Another one of Hillary Clinton’s false talking points collapses, as Reuters examines what it describes as “dozens” of her emails and finds they contain information that was classified from the moment the information was generated… meaning that, despite Clinton’s repeated statements to the contrary, they were “born classified” — classified on the day she received them.
Her claim that she never sent any classified emails appears to have been disproved as well.
These conclusions were reached by studying the new classified markings applied to many of the emails as they are released to the public. The classification system includes “a string of dates, letters, and numbers describing the nature of the classification,” and this data indicates some of the emails “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.
“It’s born classified,” said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House’s National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
“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 said in a telephone interview, adding that for the State Department to say otherwise was “blowing smoke.”
So not only has Clinton been making false statements, it would appear the State Department has knowingly assisted her in making them. Naturally, Reuters reports the State Department “disputed” their analysis…. but adds that it “declined requests to explain how it was incorrect.”
The rest of State’s response includes the spokesman whining that it’s too hard to keep track of exactly what was classified and when, which will come as shocking news to American citizens who thought their trillion-dollar national security apparatus kept careful track of such things. (Then again, we learned earlier this week that State claims it doesn’t even keep careful tabs on its secure cell phones, so maybe nothing should surprise us at this point.)
If Reuters’ analysis of the rules is correct – and they spend quite a few column inches going through them, as well as receiving confirmation from the director of the Information Security Oversight Office – the State Department’s excuses are irrelevant anyway. The point of having a procedure that states foreign government information is classified from Minute One is to eliminate the need for a formal procedure that might be forgotten about later – say, when the former Secretary of State is trying to run for President and gets caught with a home-brewed email server full of sensitive documents.
Reuters emphasizes that all State personnel are trained in how to handle this automatically classified material, and Hillary Clinton has loudly declared herself an expert on those policies.
As for sending classified emails, Clinton sent at least 17 of them containing automatically-classified foreign government information… at least one of them to her henchman Sidney Blumenthal, who wasn’t even a government employee.
And we’re not talking about yoga exercise routines passed along by some foreign minister’s wife:
The information appears to include privately shared comments by a prime minister, several foreign ministers and a foreign spy chief, unredacted bits of the emails show. Typically, Clinton and her staff first learned the information in private meetings, telephone calls or, less often, in email exchanges with the foreign officials.
In an email from November 2009, the principal private secretary to David Miliband, then the British foreign secretary, indicates that he is passing on information about Afghanistan from his boss in confidence. He writes to Huma Abedin, Clinton’s most senior aide, that Miliband “very much wants the Secretary (only) to see this note.”
Nearly five pages of entirely redacted information follow. Abedin forwarded it on to Clinton’s private email account.
Clinton’s fallback defense will doubtless be that she’s a confused old grandma who doesn’t understand how all this “classified” stuff works. She relied on trusted aides to handle all the basic protocols for her – a royal figure such as herself can hardly be expected to learn every piddling little rule about handling sensitive information! Very soon now, the Clinton syndicate will casually drop the name of the aide she’s most terribly “disappointed” in. We’ve been hearing the name “Huma Abedin” popping up in quite a few of these reports, haven’t we?
We’re probably also in for a dose of “everybody does it,” perhaps with some Clinton loyalist from the Obama Administration stepping forward to admit they’ve improperly forwarded foreign government information as well. Reuters crushes that talking point in its conclusion, noting that such improper communication normally takes place on secure, carefully-tracked government email systems, not a home-brew server tucked away in employee’s house.
Also, Clinton apologists are field-testing a new approach where they insist Clinton was right, and the entire classification system of the U.S. government is wrong. We heard the first few farts of hot air escaping from this trial balloon when Clintonoids tried dismissing the inspector general reports as part of a “food fight” between the noble Queen Hillary and the nasty little nerds in the intelligence community, who love nothing better than to classify everything in sight, no doubt snorting with uncomfortable geek laughter and shouting “Bazinga!” as they do so.
Now comes an article at Politico entitled, “The Real Clinton Email Scandal: Our Ridiculous Classification Rules.” We’re probably in for a rash of editorials like this from Hillary dead-enders. Reminder to anyone tempted to fall for this spin: the Secretary of State does not have the authority to unilaterally declassify anything she pleases, or rewrite the rules for how classified material is handled, especially when she’s exposing that material on an illicit, insecure private server.
Update: Right on cue, here comes the UK Daily Mail with a story about what a nasty, vindictive, arrogant, short-tempered jerk Huma Abedin is, complete with a classic “Do you know who I am?” anecdote when the Secret Service enforced security procedures against her, and agent testimony that she treats them like “second-class citizens.” She’ll make a lovely fall gal.