Is it a January Surprise? Clinton’s Email Problem Just Got a Whole Lot Worse

By | January 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has always seemed a little odd to me. Her initial response was one that seemed flippant, and maybe even one that others could relate to:

In a press conference at the United Nations earlier this month, Clinton explained that she used a personal email because she only wanted to have one phone, not two.

“When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department,” Clinton said, “because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”

She added: “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”

Look, I am someone that right now carries two phones, my personal one and a work phone. heck, there are days when I have two computer and two phones.

At the same time, however, I have to worry about HIPAA for my clients. There are certain functions I can and cannot do on my private devices. At the end of the day, I understand this as part of my job. It is necessary for me to ensure the safety and security of the information of my clients.

While it may not be the best analogy, I think it works. Hillary was tasked as Secretary of State as handling the foreign affairs of the nation. With this job she handles at times secrets of the state. The issue is over whether her having of these emails on her private server was a violation of State Department protocols and procedures as well as Federal laws and regulations.

On Hillary’s side, she has hedged her answer about the scandal. The New Yorker in August 2015 noted her evolving position:

Her answer to that question has evolved. Clinton first said, “I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail. There is no classified material.” More recently, she said, “I did not send nor did I receive material marked classified.”

This was not true, however. CNN in July 2015 noted this:

The inspector general for the intelligence community has informed members of Congress that some material Hillary Clinton emailed from her private server contained classified information, but it was not identified that way.

Because it was not identified, it is unclear whether Clinton realized she was potentially compromising classified information.

And CNN also asked her about it in an interview in July 2015:

KEILAR:  One of the issues that has eroded some trust that we’ve seen is the issue of your email practices while you were secretary of state.  I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand what your thought process was on that.

Can you tell me the story of how you decided to delete 33,000 emails and how that deletion was executed?

CLINTON:  Well, let’s start from the beginning.  Everything I did was permitted.  There was no law.  There was no regulation.  There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate.  Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing.  And people across the government knew that I used one device – maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.

KEILAR:  But you said they – that they did the same thing, that they used a personal server and –

KEILAR:  – subpoena deleted emails from them?

CLINTON:  You know, you’re starting with so many assumptions that are – I’ve never had a subpoena.  There is – again, let’s take a deep breath here.  Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation.  I had one device.  When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.

Now I didn’t have to turn over anything.  I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system.

And now I think it’s kind of fun.  People get a real-time behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.

This all gets us to where we are tonight. Those emails that Hillary has said were not “classified” actually did contain information that is classified. Actually, it’s a bit worse than that.

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

State Department officials also said the agency’s Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus are investigating if any of the information was classified at the time of transmission, going to the heart of Clinton’s defense of her email practices.

The department published its latest batch of emails from her time as secretary of state Friday evening.

But The Associated Press learned ahead of the release that seven email chains would be withheld in full for containing “top secret” information. The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” -highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

“The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, calling the withholding of documents in full “not unusual.” That means they won’t be published online with others being released, even with blacked-out boxes.

Department officials wouldn’t describe the substance of the emails, or say if Clinton sent any herself.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, insists she never sent or received information on her personal email account that was classified at the time. No emails released so far were marked classified, but reviewers previously designated more than 1,000 messages at lower classification levels. Friday’s will be the first at top secret level.

Even if Clinton didn’t write or forward the messages, she still would have been required to report any classification slippages she recognized in emails she received. But without classification markings, that may have been difficult, especially if the information was publicly available.

Wow.

Let’s examine a bit. So far, there have been a lot of emails released. The Obama administration, however, is saying that this is an email chain, which is typically  a back and forth. That would mean, at the very least, that Hillary was carbon copied into the exchange. If she actively engaged in the chain, she would have engaged in the exchange of this top secret information. Remember, as noted above, Clinton said:

“I did not send nor did I receive material marked classified.”

This, in either case, is a lie.

Also, the story from the AP notes that these emails were concerning:

The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned “special access programs” -highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

While not the best sort, Wikipedia provides an example of the level of programs classified as “special access programs.”

  • Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), national intelligence information concerning sources and methods which is protected by control systems defined by the Director of National Intelligence. Note that SCI markings are separate from those of other SAPs.
  • Single Integrated Operational Plan-Extremely Sensitive Information (SIOP-ESI, replaced by NC2-ESI), the national plan for nuclear war. Note that SIOP-ESI was listed among non-IC dissemination control markings on classified documents, not with other SAPs.
  • Presidential support activities
  • Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program
  • Chemical Personnel Reliability Program
  • Access to North Atlantic Treaty Organization classified information at the staff level

Fox News also noted the extreme sensitivity of this information:

Intelligence from a “special access program,” or SAP, is even more sensitive than that designated as “top secret” – as were two emails identified last summer in a random sample pulled from Clinton’s private server she used as secretary of state. Access to a SAP is restricted to those with a “need-to-know” because exposure of the intelligence would likely reveal the source, putting a method of intelligence collection — or a human asset — at risk. Currently, some 1,340 emails designated “classified” have been found on Clinton’s server, though the Democratic presidential candidate insists the information was not classified at the time.

“There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material,” a former senior law enforcement with decades of experience investigating violations of SAP procedures told Fox News. “It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”

The Clinton campaign has continued to downplay this, stating:

In a statement, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said, “This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received. It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Which attempts to echo that their is a vast right wing conspiracy hounding Clinton. But, let me point out the issue with this from all the way at the top of the AP story:

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s home server contained closely guarded government secrets, censoring 22 emails that contained material requiring one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes three days before Clinton competes in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

Yes, Obama, the very epitome of the vast right wing conspiracy. Hillary has a problem. What’s more, the problem may very well be bigger than it appears. The Washington Times notes that:

More than one in four of the emails the State Department released late Friday from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s cache of messages were deemed classified or secret, marking a massive hike in the scope of potential wrongdoing the Democratic presidential frontrunner engaged in during her time in office.

The department released more than 900 pages — just a small fraction of the total it was supposed to produce under a court order — and of those, 229 were deemed to have information needed to be redacted because it was rated classified, and another 11 were rated “secret.”

Those are in addition to the 22 messages the department acknowledged earlier in the day contain “top secret” information and cannot be released at all because they are so sensitive.

So, what might be the impact on the 2016 Presidential election.

Actually, wait. What are we talking about here? People, this is not a sex scandal. This is not a candidate flip flopping or evolving on an issue. This is about a high level US official that, for her own convenience, used a private server to run her official email that contains, and allow me to quote again from a few different sources:

highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

and

More than one in four of the emails the State Department released late Friday from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s cache of messages were deemed classified or secret, marking a massive hike in the scope of potential wrongdoing the Democratic presidential frontrunner engaged in during her time in office.

This is bigger than a race for the White House. Clinton should not even be considered for this. She placed our nation at risk because she wanted to carry one device, not two.

And, this is coming out after the White House Press Secretary had seemed to indicate that no charges may come. Here is what Josh Earnest said:

“That will be a decision made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there,” said Earnest. “What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending. But I’m certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors but again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction.”

One would imagine that this latest news contradicts this. Or, Hillary will not be indicted because of who she is. Why? Because she is part of the elite and we let them get away with things in America.

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