Hillary’s email excuse to FBI: I didn’t know what I was doing!

(AP Photo / Richard Shiro)

(AP Photo / Richard Shiro)

Would you rather have a dishonest president or a clueless president? Electing Hillary Clinton is bound to give us (at least) one of those.

The latest piece of this awful jigsaw puzzle comes from the FBI’s (mostly) declassified summaries of its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. The documents were released last Friday afternoon, a pre-holiday news dump egregiously timed even by Washington’s cynical standards.

In short, the summaries undermine — again — many excuses Clinton has offered for an arrangement that put the U.S. government’s secrets at risk. They also reveal a few new excuses Clinton and her aides made to FBI agents which are so ridiculous on her face they require us to believe she is not deceitful, just incompetent.

The dismissal anew of certain Clinton excuses is worthwhile, and at times even amusing. Example: Clinton famously claimed she carried only one device, a private and unsecured Blackberry, as “a matter of convenience.” Yet, the FBI documents not only report (again) that she often carried both the Blackberry and an iPad, and sometimes a flip phone as well, but that she went through thirteen email-capable phones as well as five iPads.

Changing devices so often would seem to be rather inconvenient. Although, perhaps conveniently, when the FBI asked for the phones, the Clinton team claimed not to know what had happened to any of them.

***

Then there’s what is new in the FBI documents.

For one, there’s a sequence of events that comes across as extremely suspicious. In December 2014, Clinton instructed aides not to continue retaining any emails older than 60 days. However, the company managing her server at that point did not delete any of those older emails. Fast forward to March 2, 2015, when the New York Times broke the story that Clinton had exclusively used private email on a private server. The next day, the House Select Committee on Benghazi asked Clinton’s lawyers for “all documents and media” related to the two private email addresses she had used. The day after that, the committee issued a subpoena for the records. After a March 25 conference call with Clinton’s lawyers, an employee for the company had what he described to FBI agents as an “‘oh s—‘ moment,” realizing he hadn’t carried out the instructions from three months earlier to delete the older email records. In the week following the call, the employee went ahead and, despite the subpoena, deleted the files.

Because of redactions in the documents the FBI released, it is difficult to pin down exactly who did what, and when. But the obvious questions from all this include why the employee went ahead and deleted the files after there was a subpoena for them, and whether the files in question should have instead been handed over to the House committee. As we know from the past year-plus of learning about this situation, the Clinton team failed to hand over thousands of emails that other observers deemed work-related. Were there other work-related emails among those deleted files?

***

A recurring theme is that Clinton and her aides claimed to have tried often to do the right thing but, gosh darn it, things never quite worked out. Once, when her personal Blackberry was acting up, Clinton asked for a government-issued replacement. After two State Department officials advised that emails sent on the State system would be subject to open-records laws, a Clinton aide dropped the request, citing a bogus concern about migrating data.

When State began rolling out a new email archival system, Clinton’s team blocked implementation for themselves. Once, investigators reported, Clinton said she “requested a secure Blackberry … but she could not recall the reasons why State was unable to fulfill this request.” Yet another time, a plan to set up “an Internet-connected, stand-alone computer” in her office so she could check her private email, but for reasons not explained, “a stand-alone system was never set up.”

When it comes to Clinton’s handling of classified information, a number of new excuses crop up. First, there’s her claim she didn’t differentiate among various levels of classification — even though the government explicitly protects more-sensitive information far more jealously than less-sensitive secrets.

Clinton also claimed not to remember any training about classifying information — since, as secretary of state, she was authorized to do so — and “could not give an example of how the classification of a document was determined.” In a paraphrase of her remarks that is itself perfectly Clintonian, the FBI reports Clinton “did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not have been on an unclassified system.”

No emails “she thought” were classified. Depends on the meaning of “is” — er, “classified” — I guess. It just happens that, in hundreds and hundreds of cases, what “she thought” was determined by others to have been wrong.

But one story really takes the cake. FBI agents asked Clinton about email chains marked “(C),” which “ostensibly indicat(ed) the presence of information classified at the confidential level.” Her response? “Clinton stated she did not know what the ‘(C)’ meant … and speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.”

At this point, the agents should have been doubled over in laughter as they handcuffed her for an obvious instance of perjury. Were they — and are we — really to believe someone who had served for eight years as first lady, eight years as a senator and four years as secretary of state really was so clueless as not to know what classification markings meant? Or that for “(C)” to have been a matter of “alphabetical order” would require there also to have been an “(A)” and a “(B)”?

***

When I wrote a few weeks ago about some other of Hillary’s lies, a reader pointed out I hadn’t mentioned the untruths uttered by Donald Trump. I have relayed my disdain for Trump in several pieces, but let me address this particular concern.

Trump says things that are false because, by many accounts, he won’t spend the time to learn what’s true. Clinton, on the other hand, says things that are false because, as this episode and many others in her career demonstrate, she spends a lot of time trying to obscure what’s true.

Neither is a good look for a potential president. But the latter is the more deeply rooted character flaw.

Reader Comments 0

210 comments
carterjoseph1950
carterjoseph1950

Compared  to the tsunami of lies that pour fourth from the mouth of Donald J Trump, this issue is NOTHING, even though the rabid dogs will not let go of it. Those of us who are not Information Technology experts understand it. Can we talk about important things now?  Trump is dangerously unbalanced. Clinton is experienced, knows how the system works, and has been in public service for over three decades. Despite the constant onslaught of fake scandals from the right, and having mud flung incessantly at her, she stands tall. Do what is right, Mr. Wingfield. You MUST denounce Trump.

Even if you hate Clinton you must not vote for Trump. Think of it as the difference between indigestion and suicide. Hey, you can even start impeachment proceedings as soon as she is in office. It's not like she hasn't withstood unfair pressure before. Then rebuild the Republican party, which now lies in shambles. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey

An online opt-in survey. VERY scientifical!
You really done outdid yerseff this time, Andy.


About this august medical association? First graf of the wiki page:


The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to "fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine."[1][2] The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 5,000 in 2014.[3][4][5] Notable members include Ron Paul and John Cooksey.[6] Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, was a member for over two decades until his election to the U.S. Senate.[7]

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

it gets better:


Articles and commentaries published in the journal have argued a number of non-mainstream or scientifically discredited claims,[1] including:

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 the agents should have been doubled over in laughter as they handcuffed her for an obvious instance of perjury

Jeez, you're really reaching here. I'll ask the same question I've asked of others who seem to think the "(C)" is some kind of smoking gun--have you never received an email with something copied/pasted from a longer document before?

And as long as I'm posing rhetorical questions: I don't suppose learning as we did that a previous SoS used far more vulnerable communications to email confidential information to world leaders, might serve to scale back the shrillness just a tad, going forward?

bendedknee
bendedknee

@Visual_Cortex It is the GOP tactic of Swiftboating  a highly competent candidate they use when the GOP candidate like Trump or W is totally incompetent.

Phyllis Madren
Phyllis Madren

Dishonest and clueless fits one person and that's Hillary. You could add the AJC as well!!

Rosalyn McGuire Partridge
Rosalyn McGuire Partridge

Why AJC acting like she the only one that lies. We have had dishonest presidents before an as journalist I would have expected you to say an another dishonest President.

Sam Callan
Sam Callan

Could have both no matter which way it goes

Robert Head
Robert Head

Ok, then you need to concede your run for president seeing you state you didn't know what you was doing. Simple!!!!!

bendedknee
bendedknee

""""""""At his hearing, Comey was asked repeatedly about the marked emails, with Republicans accusing Clinton of lying, while Democrats defended her actions. As we have written, Clinton had repeatedly said she did not send or receive any emails marked classified. As recently as July 3 Clinton said that she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified.”

For example, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy asked Comey if Clinton was telling the truth when she said that she did not send or receive marked classified material. Comey said she wasn’t.

Gowdy, July 7: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her emails either sent or received. Was that true?

Comey: That’s not true. There were a small number of portion markings on I think three of the documents.

But later in the hearing, Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman asked Comey if he knew that the State Department had said that the emails were marked classified in error. Comey replied, “No.”

Likewise, Rep. Matt Cartwright, also a Democrat, asked Comey if the emails were properly classified, and Comey said they were not. (Order 13526 spells out how documents should be properly classified, including a header on the document clearly identifying the email as classified as “confidential,” “secret” or “top secret.”)

Cartwright asked if Clinton could have missed the improper markings. Comey said that that was possible.

Cartwright, July 7: So, if Secretary Clinton really were an expert at what’s classified and what’s not classified and we’re following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

Comey: That would be a reasonable inference."""


http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/revisiting-clinton-and-classified-information/

and Judge Wingfield has found her guilty  based on what?


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@lvg

Judge Wingfield has found her guilty  based on what?

Based on how he's not going to be TOO harsh on all his readers who are Trump fanboys. Gotta make sure he elevates minor-league junk like RecordkeepingcomplianceGHAZI to Permanent Scandal status.

Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers

With Hillary Clinton as president we might as well count on going to war with Russia. Putin isn't going to allow NATO provocation without retaliation and is counting on Trump to become president to avoid a war.

bendedknee
bendedknee

I  suggest you hide in your closet and be real skared of them Russkies.

Vernester Blkknowledge Sheard
Vernester Blkknowledge Sheard

All this email talk is becoming very annoying. This is a still conversation because is a tactic to keep people attention from Narcissistic Psychotic Trump's behavior, and the real issues at hand with the hacking of the DNC.

Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers

With Hillary you'd have both. She is so out of touch with the people

Kimberly Gentry
Kimberly Gentry

The clueless can be taught (theoretically) buy a liar will always be a liar

Gloria Brooks
Gloria Brooks

I would rather have an honest reporter and not bias reporting as seen in this blog.

Fundador Deleon
Fundador Deleon

If you want to know who is the most qualified for the Presidency and higher office job in America , take a closer look at who is the one that is the defending champion of the Constitution . Who is the one who respect your Constitutional rights and liberties. ? Freedom of speech , religious beliefs and many more rights are important to every single voter . The candidate who has been disrespectful to your rights that's the one who doesn't qualify. Servers and other similar packages isn't that important as the Constitution of United States. Errors and other disoriented decisions about certain things are happening since ages !!! Every one of us experienced one or two perhaps three times that type of unwelcome and none balance situations. But an individual who stand in the front of your face and launched an attack on your Constitutional rights ; that's the one who you ( CAN'T ) trust because you don't know how or when he is going to turned around and begin attacking your turf . I CAN'T TRUST DONALD TRUMP . HE ALREADY HAS BEEN LAUNCHING SERIOUS ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. AND THAT IS ENOUGH TO SAY NO !!!!

Homer Biles
Homer Biles

We already have a clueless President, Hillary is a liar and too crooked to be President, so we only have one choice, Donald Trump!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Sure looks as though Hedy is worried, very worried.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Hillary's, lead has evaporated over just a few short weeks. If Trump whips her in the upcoming debate it will be sayonara for the Democrats.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@SGTGrit Kyle's cohort, Jay Bookman, has pretty much staked his journalistic reputation on predicting that there is no possible way that Trump will win the Presidency.  He formerly predicted that there was no way Trump could even win the Republican nomination.  I'll laugh my butt off if Trump actually does win, or at least comes close.  As crazy as Trump is, I still believe he'll make a better Prez than Hillary.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Bruno2 @SGTGrit

Jay Bookman, has pretty much staked his journalistic reputation on predicting that there is no possible way that Trump will win the Presidency.

Cite, please. I don't recall Jay stating any such thing.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Visual_Cortex @Bruno2 @SGTGrit When someone guarantees something over and over again, I believe it's fair to say that they are putting their reputation on the line.  Whether Jay explicitly tied his reputation to his predictions is irrelevant, and for you to ask for such an explicit statement is pretty silly.


P.S. New home theater system is coming tomorrow, I don't know if you saw my announcement a few columns back.

bendedknee
bendedknee

Can you share her doctor's notes with us  please?

Cheryl Fife Simmons
Cheryl Fife Simmons

She doesn't know how to handle emails but thinks she can run a country...sheesh

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Well, that's that.


TUCSON, Ariz.Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious—could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). 


http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hillarys-health-concerns-serious-say-most-doctors-polled-by-the-association-of-american-physicians-and-surgeons-aaps-300325065.html


We have a consensus.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine The new birtherism.


An instant classic.


Republicans would do well to remember the last time they made a diagnosis on TV


Terri Schiavo


And we all know how that worked out.


Fail


AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Hedley_Lammar @IReportYouWhine


Only 11% said a physician should "keep silent unless he had personally examined the patient," and 10% that the candidate's health was "off limits for public discussion."


These are professional opinions we are discussing here. I think it's best that you heed their advice. One of the things that convinced me that global warming was real was when 97% of climate scientists confirmed it.


What is your problem?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Hedley_Lammar @IReportYouWhine You know, unlike global warming, their is vast amounts of evidence pointing to hillary's health decline, cough, cough, cough, but yet still I believe in global warming because 97% of the experts say I should.


You went to college?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine @Hedley_Lammar  Yes, I do remember Terri Schiavo and your kind calling her "brain dead."


Because sadly she was.


http://tinyurl.com/j8872dz


The picture on the left is a normal brain. On the right is Terri's


Yes. Quacks


Her brain had liquefied. There is no dispute about this.


And Republicans kept her alive, against her wishes, all for politics


Is there anything more disgusting than that ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine @Hedley_Lammar He will have plenty of time off shortly. 


61 days to be exact.


He can go back to screwing contractors, declaring bankruptcy, and selling guys like you crappy vodka.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Hedley_Lammar @IReportYouWhine Her brain liquefied because she was starved to death by liberals greedy for insurance money.


Reduced Brain Volume

When the brain starts to break down its own neurons, the brain literally shrinks. This shrinkage, however, is reversible if starvation is ended. A study published in the May 2010 issue of "International Journal of Eating Disorders" showed reduced brain volume in people with anorexia nervosa. When anorexics starve themselves to lose weight, their brain starts metabolizing its own gray matter. However, those subjects who regained weight also regained brain volume.


http://www.livestrong.com/article/388636-the-effects-of-no-food-on-the-human-brain/


Try getting an education, er, a real education.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@IReportYouWhine Maybe her tombstone will say...............


Hillary lies here!


You know I agree with Headley that you can't diagnose someone from a TV, although I think Obamacare allows that as a billable medical visit.  The Dems however don't seem to have much hesitation diagnosing Trump's mental health without exam or degree tho.  Everyday some wacky pop culture social justice warrior tweets out something about Trump's psychological health.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Hedley_Lammar @RafeHollister @IReportYouWhine I hope you aren't going to your class at ITT Tech, you know they are no longer giving out those technology degrees and you aren't going to get any of your money back, right.  Hang in there, maybe Obama/Clinton will bail out all those indebted "students".

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@IReportYouWhine 

Don't know about her physical fitness, although she appears seriously over weight, but her emotional stability certainly is questionable at least as what we would expect of a president. Didn't she burst into tears on the campaign  trail in New England when she was running against Barack Obama for the Democrat nomination?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine @Hedley_Lammar No


But i'm smart enough to know any physician who thinks they can give a diagnosis without actually seeing the patient is a quack. 


Ala Terri Schiavo.


Also beware of "informal internet surveys"


They are bullshyte

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @IReportYouWhine And another birther makes his appearance.


I have a life so ill be leaving you shortly


So feel free to discuss the fake moon landing. That climate change is a hoax.


And that Rafael Cruz killed Kennedy unabated. 


Im sure I left out a few. But you guys know what they are.


Enjoy !