Team Hillary: Inspector General is part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, or something; Update: Obama appointee

posted at 10:41 am on January 20, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

So much for Hillary Clinton’s “no classified information sent or received” excuse, eh? As noted yesterday, intelligence Inspector General Charles McCullough has informed Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that several dozen e-mails have been discovered in the former Secretary of State’s unauthorized private server that have classified information pertaining to “special access programs,” operations so secretive that their classification can only be assigned by certain Cabinet members or their chief deputies.

NBC News noted late last night that these do not include the two previously noted e-mails with Top Secret/Compartmented classified information. Also, the IG and his team actually had to have their clearances upgraded to see the affadavits from intel agents in the first place:

Charles McCulllough, the intelligence community’s inspector general, said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that he has received sworn declarations from an intelligence agency he declined to name.

The declarations cover “several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP information.”

An intelligence official familiar with the matter told NBC News that the special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails.

Team Hillary responded by calling this an “interagency dispute,” Josh Gerstein and Rachel Bade report for Politico:

“This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received” said Clinton Campaign Spokesman Brian Fallon. “It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Justice Department’s inquiry should be allowed to proceed without any further interference.”

Fallon followed up this morning by accusing the IG of conspiring with Republicans — resurrecting the “vast right-wing conspiracy” of Hillary’s time in the White House:

CAMEROTA: But the Inspector General isn’t a Republican.

FALLON: Actually, I think this was a very coordinated leak yesterday.

CAMEROTA: Why do you think he’s a stooge of the Republicans in Congress? I’ve heard you say that. What’s your evidence?

FALLON: Because two months ago there was a Politico report that directly challenged the finding of this Inspector General, and I don’t think he liked that very much. So I think that he put two Republican Senators up to sending him a letter so that he would have an excuse to resurface the same allegations he made back in the summer that have been discredited.

That claim stunned national-security reporter Josh Rogin:

Wow, indeed. The “interagency dispute” claim is a red herring anyway, because State does not have the authority to declassify information from sources outside of its own agency. An executive order signed by Barack Obama in December 2009 (EO 13526) continued a policy from at least the Bill Clinton administration (EO 12958) that strictly prohibits agencies from changing classification levels set by other agencies, emphasis mine:

It is presumed that information that continues to meet the classification requirements under this order requires continued protection. In some exceptional cases, however, the need to protect such information may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the information, and in these cases the information should be declassified. When such questions arise, they shall be referred to the agency head or the senior agency official. That official will determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure.

Short of that, any “interagency dispute” on classification levels goes to the Information Security Oversight Office, and after that to the White House:

If the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office determines that information is classified in violation of this order, the Director may require the information to be declassified by the agency that originated the classification. Any such decision by the Director may be appealed to the President through the National Security Advisor. The information shall remain classified pending a prompt decision on the appeal.

The Secretary of State has no authority to declare information developed outside of State as declassified, “interagency dispute” or not. On top of that, the “special access programs” designation on these communications demonstrate that far from being in dispute, the programs involved are so secretive that everyone who has access to this information knows they are classified at the highest levels.

So what was the program involved? At least some of them had to do with drone strikes, Gerstein and Bade report, originating with the CIA:

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said some or all of the emails deemed to implicate “special access programs” related to U.S. drone strikes. Those who sent the emails were not involved in directing or approving the strikes, but responded to the fallout from them, the official said.

The information in the emails “was not obtained through a classified product, but is considered “‘per se’ classified” because it pertains to drones, the official added. The U.S. treats drone operations conducted by the CIA as classified, even though in a 2012 internet chat Presidential Barack Obama acknowledged U.S.-directed drone strikes in Pakistan.

So? We acknowledge having submarine-based nuclear weapons too, for example, but information on the operation and tactics of those receives the highest levels of classification. Anything that could potentially give an enemy an edge has to be kept out of the public domain, and previous leaks do not change that. Certainly, nothing related to official response to drone operations should be transmitted outside of secure comms channels. And yet here we have the Secretary of State and her staff discussing some of the most operationally and diplomatically sensitive operations in the war on terror — over a home-brew secret server based in her house, set up to keep Congress and the courts from exercising legitimate constitutional oversight on the State Department’s operations.

The Hillary Clinton camp has been recycling the same canards for months now on the e-mail scandal. It’s time that the Department of Justice made Team Hillary a lot less comfortable with the investigation.

Update: It’s worth pointing out that newly minted VRWC figure Charles McCullough was appointed as IG for intelligence by … Barack Obama. The Senate, under Democratic control at the time, confirmed his appointment by unanimous consent.

Update: How embarrassing is this? McClatchy thinks it’s pretty newsworthy:

Hillary Clinton’s spokesman accused the Intelligence Community Inspector General Wednesday of working with Republicans to attack the Democratic presidential front-runner.

“I think this was a very coordinated leak,” Brian Fallon said on CNN. “Two months ago there was a…report that directly challenged the finding of this inspector general, and I don’t think he liked that very much. So I think that he put two Republican senators up to sending him a letter so that he would have an excuse to resurface the same allegations he made back in the summer that have been discredited.”

The comments came after Inspector General Charles McCullough III told senators that he believes at least several dozen of emails Clinton sent and received while she was secretary of state contained classified material at the highest levels, according to a letter obtained by McClatchy.

McCullough was nominated by President President Barack Obama in August 2011 to be the first inspector general for the 16 intelligence agencies and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee that October. The full Senate agreed by unanimous consent in November.

D’oh!


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Comment pages: 1 2

Rumor has it the VRWC is also responsible for global warming.

HumpBot Salvation on January 20, 2016 at 10:51 AM

..it’s NOt a rumor. It is a demonstrable fact. I mean with all of the lefty commentators and pundits palavering over how bad/evil conservatives are that hot air (sorry, Ed) has to go somewhere.

The War Planner on January 20, 2016 at 1:01 PM

Trey Gowdy dithered. Obama should’ve been impeached, and Hillary should be in jail.

sauldalinsky on January 20, 2016 at 1:12 PM

lol. failure theater again. and DESPERATE failure theater at that.

everdiso on January 20, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, you know…

Newtie and the Beauty on January 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

Is it just me….or does this Fallon guy have an extremely punchable looking face?

BigSven on January 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

Darn it. They’ve just outed Barack as a member of the The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

I had hoped we could have kept him hidden. Darn!!!!

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 1:16 PM

At this point, who ISN’T part of the VWRC?

Other than the GOPe I mean.

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 1:18 PM

you know, the younger generation, millenials, have spent their lives watching Reality TV, not scripted TV, but Reality TV, where a bunch of losers and liars and snakes and thugs and hooligans are tossed into a situation and then they watch as these same people, lie, hurt, fake, steal, cheat to win at these events or even “housewives” type life and they have been taught to spot the Liars and the Lies…

There is no “love” for Hillary among these young folks. They see her as an Old Lying Lady that lies about everything and blames others….just like the “stars” of their reality TV Shows.

Then they see Trump…the BOSS…Fire People, hire people, having his own billion dollars that he got from his own businesses and they can see the difference. One person is a BOSS, the other is just Bossy.

Dino V on January 20, 2016 at 1:18 PM

darn. meant VRWC not VWRC. Stupid old Hot Air editor.

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 1:18 PM

If the President a Clinton does it, that means it’s not illegal.

-HRC

Can we make conjugal visits illegal?

-WJC

wytshus on January 20, 2016 at 1:19 PM

failure theater again. and DESPERATE failure theater at that.

everdiso on January 20, 2016 at 11:18 AM

I wonder when you’ll ever be an independent adult thinker.

CWforFreedom on January 20, 2016 at 1:23 PM

“I did not have classified relations with that e-mail server!”

Hillary’s defense that the e-mails were not [marked] classified when received or sent would be laughable if not so serious. Somebody removed the classified headers and footers, then copied that information into an unsecure digital network. There is no way that a serious felony was not committed.

Can you imagine the NY Times giving a pass to a Republican if they turned out to have highly classified information on a personal computer?

At this point, I expect several of Hillary’s minions to face criminal prosecution for this. As for Hillary herself, it’s becoming a question of whether she’ll receive a Presidential pardon (I think yes, because she knows too many of Obama’s secrets), and whether that pardon would come before or after a conviction.

I think that part of SecDef’s current push to further punish General Petraeus is a not-subtle message to the Justice Department that Top-Secret information is very important stuff and infractions will be punished no matter how well connected or popular the perpetrator might be.

I just hope that Loretta Lynch and the DOJ are not stupid enough to give Hillary a pass on this.

DaveK on January 20, 2016 at 1:32 PM

I wonder when you’ll ever be an independent adult thinker.

CWforFreedom on January 20, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Not much chance of that. Hence the monikers everditzy, everdizzy, everditzo, etc.

Neitherleftorright on January 20, 2016 at 1:49 PM

Hillary is spelled P-A-R-A-N-O-I-D.

But as Kissenger said, “even paranoids have enemies”, right? ;)

itsspideyman on January 20, 2016 at 12:57 PM

Really? I thought it was H-E-M-M-O-R-R-H-O-I-D. Got my roids mixed up.

Neitherleftorright on January 20, 2016 at 1:53 PM

The VRWC caused Mohammed to marry that 6 yr old girl and f*ck her at 9 yrs old.

Nutstuyu on January 20, 2016 at 2:16 PM

It’s getting more and more obvious that Loretta Lynch needs to appoint a special prosecutor.

blink on January 20, 2016 at 1:19 PM

No offense to Palin’s kid, but I think we need someone who’s not suffering from a handicap or Down’s Syndrome.

Nutstuyu on January 20, 2016 at 2:17 PM

The NT Times published the IG’s letter.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/19/us/politics/document-letter-by-the-intelligence-agencies-inspector-general.html

I suppose the NY Times is now part of the VRWC.

Someone said that. Was it Bill Clinton?

dogsoldier on January 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM

CWforFreedom on January 20, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Never. everbrainless is DESPERATELY in love with hillary.

dogsoldier on January 20, 2016 at 2:24 PM

An astute observation from one of the commenters at Power Line. Would one of our Goose-Stepping Hillario Cult Members care to comment on this?

Hillary Clinton has the amazing ability to first tell you that she is the smartest person in the world and then when she gets into trouble, turns into either a dumb blond, or now, a befuddled old woman.

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, you know…

Newtie and the Beauty on January 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

…and yet our resident leftists are still managing to drown in it. Go figure.

GrumpyOldFart on January 20, 2016 at 2:57 PM

This is just bad all the way around. IF DOJ does not indict how can it ever move against anyone else doing anything remotely close to HC.

guido911 on January 20, 2016 at 3:03 PM

It doesn’t matter what the IG says, Politico is the real important voice!!!

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 3:06 PM

This is just bad all the way around. IF DOJ does not indict how can it ever move against anyone else doing anything remotely close to HC.

guido911 on January 20, 2016 at 3:03 PM

They have and they will. Prosecutorial discretion means protect your friends and punish your enemies. What? You seriously think they’ll be shamed by this?

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 3:08 PM

Were in the world is Tlaloc?

This type of post is a dog whistle for him.

Guess he must be the afternoon shift.

Barred on January 20, 2016 at 12:52 PM

Meh, it’s hard to keep up any interest when you guys just keep rehashing the same failed claims over and over.

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 5:19 PM

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, you know…

Newtie and the Beauty on January 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

FYI the story has already fallen off of memeorandum completely (at least when I checked earlier).

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, you know…

Newtie and the Beauty on January 20, 2016 at 1:13 PM

FYI the story has already fallen off of memeorandum completely (at least when I checked earlier).

Kenny Bania on January 20, 2016 at 5:21 PM

LOL! That must be why my just-completed Google news search on this “non story” got 1,080,000 results.

I didn’t realize there were that many “non-credible right wing blogs”!

Oh, wait a minute here. In those Google news search results we also find this story (all of which were updated this morning with additional content) from the following Democrat media sources:

CNN

CBS

NBC

NY Times

Wall Street Journal

Media Matters

Washington Post

NPR (updated just 1 hour ago)

ABC (updated just 2 hours ago)

New York Magazine

McLatchy

Funny how all of those “credible” news sources are now running with a piece that Faux News broke as an exclusive!

You really need 2 shovels, Kenny. One for each hand.

F-#1.

PS, “memeorandum” is still covering this story, and is still covering it on their main page.

F-#2.

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM

Meh,

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 5:19 PM

The Bern is gonna burn her.
2008 all over again. Whodathunkit?

Neitherleftorright on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM

LOL! That must be why my just-completed Google news search on this “non story” got 1,080,000 results.

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM

So if I search for Bush and Mission accomplished and get lots of hits does that mean it’s a current issue or interest?
Hint- no, you just have no clue what google does.

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 6:09 PM

PS, “memeorandum” is still covering this story, and is still covering it on their main page.

F-#2.

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM

Just rechecked and don’t see it.

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 6:10 PM

The Bern is gonna burn her.
2008 all over again. Whodathunkit?

Neitherleftorright on January 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM

No indications of that so far.

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 6:12 PM

H/T to a poster on another forum for this find-proof that the Democrat Party has had absolutely no problem with corruption at the Cabinet level for centuries…

William W. Belknap.

William Worth Belknap (September 22, 1829 – October 12, 1890) was a United States Army Major General, government administrator in Iowa, and United States Secretary of War. Although Belknap served with distinction in the Civil War, his tenure as President Grant’s Secretary of War was controversial, for having indirectly sold weapons to France and for accepting illicit kickbacks in exchange for making a tradership appointment. The latter led to his resignation, impeachment by the House, and trial in the Senate during the summer of 1876.

And guess what?

Belknap was a Democrat.

And he was acquitted in a Senate trial at a time when the Senate was controlled by Democrats. Sound familiar?

Let me guess-Belknap also stole 900+ FBI files on his political opponents when he had the chance?

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2016 at 6:57 PM

So if I search for Bush and Mission accomplished and get lots of hits does that mean it’s a current issue or interest?
Hint- no, you just have no clue what google does.

Tlaloc on January 20, 2016 at 6:09 PM

What an idiot. He specifically said he did a Google NEWS search not a Google general search.

But you’re so stupid you don’t know the difference.

Do a Google News search on Bush Mission Accomplished you get … 3 hits for news articles related to that event.

PackerBronco on January 20, 2016 at 6:59 PM

Comment pages: 1 2