Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Email, Hillary Clinton "Above the Law"

I just heard about this on CNN, so I looked it up... (per

This week, Clinton has been walking back any claims of misjudgment or mistakes regarding her email scandal, claiming, “nothing that I did was wrong, it was not in any way prohibited,” and that her private server was “permitted.” But Clinton’s exclusive use of private email while she was Secretary of State was unprecedented and violated several major rules and regulations. Here are just some of the many State Department rules and Federal laws she violated:

  1. Rule Violation #1: Clinton violated a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) she signed upon becoming Secretary by retaining records with classified information.
  2. Rule Violation #2: Clinton violated State Department regulations forbidding the storage of classified information anywhere other than "the chancery" or "consulate" even for "reasons of personal convenience."
  3. Rule Violation #3: Clinton used a BlackBerry to transmit classified information despite State Department policy prohibiting its use.
  4. Rule Violation #4: Clinton violated State Department policy by giving classified material to her lawyer despite the fact that he lacked an "approved classified material storage facility."
  5. Rule Violation #5: Clinton violated federal rules requiring she turn over work-related emails upon leaving office.


Politico: 7 members of Congress in the bag for Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to the State Inspector General’s office complaining that her emails are being politicized (Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Thomas Carper, Ben Carper, Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings.)

A spokesman for the IG's office said partisan politics have played no role in the investigation: "We are now reviewing the email practices of the current and last four Secretaries of State, not just Secretary Clinton. Any suggestion that the office is biased against any particular Secretary is completely false."

Both of the IGs in question are appointees of President Barack Obama.

Rule Violation #1: Clinton violated a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) she signed upon becoming Secretary by retaining records with classified information.

In Section 7 of her NDA, Clinton agreed to return any classified information she gained access to, and further agreed that failure to do so could be punished under Sections 793 and 1924 of the US Criminal Code.

According To § 793 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who willfully retains, transmits or causes to be transmitted, national security information, can face up to ten years in prison.

According To § 1924 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who removes classified information “ with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location," can face up to a year in prison.

The agreement considers information classified whether it is “marked or unmarked.”

To date, 1,340 emails on Hillary’s secret server have been found to contain classified material.

Among these, two have been deemed “Top Secret.”

In addition, a new letter from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) reveals Clinton’s secret server contained intelligence from the U.S. government’s most secretive and highly classified programs. According to sworn statements from two intelligence agencies, “several dozen emails” contain classified information, including information beyond Top Secret with material on “special access programs.”

The material is apparently so sensitive that lawmakers conducting oversight of the State Department cannot read them.

Rule Violation #2: Clinton violated State Department regulations forbidding the storage of classified information anywhere other than "the chancery" or "consulate" even for "reasons of personal convenience."

According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clinton's tenure (12 FAM 531), "classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience."

Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that “each employee, irrespective of rank must certify” that classified information “is not in their household or personal effects.”

Clinton’s server was “physically located on her property,” according to a statement released by her office. In 2013, Platte River Networks took her server from her residence to New Jersey. Hillary has infamously credited her decision to exclusively use a private email server for official business as a matter of “convenience.”

Rule Violation #3: Clinton used a BlackBerry to transmit classified information despite State Department policy prohibiting its use.

As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that “classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited.”

Yet, State Department official Wendy Sherman bragged that Secretary Clinton used her BlackBerry to negotiate delicate Middle East peace talks over her BlackBerry, correspondence that has now been classified. Sherman herself proclaimed, “That would never be on an unclassified system…”

The sensitive discussion Clinton conducted on her BlackBerry likely falls within the parameters of “foreign government information.” The U.S. government defines any information written or spoken that is provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts as “foreign government information,” which is “presumed” classified according to U.S. regulations.  

Rule Violation #4: Clinton violated State Department policy by giving classified material to her lawyer despite the fact that he lacked an "approved classified material storage facility."

Classified information at the State Department can only be accessed in an approved facility at a Foreign Affairs agency or contractor facility (12 FAM 536.1-3, U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual).

Yet, in July 2015, the State Department arranged for a safe to be installed in the office of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers to hold a thumb drive of Clinton’s email, many of which contained classified information. The thumb drive was turned over to the FBI in August 2015.

The State Department has since conceded that Clinton’s lawyers did not have a secure-enough method for storing Clinton’s emails, which are stipulated in detail in the National Industrial Security Program’s Operating Manual (NISPOM).

Rule Violation #5: Clinton violated federal rules requiring she turn over work-related emails upon leaving office.

Federal regulations required that Clinton hand over all work-related emails upon leaving the State Department.

In 2009 (Clinton’s first year as Secretary), regulations were updated to specifically address the storage of email records not sent on official systems:

“Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate record-keeping system.”

The “head of each federal agency” (in this case Secretary Clinton) is responsible for making and preserving the records.

While Clinton has repeatedly claimed that she turned over all work related emails, the State Department revealed in June 2015 that it had not received “all or part of 15 work-related emails” from Clinton.

Contrary to her account of selfless transparency, Clinton did not hand over all work-related emails upon leaving the State Department or as part of a “general record-keeping” request. It was not until the summer of 2014, when the State Department discovered it had possession of relatively few email records from Clinton’s tenure that a request was made to provide her emails.  

Hillary Clinton can make baseless claims about her decisions being “permitted” and in total compliance with federal rules, regulations and statutes, but they are explicit, and her actions were in clear violation.


  1. UPDATE: A MUST READ......

    Is the White House Putting Its Finger on the Scale in the Clinton Email Investigation?

    By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 11, 2016

  2. The material in her possession, on her perfectly legal authorized server, was not designated as content classified at that time, so all 5 points are tangentially irrelevant.

    1. I'll ask Bill Clinton. I'm sure he can explain to me what the definition of "is" is ;)

  3. ♦ ♦ ♦ More About Hillary Clinton's Emails in the New Yorker ♦ ♦ ♦The other reason for Sanders to stay in the contest is one that most Democrats, even Sanders, are reluctant to discuss. Polls show that Clinton’s greatest vulnerability has to do with trustworthiness and character. She is navigating three federal investigations resulting from her handling of classified data while she was Secretary of State. However these turn out, it is unusual for a presumptive nominee and some of her current and former aides to be under investigation by the F.B.I. Lost amid all the electoral news of Super Tuesday was a cryptic statement made by James Comey, the head of the F.B.I., during testimony before Congress: “I am very close, personally, to that investigation to insure that we have the resources we need, including people and technology.” The following day, the Times reported that a former Clinton aide, Bryan Pagliano, who set up her e-mail server and had pleaded the Fifth Amendment when he was asked to testify before Congress, had agreed to an immunity deal with the F.B.I. Moreover, the Times noted that the Bureau was likely to interview Clinton as part of its investigation.

    At a Democratic debate last October, Sanders declared the scandal a non-issue. He said, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.” Some of his strategists have been trying to get him to change his mind, but they say that his wife, Jane, has opposed attacking Clinton too harshly. Tulchin told me, “We’re constrained by a candidate and his spouse who don’t want to say anything negative about her, don’t
    want to name her.”

    Democrats outside the campaign remain surprised by Sanders’s decision not to raise the e-mail issue more directly and alarmed that more Democrats are not talking about the potential fallout from the investigations. “The person that the White House cleared the field for, and that everyone has fallen in line for, has three federal investigations going on,” a prominent Democratic consultant told me. “The guy who set up the system for her took the Fifth. You’re not supposed to read anything into that, but please. It’s the elephant in the room, and Sanders took it off the table. Trump will have no problem going after this stuff.”

    Last week, I asked Sanders if he had made a mistake in not pressing the issue. “I understand that the political commentators stay up nights hoping and praying that I could become a Donald Trump, because they love Donald Trump,” he said, referring to Trump’s dark warning that Clinton will be indicted and unable to continue her campaign. He went on to complain about how the media covers every outrageous statement made by Trump yet
    ignores his own policy speeches. He acknowledged the seriousness of the investigations but said, “We have a legal process by which it is occurring and it will take place.”

    From a "California for Sanders" Facebook post:Hillary needed a private server to keep her arms deals with foreign dictators undocumented by the State Department. The huge and expensive FBI based investigation is not a civil suit, but a serious criminal one. Hillary has essentially committed treason on a large scale in order to make huge amounts of money for the Clinton Foundation. Purportedly a charity, only 10% of any monies received by this foundation go towards anything remotely charitable. The rest goes into Clinton pockets. Any day now Hillary will be called to answer a well documented case against her which could, and very well might, result in a criminal indictment. At this point Bernie is our nominee. How she continues to run for president at all beats us. We suspect after all she and Bill have gotten away with (and with Kissinger's bolstering and advice - look what he's gotten away with!), she feels it all laughable. And then there's the question of character and cognitive dissonance. Don't abandon Bernie. He is about to surprise and delight you.

  4. Fortune Mag:

    Sometime in the next several weeks, it’ll be evident what will come of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails, and the much-less discussed Clinton Foundation controversies, the latter questioning whether Clinton, in her capacity as secretary of state, helped promote the Foundation in illegal ways.

    Now, the chances of a Clinton indictment are probably exceedingly small, unless there is evidence uncovered by the FBI that hasn’t been in the public eye. But even were the FBI to recommend an indictment, the chances of the Justice Department actually prosecuting seem somewhere between slim and none.

    But assuming no indictment, the very spectacle of word leaking out that the FBI had been rebuffed in its recommendation of indictment, or if one or more Clinton aides get legally entangled in the server controversy, Clinton could be so damaged that her prospects against even someone like Trump in the general election would be seriously compromised. Under those circumstances, the party might then decide that Sanders is basically the only game left in town.

    Will any of these possibilities occur? There are only a few who know (FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and President Obama, among a handful of others), and they aren’t talking. Anything less than complete exoneration of Clinton and her staff will leave her vulnerable to attack from Republicans, if not from Sanders himself.

    * Obama's Eric Holder wouldn't prosecute a banker; so what could make us believe that Obama's Loretta Lynch would prosecute Obama's former Secretary of State? Nothing, because the administration is corrupt through and through.

  5. ---------- IMPORTANT UPDATE ----------

    Law makes clear DOJ should prosecute Clinton for mishandling ‘national defense information,’ classified or not.

    Since the beginning of the Clinton email scandal, the nation has been subjected to a political and criminal defense generated smokescreen. The Clinton campaign has attempted to make the public believe that she is not guilty of anything because the information on her very unprotected server was not “marked as classified” or “classified at the time.”

    The applicable statute, 18 USC 793, however, does not even once mention the word “classified.” The focus is on “information respecting the national defense” that potentially “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” 793 (f) specifically makes it a crime for anyone “entrusted with ... any document ... or information relating to the national defense ... through gross negligence (to permit) the same to be removed from its proper place of custody.” A jury (not a Democrat or Republican political administration) is, of course, the best body to determine gross negligence on the facts of this case.

    The courts have held repeatedly that “national defense information” includes closely held military, foreign policy and intelligence information and that evidence that the information is classified is not necessary for a prosecution.

    Evidence that the information was upon later review found to be classified, however, as is the case with approximately 2,000 Clinton messages, is of course one kind of proof that the information met the test of “national defense information” in the first place. (See U.S. v. Rosen and Weissman, 445 F. Supp. 2d 602 (E.D. Va. 2006) pertaining to a different provision but containing a good summary of law on national defense information and classified information.)

    The fact that the information does not have to be “marked classified” at the time only makes sense because sometimes, as in the case of the Clinton case and other 793 cases, the information is originated and distributed before any security officer can perform a review and put a classification mark on it.

    Bernie Sanders is indeed the real Democratic front-runner, especially since Clinton doesn’t have a genuine defense for her upcoming FBI interview. Intelligence within emails doesn’t have to be marked classified, can indeed become retroactively classified, and should never have been on Clinton’s unguarded private server. Once the FBI clears the “smokescreen” that establishment Democrats have allowed blur their vision, Clinton will likely concede the race to Sanders.