Team Hillary and the State Department’s pinky-swear claim her server didn’t knowingly contain classified emails is looking less and less true as the days go by. A Reuters report suggests the emails should have been classified from the start.
The new stamps indicate that some of Clinton’s emails from her time as the nation’s most senior diplomat are filled with a type of information the U.S. government and the department’s own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.
In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own “Classified” stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.
This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters.
Whoops! That certainly goes against what Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon said on Wednesday when he made it sound like it was completely accidental for her to get the material.
“She was at worst a passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became deemed as classified.”
That excuse is almost like the child who says they accidentally put their hand in the cookie jar, when they were actually reaching for a piece of fruit. If Clinton is telling the truth about not knowing the emails were classified, then what the devil was she doing as Secretary of State to begin with? Former Information Security Oversight Office Director J. William Leonard told Reuters Clinton had to have known information was classified because it’s government rules.
“It’s born classified. If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession.”
He also says the State Department is just covering for Clinton and “blowing smoke.” This goes along with something National Review’s Brendan Bordelon wrote about the State Department trying to keep the intelligence community from taking a peek at Clinton’s emails.
Even now, [[ Undersecretary of State Patrick ]] Kennedy and State Department management continue to drag their feet — quibbling over whether the information contained in the e-mails was classified retroactively and refusing to confirm the Top Secret designation of the two e-mails found by the intelligence community. A spokeswoman for intelligence community IG I. Charles McCullough tells National Review that McCullough “has had no further communications from Undersecretary Kennedy since he declined [on July 24] to implement two out of four recommendations and denied our office any further access to the 30,000 e-mails.” (The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.)
Kennedy’s politics are unknown, and he did forbid Berlin Embassy workers from showing up to then candidate Barack Obama’s Berlin address in 2008. But New York Post and CBS News reported in 2013 Kennedy wouldn’t allow several investigations to happen over claim U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman hired prostitutes and minors. If that’s the case, then Kennedy might be covering for Clinton too in hopes of keeping egg from getting on the face of the State Department. Or he’s worried about what other secrets might come out. It’s completely possible NR contributing editor, and former counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney, Shannen W. Coffin was right when he asked in March if the State Department considered Clinton to be above the law.
As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was the one official that Congress tasked with preserving the official records of the Department of State. The Federal Records Act imposes this important obligation not on the Department of State writ large, but on the head of that agency. That obligation is imposed on the Secretary in order to ensure that a sufficient record of the business of the government is available so that the average American can know what the federal government is up to. And whose records reflect the business of the State Department more than those of the Secretary? By treating her differently, the Department it placed the one person whose compliance is most critical to the success the Department’s government records program above the very records law she was tasked with implementing.
The narrative is starting to become just an intergovernmental turf war between the State Department and other portions of government. Clinton’s campaign is already trying to press that notion with reporters. But why would different parts of government have different kinds of classified labels. If the intelligence community says something is “TOP SECRET” shouldn’t it be “TOP SECRET?” It just doesn’t make sense to suggest classified information isn’t black and white. If it’s not, it should be, and for the State Department to not have the same standards as the intelligence community is almost farcical. This is the same White House which accidentally exposed the name of the top CIA officer in Afghanistan, but still.
The Clintonemail scandal is great, but the Republican Party seriously needs to start considering options in case Clinton isn’t the nominee. GOP Deputy Press Secretary James Hewitt told Jazz and Doug Mataconis on Politinerds last month Republicans are planning for her to be the nominee. But what if she’s not? What if someone like Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Al Gore, or Joe Biden get the nod instead? Will the GOP be ready to take on those four, like they claim to be ready to take on Clinton? Or will it be a repeat of 2008 where the GOP couldn’t get out of its own way when Clinton was defeated by Obama? Republicans have better be planning a contingency plan, just in case. If not, it’s just gonna be the same ol’ same ol’ all over again