Over the past weeks, as the delicious spectacle of Hillary Clinton, the Leona Helmsley of classified information, being roasted like a pig on a spit over her criminal abuse and misuse of classified information. She is fighting the battle on at least three different fronts.
Her first line of defense is that apparently every Secretary of State back to John Jay used private email for official business. Within that is the subsidiary defense that State authorized her to use private email. This is equal parts lie and smokescreen. Colin Powell, for instance, has denied using private email for government business. Neither did Hillary’s immediate predecessor, Condoleeza Rice use private email for official business. However, if they had the real issue at hand is not the use of private email, per se, but sending and receiving classified information via a completely unsecure communications channel, a channel that seems to have been hacked.
Her next line of defense has several parts that reminds you of Bart Simpson’s “I didn’t do it, you didn’t see me, you can’t prove it” defense. Part one says, “I didn’t send or receive information marked as classified.” This is true because the incoming information had had classification markings stripped from it and the outgoing had been created without applying classification labels. This, even if true, is meaningless. The information is classified because it is classified, not because it is marked as classified. Part two says, “Agencies are always disagreeing over classification and what I sent, that you think was classified, was only classified later and by some other agency, so nyah, nyah, nyah.”
Now comes a nail that seems to kill at least part of Hillary’s defense. Via The New York Times, Second Review Says Classified Information Was in Hillary Clinton’s Email.
A special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account — including one about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program — has endorsed a finding by the inspector general for the intelligence agencies that the emails contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them, senior intelligence officials said.
Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign and the State Department disputed the inspector general’s finding last month and questioned whether the emails had been overclassified by an arbitrary process. But the special review — by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — concluded that the emails were “Top Secret,” the highest classification of government intelligence, when they were sent to Mrs. Clinton in 2009 and 2011.
On Monday, the Clinton campaign disagreed with the conclusion of the intelligence review and noted that agencies within the government often have different views of what should be considered classified.
This is important for two reasons. First, it is covered in the NY Times. This means that the stench of Hillary’s … ah… corruption has grown too foul even for her most inveterate fluffers. Second, it means the intelligence agencies are not rolling over and playing dead for Hillary. The ‘conflict between agencies’ excuse can best be understood as Hillary and her minions giving a strong hint to the intelligence community of how they could preserve their credibility while simultaneously finding Hillary blameless. Hillary’s assertion that there were different views between agencies is now ludicrous because we know that the material in question is satellite imagery that originated with a Keyhole satellite owned by the National Reconnaissance Office. The State Department could not derive that information independently and therefore does not have any authority to disagree with the Intelligence Community.
When State weighed in on the decision they had pleasant and supportive sounding words for Hillary:
John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, echoed Mr. Merrill.
“Classification is rarely a black and white question, and it is common for the State Department to engage internally and with our interagency partners to arrive at the appropriate decision,” he said in a statement. “Very often both the State Department and the intelligence community acquire information on the same matter through separate channels. Thus, there can be two or more separate reports and not all of them based on classified means. At this time, any conclusion about the classification of the documents in question would be premature.”
But in reality, the statement does not support her position. The IC is now on record as affirming the classified nature of the material uncovered on Hillary’s email server… a server, we might add, that was managed by people without the requisite clearances to see the material stored on it… and it is beyond the point of the IC “engag[ing] with our interagency partners.”
I’m not so pollyannish as to believe that this scandal sends Hillary to prison or even sandbags her run for the presidency. But this kind of finding by non-political agencies demonstrates just how bad her violations of procedure were. The FBI investigating guarantees that someone in Hillary’s inner circle, if not some career staff in the State Department, are going to be indicted. All of it reinforces the dominant narrative that Hillary is a liar.