The New York Times reports that government investigators “discovered classified information” on the private email account that Hillary Clinton used while secretary of state. Worse, the inspectors general of the State Department and the nation’s intelligence agencies said the information they found was classified when it was sent and remains so now.
This is a problem for Hillary, who has been saying for months that any classified information found on her email server had been classified after the fact. The Times Article ruins the simple dodge Hillary has been using to downplay her scandalous email fiasco:
Mrs. Clinton has said for months that she kept no classified information on the private server that she set up in her house so she would not have to carry both a personal phone and a work phone. Her campaign said Friday that any government secrets found on the server had been classified after the fact.
But the inspectors general of the State Department and the nation’s intelligence agencies said the information they found was classified when it was sent and remains so now. Information is considered classified if its disclosure would likely harm national security, and such information can be sent or stored only on computer networks with special safeguards.
How much classified material is on Hillary’s email server is yet to be determined. Consistent with the Obama Administration’s ongoing efforts to hamstring inspectors general across the entire federal government, the State Department only gave a small sample to its inspector general to review:
Exactly how much classified information Mrs. Clinton had on the server is unclear. Investigators said they searched a small sample of 40 emails and found four that contained government secrets. But Mr. McCullough said in a separate statement that although the State Department had granted limited access to its own inspector general, the department rejected Mr. McCullough’s request for access to the 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton said were government-related and gave to the State Department.
According to the Times, the discovery of the classified material from emails Hillary’s private email system caused the inspector general for the intelligence community, I. Charles McCullough III, to refer the matter to F.B.I. counterintelligence agents, who investigate crimes related to the mishandling of classified information.
The discovery of the four emails prompted Mr. McCullough to refer the matter to F.B.I. counterintelligence agents, who investigate crimes related to the mishandling of classified information. On Thursday night and again Friday morning, the Justice Department referred to the matter as a “criminal referral,” but later Friday dropped the word “criminal.” The inspectors general said late Friday that it was a “security referral” intended to alert authorities that “classified information may exist on at least one private server and thumb drive that are not in the government’s possession.”
Irrespective of the terminology, the referral raises the possibility of a Justice Department investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails as she campaigns for president. Polls show she is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination by a wide margin.
Mishandling classified information is a crime. Justice Department officials said no decision had been made about whether to open a criminal investigation.
If you doubt that mishandling classified information is a crime, remember that Gen. David Petraeus — sentenced to serve two years on probation and to pay a $100,000 fine for “mishandling” classified information.
It’s important to note that the Times made a mess of its article we reported on yesterday, which originally stated the “inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.” As we reported, even by the time we wrote about it the Times had softened the article. Today there are even more heavily edited versions of the Times story which is now headlined, ‘Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email.’ The Times now has published two separate “corrections”:
This correction in an article using criminal in the headline; ‘Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email’
Correction: July 25, 2015
An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials. It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton. An article about the latest developments is on Page A1.
And this correction in an article with criminal removed from the headline; ‘Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email’
Correction: July 25, 2015
An earlier version of this article and headline misstated the nature of the inspectors general’s request, using information from senior government officials. It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal email account. It did not specifically seek an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Apparently the Hillary folk pushed back very hard to remove criminal from the articles and headlines. And wasn’t just the Times. They also got to CBS News. It wasn’t good enough for CBS to use “No criminal probe requested into Hillary Clinton’s email, DOJ clarifies,” for a headline. The subsequently changed it to, “DOJ investigation into Hillary Clinton email account sought,” which contained an explanation:
Last Updated Jul 24, 2015 12:41 PM EDT
This story and headline have been updated to reflect a correction issued by the Justice Department saying, “The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral.”
CBS was not as careful with its URLs. The URL for the article without criminal in the headline still, at least as we publish, still contains the word criminal – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nyt-criminal-probe-sought-of-hillary-clinton-emails/
I Wonder how the Hillary folk will get the story changed by tomorrow.
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