Exposing Hillary So She Won't Get Elected

Clinton’s Evolving Email Defense

Have you noticed that Clinton’s explanations/excuses/defenses about her private email server and the classified information it held never seem to last very long, and are typically replaced in a week or two with something new?

Back in March the message was unambiguous: there was no classified material on her server. Then, after two Inspectors General said there indeed was classified material, the line was it was classified retroactively (as if that matters; see below). That soon fell to a line that the classified information was unmarked as such (as if that matters; see below). The newest is that well, Clinton herself did not send any of the classified emails. So, once again wrapped in new shiny paper, there’s nothing to see here, folks, let’s move along to the issues that really matter. I’ll tackle that as well, below.

No one has better summed up the official Clinton Child’s Treasury of Excuses better than Senator Dianne Feinstein, who somewhat randomly released a statement “in response to allegations” regarding Clinton’s emails. Let’s break Feinstein’s statement down.

The Dog Ate My Homework

Feinstein: First, none of the emails alleged to contain classified information were written by Secretary Clinton.

Here’s your talking point, somnolent media. It’s someone else’s fault.

Of course, the Inspectors General were only allowed by the State Department to review 40 emails, four of which contained classified. So there are still some 30,000 left to look into to see if Clinton herself did respond to, forward or write any of them.

Next is that the classified emails, no matter who wrote them, ended up in an insecure system because Clinton chose to do things that way in contravention of all good practice and rationality, if not actual law and regulation.

She was the prime mover behind the lapses in security. And after all, the cops bust the owner of the crackhouse, not just the ‘heads inside. The “buck stops where” is the question. Clinton continues to claim total ignorance of the contents of her own email to this day. Is all that presidential?

Lastly, no matter who wrote the emails, once Clinton saw them they became her responsibility to act on and secure. In real life, failure to report and secure classified found in an unsecure situation is also a violation of national security law. With that access comes responsibility. Remember, if you see something, say something!

I Didn’t Know, Honest, Sir

Feinstein: Second, none of the emails alleged to contain classified information include any markings that indicate classified content.

There is no allegation. The Inspectors General of the State Department and the Intelligence community said the emails contain classified material.

What everyone who has ever held a security clearance knows, and what the media, from left to right, cannot grasp is this: the information itself is or is not classified. The markings are there to show you what level of secure handling is required.

I’ll try again for the slow learners at CNN.

You are handed a piece of paper marked TOP SECRET//SI//TK/NOFORN (explained here). On the paper are written the negotiating positions of the Chinese Foreign Minister, whom you will meet tomorrow. The paper says these were obtained via a spy satellite listening in on the Minister in his inner office via electronic emissions.

Now, cut off the part of the paper that says TOP SECRET//SI//TK/NOFORN. Does the sensitivity of the information change at that moment? Of course not.

If you have lived in a remote cabin all your life, you may not grasp the sensitivity of knowing your opponent’s positions a day ahead of time and the sensitivity that this information was derived by some of America’s most secret sources and methods. But if you have spent your entire life in government, you damn well know that that information is not unclassified, whether it shows up in your email unmarked or otherwise.

It really, really is that simple. Marked or unmarked, pro-active or retro-active, Clinton knew she was dealing with highly classified information on an unclassified system she herself set up and continued to use.

Everything Else

Retroactive classification means that something was classified when it was issued. The markings were applied later, but that does not relieve the holder of the information of the legal burden of protecting the information. Government employees have lost their jobs over this concept, and gone to jail. This has been confirmed as legal as high as the Supreme Court. See Department of Homeland Security v. Robert MacLean for the most recent case. Legally, citing retroactive classification is not a defense.

“Everybody does it.” No they don’t. No other government employee, never mind Cabinet-level official, has created her own private email server in the history of the United States. If Jeb Bush had a private server as governor of Florida, that is not a charm point for him, but he also did not handle America’s most sensitive information, or any classified information at all. John Kerry and Condi Rice said they do not send official emails outside of the State Department system. Madeleine Albright said she may have sent a few back in the dawn of the Internet 14 years ago via AOL or Yahoo, and no one has suggested she sent anything classified. Colin Powell as Secretary of State said he sent a handful of emails on his AOL account, and no one has claimed there was any classified involved.

Besides, “everybody does it” is an excuse that teenagers use when they’re caught smoking behind the school.

Now, as for that “let’s get back to the issues” meme that many Clinton supporters like to go to.

No one can anticipate what will happen during the four (or eight…) years of a presidency. So while experience matters significantly, judgement and trust matter perhaps even more. Those are the things that will see success or failure when the unexpected arises one night at 3 am.

If one cannot see that, at a minimum, Clinton exercised horribly bad judgement and cannot be trusted to protect America’s secrets, and if one cannot see that those are indeed issues for an election, then, well, I just don’t know what else to say here.