Hillary did send classified emails after all

In order to understand what we now know about what Clinton was doing with her private email system and classified information, let's examine a couple scenarios for how classified information could appear on her private email server.

1) Directly copying a classified document. She says this never happened, and it would obviously be a blatant violation of the rules. Reports are that the system is set up to make this physically hard; the classified computers are not networked to unclassified ones.

2) Telling aides and employees to remove classified markings and forward her information from those documents. We know this happened at least once. On its face, this appears to be ordering a subordinate to perform an illegal act. It's not clear if the subordinate complied in that specific case, but we have literally thousand of examples (including many classified top secret or higher) that probably fit into this category without the explicit instructions to remove classified markings and send in insecure email. In this case, Hillary's in trouble for receiving it on her server and not disposing of it properly, but the original offense isn't hers... at least, not for those cases she did not give explicit instructions about. (Although a credible case could be made that using her private server in this manner was a deliberate act, so she's not off the hook completely).

3) Writing (not copying or paraphrasing) emails that refer to information that should be classified, but which were not themselves ever designated classified. This is the sort of thing that happens if Hillary, say, writes an email to someone containing negotiating positions or the name of a spy or something. Just because Hillary, or an aide, wrote the email without referencing another document or marking the email itself classified doesn't mean the email isn't classified. We appear to have at least 104 examples of this.

The thing that gets tricky is that there may well be lots of examples of type-3 classified information flying around in private email. It's not like most government officials have minders reading their "private" email accounts preventing it. And while Hillary's casual approach to security seems exceptional, we've already established that many Obama officials both had and used personal email for work purposes. So if Hillary takes a big fall for this, it's likely to make other government officials uncomfortable. But then, Petraeus has already taken a fall for a similar offense, so the precedent has been set.

If Hillary can skate after deliberately setting up a system that negligently (at best!) exposed classified information, openly violated the rules for handling that information, deliberately conspired to avoid complying with federal records laws, and then trying to cover it all up by deleting her emails when found out... then we no longer have the rule of law in this country.

But then, we haven't had that for 7 years. So what else is new?

This entry was published Sun Mar 20 10:19:16 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2016-03-20 10:19:16.0. [Tweet]

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