I’ll need someone who’s better at The Maths than I to do the calculations, but I think we’re up to either excuse number 347 or 421 as to why Hillary Clinton couldn’t figure out how to handle classified information while she was Secretary of State. Whatever the number in the hit parade, it’s out there for discussion now and The Daily Caller has the English translation for us. Hey… these security classifications are so confusing that you couldn’t figure them out either, folks. (Emphasis added)
Hillary Clinton herself told the FBI in an interview in July that she did not fully understand how the State Department’s classification system works or that a “C” marked on an email stood for “Confidential.”
But on Tuesday, she appeared to lecture the American public, saying in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir that the government’s system for marking classified information is “too arcane for most people.”
That portion of Clinton’s remarks did not air in the national version of the ABC News interview. But they were included in the raw version of the interview published on the news outlet’s website.
I’ve only got two points to add here and I’ll tackle them in reverse order. First, isn’t it rather odd that Clinton would make a comment like that which is so central to the entire debate over her handling of classified data and ABC News would choose to leave it on the cutting room floor for their broadcast? I mean… that’s sort of the entire point here, isn’t it? Once you brush off the pesky little questions about lying to the public and destroying evidence during an FBI investigation, you’re left with a basic debate over whether or not she’s even responsible enough with intelligence data to be trusted in the Oval Office. It just seems a peculiar choice to cut out of the broadcast. Good job by TDC catching it, though.
But second, Clinton’s excuse this time should actually be a bit insulting to rank and file voters. She’s saying that the security classification system is so “arcane” and confusing that most of us couldn’t master it. Fair enough. If you sent me an email with a [C] marked in the subject line on a topic I wasn’t familiar with I might not be able to immediately guess that it was sensitive material. So, sure… it might be too arcane for “most people.” But most people aren’t running to be President of the United States. If I happen to fail the test of identifying the classified information in my emails the only question you all need to be asking is when will we arrest the idiot sending classified info to a blogger.
If you move away from the garden variety layman like myself, those who actually know something about classified material would find this explanation to be fantastic (in the original sense of the word… see definitions one through four). Ed Morrissey is one of those folks and he touches on just this question in his latest column for The Week.
Anyone who has handled classified material would know this to be utter nonsense. Paragraph markings appear in all classified material to note the specific classifications within the sections of each page, while the page itself bears a marking of the highest classification information within it. Even without that knowledge, though, Clinton’s explanation still makes no sense, because the alphabet doesn’t start with C. If she legitimately wanted to employ this imbecilic alphabet defense, the follow-up question is obvious: “How could you think this if there was no (A) and (B)?” …
Did agents ask her to reconcile that experience with her protestations of ignorance on classifications, originations, and markings? The FBI’s interview notes show no evidence of that obvious follow-up. In fact, Clinton went even further by claiming that she “could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling of classified material.”
So the classification system is too arcane for most people. Hillary Clinton wants to be the next president. We sort of expect her to reach a higher bar than “most people” in these matters.
Update (AP): Is it really true that Hillary didn’t know what “(C)” meant on documents? Nope, claims Julian Assange. And he says he has proof.