Friday, January 29, 2016

Why didn't Hillary Clinton mark her emails as "Classified"?

AP via the Huffington Post:

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton's unsecured home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails with material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate. Department officials also said the agency's Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus will investigate whether any of the information was classified "at the time of transmission", going to the heart of one of Clinton's primary defenses of her email practices. The State Department will release its next batch of emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state later Friday ... Even if Clinton only read, and didn't write or forward the secret messages, she still would have been required to report classification slippages that she recognized. But without classification markings, that may have been difficult, especially if the information was in the public domain.

The Hill:

Clinton campaign responds: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is urging the State Department to release all emails from her private server and criticizing the decision to withhold 22 messages classified as top secret. "This appears to be over-classification run amok," Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said in a lengthy statement. "We will pursue all appropriate avenues to see that her emails are released in a manner consistent with her call last year. We firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails". Fallon insisted that the emails were unmarked "at the time they were sent."

The Obama administration confirmed that the unsecured home server Hillary Clinton used while secretary of state contained some of the US government’s most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification.

Clinton always uses the excuse that what she did wasn't "illegal" and that she did nothing wrong by using a private server — and that all her mails weren't marked classified "at the time" they were sent or received. But it doesn't matter if the emails were "marked" top secret, when someone in her post should have realized that the content was classified.

And her argument fails when she uses the excuse that none of the emails originated from her, because if she had been using a secured server with government oversight, it wouldn't have been a problem.

She claims the server was set up for "convenience" so she wouldn't need two mobile devices for private and official correspondence. But that only leaves her to decide what is private and what is not. I personally suspect she wanted to hide the business her foundation was doing by using a private server.

But if the general public is so concerned about the Patriot Act and the NSA'a ability to read private emails, wouldn't U.S. intelligence agencies have had the same capabilities to read Hillary Clinton's emails on her unsecured server? And if so, what about foreign intelligence agencies?

Major corporations, with their own security practices, are hacked all the time. Some of our own government agencies, with their own sophisticated security enhancements, have also been hacked. So what would lead Hillary (or anyone else) to believe that her emails were protected, and/or that it was even approximate to use a private server given her position as Secretary of State?

When Hillary Clinton deleted all those other emails, why didn't she also delete those that may have been deemed top secret after the fact? And why did she delete any emails at all, and after the GOP started asking for them? What did she have to hide?

Technically speaking, a government worker doing government business has no real expectation of privacy when doing the people's work. Their actions are supposed to be transparent and open to internal oversight. It's not JUST Republicans who are concerned about this — but the Clinton machine and the media wants us to believe that for the Democrats, this is not an issue. But it is an issues, whether Hillary supporters agree or not, because real lives were stake.

IMHO, it seems to me that, as Secretary of State, ANY private communication involving her email should have been considered "classified" if there was no government oversight of her unsecured server in her home...otherwise, anything she sends and receives would had to have been marked "classified" my she herself...and she didn't.


  1. UPDATE: Read these articles--there is too much to excerpt.

    February 1, 2016: Why isn’t Bernie Sanders talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails? "There is a legal process in place which should proceed and not be politicized."

    February 1, 2016: Hillary Clinton's emails contain operational intel, putting lives at risk.

    January 31, 2016: A former Inspector General says Hillary and the State Department are lying

    January 30, 2016: The State Department will not release 22 "top secret" Clinton emails

    February 1, 2016: Hillary Clinton Equates "Top Secret" email controversy to the Republicans attacks on her over Benghazi.

  2. Howard J. Krongard, a Harvard law graduate who served as inspector general of the State Department (2005-2008), believes that “this was all planned in advance” to circumvent federal recordkeeping requirements. Krongard goes on to tell the New York Post how unusual it was that Clinton’s State Department did not have an inspector general, calling the nearly six-year absence of an inspector general “unprecedented” and “the longest period any department has gone without an IG,” signaling once more Clinton’s attempt to keep things off the books.

    The FBI is now reportedly ready to recommend indictment of Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, though, the decision to indict rests not with the FBI but with Obama’s Justice Department.

    The New York Post reports, based on comments by Krongard, that “any criminal referral to the Justice Department from the FBI ‘will have to go through four loyal Democrat women’ — Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department’s criminal division; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.”

    Even in the face of a plethora of damning information that surfaced and will continue to surface as a result of the FBI probe, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Obama’s politicized Justice Department chooses to indict the leading Democrat nominee for the presidency.

    * MY COMMENT: Very informative post. While as much as I'd like to see Clinton held accountable, it's not as you say: "This is what the modern-day Democrat does – circumvent the law when it’s inconvenient". Both political parties (depending on who's in office) hold themselves ABOVE THE LAW.

  3. Hillary Clinton wrote 104 emails on her private server that the government now says are “classified.” The finding is the first accounting of her personal role in placing information now considered sensitive into insecure email during her State Department tenure. The analysis also showed that the practice of using non-secure email systems to send sensitive information was widespread at the department and elsewhere in government. Clinton’s publicly released correspondence includes classified emails written by about 300 other people inside and outside the government, including longtime diplomats, top administration officials and foreigners with no security clearance. The analysis raises difficult questions about how the government treats sensitive information -- suggesting that either material is being overclassified, or that classified material is being handled improperly with regularity by government officials at all levels — or some combination of the two.

  4. Clinton has said she set up the private system for convenience, in order to avoid carrying more than one mobile device to access government and private emails. Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department staffer who helped set up Hillary Clinton's private email server, began his cooperation with the FBI and the Justice Department under an immunity deal late last year after initially rebuffing investigators by pleading the Fifth. Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Clinton's presidential campaign, said the campaign was "pleased" that Pagliano was cooperating with the Justice Department. But the State Department released 52,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails as part of a court-ordered process. Fallon: "Clinton has encouraged everyone to cooperate because we want to make every good-faith effort to be transparent and answer any questions people have. With Mr. Pagliano, we encouraged him as well because we don't think he has any reason to not be transparent about the help that he provided from an IT perspective, but unfortunately, it is his choice what to do." With the completion of the email review, FBI investigators are expected to shift their focus on whether the highly sensitive government information, including top secret and other classified matters, found on Clinton's private email server constitutes a crime.

  5. In roughly three-quarters of those cases, officials have determined that material that Clinton herself wrote in the body of email messages is classified. Clinton sometimes initiated the conversations, but more often replied to aides or other officials with brief reactions to ongoing discussions. The analysis also showed that the practice of using non-secure email systems to send sensitive information was widespread at the department and elsewhere in government. [My note: So because her underlings were doing it, it makes it alright for her too.] The analysis did not account for 22 emails that the State Department has withheld entirely from public release because they are “top secret,” the highest level of classification. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the large number of people who sent and received emails that were declared classified was a sign of “overclassification run amok, and indicates that our system for determining what ought to be classified is broken.” [My note: So her campaign spokesman is also an intelligence expert.] Fallon said the classification determinations “were after-the-fact . . . for the purposes of preparing these emails for release publicly. It does not mean the material was classified when it was sent or received.” [My note: She has always said that none of the emails was “marked classified” at the time she sent or received them. As head of the department, shouldn't she have known "at that time" whether information she sent or received was classified? Or should she have first consulted with her campaign spokesman?]

  6. UPDATE ON MARCH 11, 2016

    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.

  7. ---------- 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.