Turns Out Hillary Clinton Had Hundreds Of Potentially Classified Emails On Private Server; Officials Ask For Criminal Investigation [Update]
from the well,-look-at-that dept
Earlier this year there was a bit of a scandal over the fact that Hillary Clinton had used a private server for her emails, something she knew was inappropriate and which clearly exposed her emails to foreign spies. When she finally agreed to address the issue, one of the key points she made in her defense was that she never had classified material on the server:
CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.Many -- including State Department officials -- found this nearly impossible to believe, especially given just how much stuff the State Department classifies (whether or not that information should be classified is another discussion for another day).
So I'm certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.
A former senior State Department official who served before the Obama administration said that although it was hard to be certain, it seemed unlikely that classified information could be kept out of the more than 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton’s staff identified as involving government business.Back in May, with the first release of a bunch of her emails, some noted that, indeed, they couldn't find any evidence of classified information, though some were later retroactively classified.
“I would assume that more than 50 percent of what the secretary of state dealt with was classified,” said the former official, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to seem ungracious to Mrs. Clinton. “Was every single email of the secretary of state completely unclassified? Maybe, but it’s hard to imagine.”
But, of course, that was just one batch of the emails. A few weeks ago, reports started leaking from inside the State Department that, in fact, there was classified information on that server, and late last night the other shoe dropped, with a report in the NY Times that two separate Inspectors General have requested the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into Clinton's mishandling of sensitive information -- in particular the inclusion of "hundreds" of potentially classified emails on her private server.
Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.The report also notes that these same Inspectors General were particularly annoyed with how the State Department has been handling this, saying that one of the emails that was revealed publicly last month contained classified information that should not have been released (though they obviously did not identify which email).
The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management.
In a second memo to Mr. Kennedy, sent on July 17, the inspectors general said that at least one email made public by the State Department contained classified information. The inspectors general did not identify the email or reveal its substance.Back in March, when the whole email scandal broke, it was pretty clear that Clinton hoped to address it quickly and then hope that the whole thing would blow over. And, for the most part, it actually did. However, a criminal investigation and potential charges would obviously put it back on the front page again. Either way, it still raises serious questions as to what the hell she was thinking and more importantly, what the hell her staff was thinking. There is no way they could not have known how dangerous this was. Clinton's bizarre defense that the system was secure because the server was physically guarded never made much sense, but it still boggles the mind that everyone allowed this to happen in the first place. At this point, it has to be considered all but confirmed that foreign intelligence agencies had full access to all of her emails, including those that had classified information.
The inspectors general also criticized the State Department for its handling of sensitive information, particularly its reliance on retired senior Foreign Service officers to decide if information should be classified, and for not consulting with the intelligence agencies about its determinations.
Update: Well, this is interesting. Some have noticed that after it was published, the NY Times quietly "softened" its original story... An hour after publishing it, the report changed so that it no longer said that the question was if "Hillary Clinton mishandled" her emails, but rather if "sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton."