Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Scott Pelley of CBS News today and offered a new defense of her careless handling of classified material. You’ll be shocked to learn it was all someone else’s fault. In addition, she actually had the gall to point to her record as Secretary of State as proof that she takes the handling of classified information seriously.
“And to the voters who wonder whether you can be trusted with the nation’s secrets, you say what?” Scott Pelley asked. “I say I have been and I have proven that over the course of my 8 years in the Senate; my four years as Secretary of State,” Clinton replied. She added with a straight face, “I take classified material seriously and this investigation has proven that I had no intent to do anything wrong….”
This thread, that Clinton was just a victim of circumstance, came out earlier in the same interview. Asked if she was “extremely careless” in handling classified information, Clinton first changed the subject to a couple of documents which contained classified markings. Then, without mentioning that over 100 classified emails were found on her private server, Clinton turned the blame on the rest of the State Department. “I worked with over 300 people during email exchanges, predominantly in the State Department,” she said. “I had no reason to second guess their judgments about the material that they were exchanging and that they would forward or send to me.”
Clinton phrased this carefully enough that the shifting of blame from herself to others is relatively subtle. But when Pelley pressed the point by asking, “Well, were you extremely careless?” Clinton offered a more blunt version of the same statement. “No I was not,” she said. She then added, “And neither were the 300 people who sent me that material, Scott.”
So it’s not her fault and, by the way, 300 other people were more responsible than she was. Of course, they weren’t the ones who set up a private server which became the only way to communicate with the Secretary of State by email. That wasn’t someone else’s doing, but whatever.
Clinton continued hammering the point that someone else was at fault, “You know the vast majority of the material was sent to me. It was forwarded to me from professionals, from people, as I said, who had a lot of experience dealing with classified material. I do not think they were careless. I have a very high regard for the professionals in the State Department so I believe that they knew what they were doing and I had no reason to question or second guess their expert opinions.”
Here’s a clip of the interview. The section about the email investigation starts at around 3:30. Her claim that her record as Secretary shows how carefully she handles classified material comes at 5:50: