“Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News.”
The mainstream media is dutifully ignoring this while they can, so you may well say, “Oh, well that’s just Fox News.” However, this bit of leaked information should not be surprising, and assuming that it is accurate, it follows the pattern of each bit of new data further discrediting Clinton’s various defenses for her indefensible handling of communications.
I point you to the analysis of George Washington law professor and blogger Jonathan Turley, who is that rarity in academia, a non-partisan, fair and unbiased commentator. Here, in part, are his recent comments on this matter. Please send it to the unshakable Clinton enablers in your life: a mind is a terrible thing to waste. (The emphasis is mine.)
While I agree with the Clinton campaign that these leaks are themselves problematic (both in terms of their timing and their disclosures from an ongoing investigation), I have long maintained that this was a serious scandal and that Clinton’s evolving defense does not track with national security rules or procedures. I consider the decision to use exclusively an unsecure server for “convenience” to be a breathtakingly reckless act for one of the top officials in our government. I am also deeply concerned about the level of “spin” coming from the campaign that is misrepresenting the governing standards and practices in the field. Much of what has been said in defense of Clinton’s use of the email system is knowingly misleading in my view.
In addition, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who sits on the House intelligence committee, “suggested the military and intelligence communities have had to change operations” due to the presumption that Clinton’s emails were compromised.
… I have previously noted that the decision of Clinton to use a personal server showed incredibly bad judgment that put classified information at risk. The defense that the information was not marked, which the campaign has been using recently, does not address the fundamental issues in the scandal. Clinton has insisted that “I never sent classified material on my email, and I never received any that was marked classified.” The key of this spin is again the word “marked.” I have previously discussed why that explanation is less than compelling, particularly for anyone who has handled sensitive or classified material.
As I discussed earlier, virtually anything coming out of the office of the Secretary of State would be considered classified as a matter of course. I have had a TS/SCI clearance since Reagan due to my national security work and have lived under the restrictions imposed on email and other systems. The defense is that this material was not technically classified at the time that it was sent. Thus it was not “classified” information. The problem is that it was not reviewed and classified because it was kept out of the State Department system. Moreover, most high-level communications are treated as classified and only individually marked as classified when there is a request for disclosure. You do not generate material as the Secretary of State and assume that it is unclassified. You are supposed to assume and treat it as presumptively classified. Indeed that understanding was formally agreed to by Clinton when she signed the “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement,” or SF-312, which states that “classified information is marked or unmarked classified information, including oral communications.” …Under the same logic, the President could use a personal email system because his text messages by definition are not marked as classified. Classified oral communications are not “marked” nor would classified information removed from secure systems and sent via a personal server. Likewise, classified oral communications that are followed up with emails would not be “marked.” This is the whole reason that Clinton and others were told to use the protected email system run by the State Department. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to secure such systems.
What is equally curious is the decision by Clinton to double down in the last town hall and reject the claim that she used “poor judgment” in using an unsecure system. To say that you decided to risk confidential and classified communications for “convenience” is hardly a compelling case for someone who is running on her national security and foreign affairs experience.
Unfortunately, Turley is addicted to using nice, equivocal phrasing like “I have previously discussed why that explanation is less than compelling.” What he means, but is too polite and professorial to say, is “This is bullshit.” The same goes for “To say that you decided to risk confidential and classified communications for “convenience” is hardly a compelling case for someone who is running on her national security and foreign affairs experience.” I really hate it when credible commentators do this: it allows those in denial to minimize the import of what they are saying. In truth, these facts make a compelling case that the individual running for President has proven herself untrustworthy.
Yesterday, a close friend, a lawyer, twisted her brain and integrity into knots trying to deny the obvious implications of Hillary’s e-mail conduct. “Well, they classify everything,” she said. “Wait,” I asked,”You seriously believe that nothing that was sent to the Secretary of State over four years was legitimately classified?”
“I don’t know enough about it to say. Besides, my information was hacked in the OPM database. Maybe her server was just as secure,” she replied.
“But we know it wasn’t secure. The fact that the State system might have been hacked doesn’t excuse intentionally using an unsecure server.”
Finally she says, “Fine. I don’t want to see this to knock out Hillary no matter what she did, because if that means either Trump or Sanders become President, then I’ll have to leave the country.”
And if it means abandoning the rule of law, and deciding that some people are too important to jail—even though that’s what Hillary herself has said must never be the case?
“That’s still better than Trump.”
Really? Is it really? I don’t know how to combat thinking like this. Obviously Turley’s straight analysis won’t do it alone. Yes, I admit it: I would be glad to see Hillary Clinton held strictly and legally responsible for her machinations, because her presence on the American scene is corrosive, but also because it would be right, fair, the way our system is supposed to operate, and a wonderful tonic for those who believe that the wealthy and powerful don’t have to follow the rules. My motives are non-partisan and impersonal; my grin is something else. Fortunately my biases square with the law, and my position is not driven by “the ends justify the means.” Turley’s analysis should be sufficiently persuasive for the uncorrupted.
Maybe it’s time for this again. Actually, it’s always time for it:
Graphic: Deviant Art