When the New York Times published its scoop on the Inspectors General request for a criminal probe by the Department of Justice into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail system, the spin at first was that this was either (a) just focused on the FOIA releases or (b) regarding ex post facto classification. A letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal from the intelligence community IG dashes both of those scenarios. The letter, directed to Congress, accuses Hillary Clinton of sending material classified at the time through her private and unsecured e-mail server on at least four occasions, violating the law:
An internal government review found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails from her personal account containing classified information during her time heading the State Department.
In a letter to members of Congress on Thursday, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community concluded that Mrs. Clinton’s email contains material from the intelligence community that should have been considered “secret” at the time it was sent, the second-highest level of classification. A copy of the letter to Congress was provided to The Wall Street Journal by a spokeswoman for the Inspector General.
The four emails in question “were classified when they were sent and are classified now,” said Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general. The inspector general reviewed just a small sample totaling about 40 emails in Mrs. Clinton’s inbox—meaning that many more in the trove of more than 30,000 may contain potentially secret or top-secret information.
That’s a failure rate of … ten percent. The sample of 40 e-mails indicates that there may have been massive amounts of classified material sent in the 33,000 e-mails that Hillary Clinton actually produced. One has to wonder how many of the other 30,000-plus e-mails that Hillary claimed were personal in nature might have even more sensitive material.
In March, Hillary claimed to be aware of the requirements on classified material, and flat-out denied having ever sent any through her e-mail:
This finding makes the State Department’s demurral earlier this month look even more suspect:
“It’s not uncommon that something that you’re sending now on an unclassified network could in later years or later months be deemed to be classified either because the passage of time made it so or because events on the ground have borne out,” a State Department spokesman said earlier this month.
That was also the spin Team Hillary employed right through this morning’s revelations. They claimed that the material was later classified, which means that Hillary had broken no law in transmitting it through an unsecured and private e-mail system. Even that excuse conceded that Hillary had spent four years making extremely poor choices regarding information that turned out to be sensitive in nature, a point that Hillary and her defenders routinely avoided by resting their defenses on legality.
Inspector General Charles McCullough has stripped that defense from them now. The letter notes that the four e-mails they discovered may not have had classified markings on them, but that they “included IC-derived classified information and should have been handled as classified, appropriately marked, and transmitted via a secure network.” In other words, they took classified material provided by the intelligence community and dropped it into unsecured communications — a violation of the law, and a potential disaster for national security.
Will the Department of Justice follow up on these serial violations of the law? David Petraeus may wonder as well.
Update: A note on classification markings: When someone uses classified material in another form, they are required to mark the new document with the highest level of classification of material in use. The IG notes that “[n]one of the emails we reviewed had classification or dissemination markings,” which is not an escape hatch for Hillary, but another violation of the laws pertaining to handling classified material. She took the information from intelligence material classified at that time, and failed to mark it as such in her e-mails.
Update: Hillary’s response appears calculated to the New York Times story rather than the IG’s clear allegations:
Here is full statement Clinton made on the email story: pic.twitter.com/TZvoX8Ho8U
— Dan Merica (@merica) July 24, 2015
If this is all she has, it’s not going to do much. In fact, considering the gravity of the situation, it’s somewhat akin to turning down the ringer on the 3 AM call.
Update: Gabriel Malor updates the scorecard:
"Just wanted one device." LIE
"All work emails handed over." LIE
"Never received classified info." LIE
"Never sent classified info." LIE
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) July 24, 2015