to be “personal.”

As the axiom goes, the cover-up is worse than the crime. Clinton’s constantly changing, and disproved, explanations have all the hallmarks of a cover-up. The questions should be more about what we still don’t know, rather than what’s gradually coming to light.

Reader Comments 0

55 comments
M H Smith
M H Smith

From CNN-


A former State Department employee who worked on Hillary Clinton's private email server has informed Congress that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and in response to other Congressional inquiries related to the server. 


http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/politics/clinton-aide-fifth-amendment-emails/


Hillary Rodham Benghazi Clinton


HonchoPoncho
HonchoPoncho

Snipper fire dodging, presumptuous, condescending, lying, dead broke. 

That's a good start, right?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Guess what happens when material on a government-secured server becomes classified?  Nothing, it's already on a secured server.

What happens when the same thing happens on Hillary's homebrew server?  You have classified material on an unsecured server.  Thanks to the emails Hillary forgot to purge, we know that that happened.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Once Hillary realizes she's her own worst enemy, maybe she can dig herself out of the hole she fell into.

schnirt

Unforced errors at every turn.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Proggies always fall back on definitions, time lines, and smoking guns in their effort to defend the indefensible Clintons.  The Clintons always throw out the ole, "you can't prove it" no matter what the evidence suggests or how clear the impropriety is.  The sycophants don't seem to have very high standards for the Clintons, anything short of indictment means they are innocent and should be given charge of our country, to exploit for their own pleasure.


Bill lost his law license and had to pay off $700.000 to Paula Jones, many of the Clinton friends and business associates were indicted and sent to jail in Whitewater, and an indictment was drawn up against Hillary, but never presented to the grand jury.   Totally a GOP hit job they claim, the Clintons did nothing wrong.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister anything short of indictment means they are innocent and should be given charge of our country, to exploit for their own pleasure.


This is the guy who claims others have a bias. Ha


The GOP has to put their eggs in a basket however and this is the one it seems. They were really hoping they could count on Obamacare for a win in 2016 but that is out the window now.


I'm betting this is going to work about as well abs the PR campaign against Obamacare. Death panels anyone ?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Hedley_Lammar @RafeHollister Obamacare gave them land slide wins in 2010 and 2014, and the Iran deal is going to do the same this year.  Two elections to punish the Obamacare voters was about all you can expect.  I think they were all expunged.  Got to get the Obama numbed robots to register their vote on the Iran caputulation so the 60% of the folks who oppose the deal can send them home.


The death panels still exist, the IPAB, I believe they call them.  Few dispute that anymore other than you.  This mishandling of classified info will stick or they will forever be unable to charge people who carelessly handle classified info.  Sandy Berger, Bradley Manning, Snowden, Petraeus, and others will have grounds to have their convictions overturned, if Hillary escapes.  This need to protect secrets and maintain classified info is bigger than even the Clintons.  She is done, better find another candidate.

DS
DS

Kyle, you left out this part of the WaPo story:

"Although government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office..."

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@DS It's right there in the second paragraph, quoting the WaPo story: The emails "contained what government officials now say is classified information."


Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Childish witch hunt, pure and simple.  Grow up.  This does not matter.

GB101
GB101

@Jefferson1776 It doesn't bother you just a little bit that the Secretary of State was communicating constantly about government business with a private email account?  You don't think her actions compromised national security from day one?  Are you comfortable with high ranking government officials communicating in a way that makes it easier for the Chinese and ISIS to know what they are doing and thinking?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

You have to be really, really stupid to believe Hillary's email excuses (lies).

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"And who is authorized to deem information classified? Among others, “agency heads” … such as the secretary of state"


Oh, this is the "get out of jail free" card.  If Clinton, as Secretary of State, did not deem it "classified", then by golly, it's not classified! 


Then later, it can be marked classified and Clinton is in the clear. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude No, it means it was her responsibility to classify anything that needed to be classified.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

If an email only became classified AFTER Hillary received it, does it disappear from a hacker's hard drive when it does become classified?

You Hillary apologists are pathetic.

straker
straker

Kyle - "should have been able to recognize it as such"


And yet, she apparently did not.


And to you and other conservatives, that, in effect, makes her a liar.


I guess "honest mistake" does not apply to liberals.


McGarnagle
McGarnagle

A cover-up over emails. What about her role in Benghazi? Isn't it how his all came about? Seems like republicans are more after Hillary then anything else. But as with Obama birther, Clinton impeachment, this too will also pass with more being said then done.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@McGarnagle And tell us about how the GOP forced the FBI to get involved.  FBI is now part of the vast right wing conspiracy, I'm guessing.

sssinff
sssinff

Was it classified information at the time she sent it or was it deemed classified after? The quickness to classify information is a far more salient discussion to be having. Of course, it doesn't allow you to play "gotcha!" with Hillary.

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield


I don't find it hilarious at all. When I was completing my graduate degree in the history of technology a few years ago, overclassification of material found vigorous debate in academia. "But information rarely, if ever, becomes sensitive only in retrospect." -- That is a sweeping generalization and not supported by the record. So no, it's not as simple as "if it was classified later, she should have known not to send it." A quick Google search will yield you a lot of information on the subject, most of it appearing long before Hillary's email was a news item.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff I'm sure the government is too prone to overclassify information, just as it's prone to overdo virtually everything. What's hilarious is that people who hardly ever recognize the latter are so concerned about the former. And yeah, outside some academic circles, I'd say it's a relatively recent concern.

As for the retrospect thing: Why don't you give us an example of information that wasn't sensitive and then became so sensitive it needed to be classified. Even a hypothetical one. I'm hard-pressed to think of something (in the realm of diplomacy, since that's what we're talking about) that would be recognized as sensitive now but wasn't sensitive at the time. Again, not talking about whether it was marked classified, but whether it was information that should have been considered classified.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff It was marked classified recently. But information rarely, if ever, becomes sensitive only in retrospect, so that's a distinction without a difference. If it is worth deeming classified now, it was worth deeming classified then, and Hillary as secretary of state should have been able to recognize it as such. "Foreign government information" is generally considered sensitive and thus classified. In fact, you'll notice the classification expiration is based on the date the information was obtained, not when it was marked classified.

On a related note, it is absolutely hilarious to see our friends on the left, who have yet to find an authority they don't want the federal government to exercise, suddenly concerning themselves with federal overreach in the classification of information. That couldn't possibly have anything to do with defending the indefensible regarding Hillary, could it?

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield



Have a look at the links I shared. I can't speak for everyone, but your belief that overclassification is suddenly a concern because of Hillary is a truth claim.

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield


My point is that information is OVERclassified, that it shouldn't be classified in the first place.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@sssinff @Kyle_Wingfield Defense Department and National Security Council experts have estimated that anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of classified documents could safely be made public.


Excellent link. On imagines many of these "classified" Hillary emails are of the same ilk. But the rubes are frothing at the mouth now and are seeing visions of Hillary and orange jumpsuits.


Never mind that if Hillary wasn't running for President nobody would give a damn about these emails. So what does that tell you ?


This will play out in the court of public opinion. And folks are going to be asked what is more important. The economy, Iran. China, etc or that Hillary sent some emails on a personal server just as her predecessors had. 


I'm betting on the former. 

lvg
lvg

@Kyle_Wingfield @sssinff But Kyle has no problem with Cheney holding top secret energy meetings with oil and energy barons  before Iraq war and trashing all his notes and refusing to give any to the media under Freedom of Information Act. and I assume Kyle will tell us that none of the  prior Secretary's of state ever used private -mail servers.  Then there is  the behavior of Head of CIA's mistress who openly discussed top secret information on what the CIA was doing in Benghazi at a capmpaign raly for Romney. However I agree Hillary is toast for handling this so poorly. Hit the Pnada enough times and it splits open.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff I understand. And I don't necessarily disagree that this happens. I'm just inviting your skepticism to other areas in which the federal government goes too far.

sssinff
sssinff

@Hedley_Lammar


As I said before, unfortunately, there are many who don't care about the facts....they are simply looking to trash Hillary's chances at the White House. It baffles me that Kyle could earnestly argue that there is no difference between her passing information she knows is classified versus her passing on information that was classified AFTER she left office.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff "It baffles me that Kyle could earnestly argue that there is no difference between her passing information she knows is classified versus her passing on information that was classified AFTER she left office."

And I'm equally baffled that you think the only thing that matters is when someone goes to the trouble of putting a marking on a document, and not whether the information itself was of a sensitive nature and needed to be safeguarded. The mark doesn't make it classified; the nature of the information makes it classified. And when the information is sensitive enough to be classified, and it originates with you, you don't get to blame someone else for not telling you it was classified -- certainly not when you're the secretary of state.

She can claim incompetence, carelessness, difference of opinion (which would be a really neat trick, since the public doesn't have the details to come to its own conclusion; come to think of it, I bet that's where they go next). But ignorance of the law doesn't work, and "someone else should have classified it" doesn't work -- not when the information originated with her.

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield


"And I'm equally baffled that you think the only thing that matters is when someone goes to the trouble of putting a marking on a document, and not whether the information itself was of a sensitive nature and needed to be safeguarded."


You can't have it both ways. First you are concerned that the info is classified, but it seems as though you don't care if it was classified or not, she shouldn't have sent it. So...no matter what Hillary chooses to do, she is wrong. It doesn't matter her actions, you will find fault with it. Got it. I assume you didn't take the time to look at the links I posted, which do a great job of explaining the issue with the issue of security classification. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff "So...no matter what Hillary chooses to do, she is wrong."

No, she could have used a government email account to handle these messages and none of this would have come up.

Or she could have declined to put information that warranted classification into a message and send it -- via private email -- to another private email account. Neither of which was secured and at least one of which we know to have been hacked.

Let's not pretend Hillary is a helpless victim of circumstance here. (Although I'm not sure how that makes her more presidential, anyway.) The stories about her email are all being written because of actions she took. First, because of the way she handled her email while SoS, and now because of the way she has handled the stories about that.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff Oh, and while I haven't had time to read the testimony at one of the links, I have read the NYT op-ed. As I have said repeatedly on this thread, I don't doubt that over-classification happens. But the fact that some people classify information that shouldn't have been classified doesn't excuse someone for not classifying something that should've been. 

bu2
bu2

@Kyle_Wingfield @sssinff

She does claim all of those things like she did with Merrill Lynch.


And despite incompetence and carelessness, somehow she would make a wonderful president?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The curious thing is why leftists feel so wedded to the idea of Hillary as president that they are willing to contort themselves to explain how this is all about nothing.

Don't they have any competent, honest candidates?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@LilBarryBailout Their bench is pretty bare and bleak, only old retreads, like Big Al and the twins, Moonbeam and Skerry.  You would think a progressive socialistic party would be overrun with young diverse candidates, but no, just ole failed white guys.

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

Yawn...our morning dose of FUD while we ignore that Trump dude...yes that hilarious Republican front runner.


As for Hillary...quick name one Sec State BEFORE Clinton that exclusively used a government email...hummm...still can't find one...keep looking you will find it right next to the Republican Candidate for President that makes sense.


But keep up the whispering...maybe there were emails she deleted...maybe she is hiding something...maybe...maybe....maybe...maybe you will actually find something worth discussing on this issue one day just like Whitewater...o' wait never mind.


Sad part is all that whispering might be effective....if she had to beat someone other that actually presented a true option.



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@TheRealJDW "Point is you are attempting to define actions in the past in a manner in which they would be defined today."

Sorry, but once again you have it backwards. The rules changed, but not in a way that favors Hillary: The rules have become less permissive on this topic, not more.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@TheRealJDW "quick name one Sec State BEFORE Clinton that exclusively used a government email"

No one ever said she shouldn't have been able to use a personal email from time to time. The problem is that she used one exclusively -- the opposite of your question, which was a typical misdirection on your part -- including when she was handling classified information.

But do go on about how I'm the partisan one here ...

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

@Kyle_Wingfield @TheRealJDW


The only other Sec State before here that used one AT ALL was Rice and in her words she used it "very rarely".  Point is you are attempting to define actions in the past in a manner in which they would be defined today.  Point blank...the rules were different then (right or wrong) and she did not break them.  The current attempt to rewrite history is simply an extension of the Republican over use of FUD and a defection vehicle for the sorry state of the Republican field.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TheRealJDW If you want op-eds on Trump, try Jay Bookman's blog.  He posts one about every other day.  You'll be safe over there with your liberal buds.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The whole private server thing was set up to avoid and deceive the American people by avoiding FOIA requests, which is a violation of the Fed Record Keeping Act.  When an asst secretary said he couldn't send something because it was too sensitive, she is quoted in one of the emails as saying "send it anyway".  Her whole existence is based on deception, so we know what a huge web we weave when we practice to deceive.  She will never extract herself from her own web.  She is done.


HILLARY FOR PRISON!