Looks like we’ve finally reached step four in the Clinton scandal playbook.
I didn't do it.
You can't prove I did it.
Technically, I didn't violate the law.
Well, it's a stupid law.
— Anonymous Source (@dustopian) August 21, 2015
Don’t look now but the key lesson from her upcoming (re-)education program, that the feds treat every little thing as classified and therefore mishandling classified info is no big deal (even items marked “top secret”?), is already being pushed by friendly media. Jeffrey Toobin wrote a piece making that argument a few days ago. So did Matt Miller. Soon Hillary will write one of her own:
To get in front of these headlines, the Clinton campaign is plotting a three-pronged pushback strategy. The first, described by Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri in an interview with The Huffington Post, is an end-of-summer effort to educate the public on the classification process for national security material. The second, coming when Congress returns from recess, is to aggressively pivot to policy announcements, from economic and women’s issues to President Barack Obama’s Iran deal, which will receive a vote in September. The last is to “go on offense” on Clinton’s record as Secretary of State, which the campaign sees as the ultimate target of her Republican critics…
In attempting to soothe jittery Democrats, aides have begun highlighting Oct. 22 as a moment that could bring clarity — if not some finality — to the email story. Clinton will head to Capitol Hill that day for testimony before the House committee investigating the 2011 consulate attack in Benghazi. And the presumption that she’ll do well under questioning is matched only by the conviction that House Republicans will grow over-eager under the camera lights.
Hillary herself tweeted out the link to Miller’s piece earlier today. The logic of her “education” strategy, I assume, is that by assuming the authority role of the insider who explains an arcane process to the public, Hillary will convince people who don’t know what to think about all of this that she must have known what she was doing all along. It sure sounds like she had good reason to think the stuff on her server wasn’t classified, they’ll say. How can we hold it against her? The only problem: There are lots of authority figures in the military and the intelligence community who’ll be arguing the other way.
“It’s not up to her to decide what level it’s classified at. It’s up to her to obey the law, and clearly she did not,” Lt. Col. Col James Williamson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Williamson entered Special Forces in 1988 and retired in 2012.
“If someone doesn’t have the sense to recognize classified material, they shouldn’t be in such a sensitive position, much less the secretary of state,” Williamson said.
Similarly, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Berquist said “she jeopardized every piece of information that went across her private server line. This is a very good example of how her ‘inconvenience’ put us at risk in the United States.”
Former CIA analyst Robert Baer said this past weekend that if he’d gotten caught accessing a “top secret” document on an unsecured system like a private server or mobile device, he’d have been fired the same day and likely gone to prison. What’s left of the “education” strategy once guys like him start turning up on cable news to give her some lessons of their own? At that point, I guess, we turn to the unwritten fifth step of the Clinton playbook: Blind assertion that she did nothing wrong, no matter what anyone else — or the evidence — is saying.
Here’s Chuck Todd informing MSNBC viewers that Team Clinton staffers have decamped from NYC to D.C. to start doing damage control as this gets bigger.