Depends on who the definer of "marked" is

According to The Washington Post, Hillary Clinton sent emails from her private server that the State Department redacted for reasons of national security before they (StateDept) released them to the public.

Although government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office…

The classified e-mails, contained in thousands of pages of electronic correspondence that the State Department has released, stood out because of the heavy markings blocking out sentences and, in some cases, entire messages.

The State Department officials who redacted the material cited national security as the reason for blocking it from public view.

Lest we blame the Department of State for tardiness in this matter, the first time they knew about these emails was 2 years after she left office and turned over 55,000 printed pages.

“I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material and I’m very confident that when this entire process plays out that will be understood by everyone,” she said. “It will prove what I have been saying and it’s not possible for people to look back now some years in the past and draw different conclusions than the ones that were at work at the time. You can make different decisions because things have changed, circumstances have changed, but it doesn’t change the fact that I did not send or receive material marked classified.”

It’s certain that by the time this ends it will be understood by everyone that she kept saying what she says.

Her defense has evolved from “no classified emails were sent or received” to “they weren’t classified at the time” she wrote them. But, it appears failing to do so was a mistake.

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..

Although it appears to be true for Clinton to say none of her emails included classification markings, a point she and her staff have emphasized, the government’s standard nondisclosure agreement warns people authorized to handle classified information that it may not be marked that way and that it may come in oral form..

Clinton and her senior staff routinely sent foreign government information among themselves on unsecured networks several times a month, if the State Department’s markings are correct. Within the 30 email threads reviewed by Reuters, Clinton herself sent at least 17 emails that contained this sort of information. In at least one case it was to a friend, Sidney Blumenthal, not in government.

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.

That she has said repeatedly she “did not send or receive classified information” (the “marked classified” bit showed up later, as demonstrated in the next paragraph) contains probably the only true thing she’s said about the whole sordid mess: She’s said it repeatedly. One example from her March, 2015 UN press conference:

“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. I’m certainly well aware of the classified requirements and did not send classified material.”

As noted here in March, the emails Secretary of State Clinton wrote weren’t marked “classified,” because Secretary of State Clinton didn’t mark them classified when she sent them.

Why not? She’s sloppy with National Security information? She actually does not know the classified requirements? She forgot she was using her own private server?

This is not, as she has portrayed it, some internecine struggle with the intelligence community over the definition of “classified.” The emails she wrote are classified according to the State Department and were classified when she sent them. It’s a security breach whether she recognized that or not. The meaning of “is” in “There is no classified information,” doesn’t change that.

National security information doesn’t become more sensitive over time, it becomes less sensitive. Otherwise, we’d wait forever for release of all the Nixon tapes, military details about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the identity of Benedict Arnold.

Can anyone come up with any explanation excusing Hillary Clinton from the allegation she sent classified email not involving incompetence? Any explanation not leading inexorably to the conclusion that she cannot be trusted with Presidential level information? Anyone?

Bueller? Bueller?

Poking through ashes in the Burn-bag

The House Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed all SecState Hillary Clinton’s emails related to Libya. After obtaining a two-week extension, Clinton attorney David Kendall responded by letter:

There is no basis to support the proposed third-party review of the server that hosted the account. To avoid prolonging a discussion that would be academic, I have confirmed with the secretary’s IT support that no emails…..for the time period January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013 reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server.

The top Democrat on the Benghazi panel, Elijah Cummings, said Kendall’s letter confirmed

[W]hat we all knew: that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails and that the Select Committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi.

A comparable scenario would be if Nixon had burned the tapes. Oh, and after he knew they would be considered evidence.

Presumably, Representative Cummings would have taken Nixon’s word for it that transcripts of all relevant evidence had already been turned over.

Now I know what Mrs. Bill meant when she said, “There is no classified email.”

#HDR22 – it depends on the meaning of "classified"

Not quite a year ago, State Department mouthpiece Jen Psaki was unable to name a single accomplishment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,

“I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one,” Psaki responded…

Later, the State Department provided a list of seven changes resulting from the 2010 audit. They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism, promoting American energy interests and helping civilian leaders of the agency prevent conflict and violence.

This constitutes the foreign policy legacy of the smartest woman on earth? A sad comment on our foreign policy, women, or both. OTOH, if the Department of State had been awake and enforcing the Official Records Act known, they could have added, “Built her own email server for official business.”

But the most incredible achievement was not revealed until yesterday’s press conference (emphasis mine),

QUESTION: Were you ever — were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using — using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.

A prodigious feat. In four years as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never sent or received a classified email.

How the hell do you manage that? By not doing your job (as Psaki’s inability to name any accomplishments suggests)? By controlling the definition of what is classified? By deleting 30,000 of the emails and declaring the server off-limits?

We do know (thanks to the hacker Guccifer) that among the emails she deleted (they are reportedly not included in the 55,000 printed pages Mrs. Clinton sent to the Department of State) are some from Sid Blumenthal with annotations like “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

These are not classified materials because Mrs. Clinton chose not to classify them (the State Department didn’t even know about them). She could surely have made them so under classification categories 1.4(b) foreign government information, 1.4(c) intelligence activities, sources, or methods, or cryptology, or 1.4(d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.

Mrs. Clinton assures us that the deleted emails “… have nothing to do with work [as SecState], but I didn’t see any reason to keep them.” Now, even if we ignore the fact that “having nothing to do with work,” is categorically not the same as “”There is no classified material,” one must wonder how many of the deleted emails referenced contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Middle Eastern despots looking for political leverage. If the correspondents kept their copies, they’ve got real leverage now.

Two by Steyn

The Field Where Liberty Was Sown
The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta Liberatum.


Basic Cable
An inquiry into State secrets.

Oh, while you’re there, I recommend picking up a copy of Steyn’s latest book – The [Un]documented Mark Steyn – or any other item that strikes your fancy in the Steyn Store.

Pre-ordering Climate Change: The Facts is another option: Mark still needs our help in the Michael “Fraudpants” Mann trial.


Today, General David Petraeus pled guilty to “mishandling classified materials,” because he showed some to his mistress.

He could get a year in prison.

Contemporaneously, we discover Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trafficked in classified material for four years, using an unencrypted private email account – – to conduct the business of the Department of State.

She plans to be President of the United States.

I know who should be facing more than a year in prison, but that’s not even on the table. The question for hdr22 is whether it will damage her presidential aspirations. We’ve gone from “a slip of the lip could sink a ship” to “a careless domain could wreck your campaign.”

The discrepancy shows Americans are conflicted about the accountability of our senior officials. We get confused about whether exposing mega-reams of classified material to hackers is worse than exposing ourselves to our biographers. We suspect there’s a difference between conducting foreign policy and screwing fellow Americans. But then, here’s Hillary, for whom there isn’t.

Secretary of State Clinton was able to hide her knowledge of the Benghazi massacre from Congressional oversight because she sequestered it in an email account designed to avoid any US government supervision or tracking.

Memos sent to Secretary of State Clinton’s personal (one can no longer say ‘private’) email account include titles like “Comprehensive Intel Report on Libya,” and warnings that, “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

The memos include notes on the intelligence sources, such as: “Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the leadership of the Armed Forces, and Western Intelligence, diplomatic, and security services.”

Neither Lois Lerner nor Valerie Plame could be reached for comment.