The Washington Post, in an article called “Clinton’s team went from nonchalant to nervous over e-mail controversy,” does a good job of demonstrating that Hillary Clinton has spoken falsely in trying to brush off this scandal. As Post reporters Carol Leonnig, Karen Tumulty, and Rosalind Helderman put it, “the issues around Clinton’s e-mails have. . .intensified as it has become clear that a number of her statements defending her actions now appear to be false.”
Let’s take a look at the record. Clinton has said multiple times that she never sent or received any e-mails containing information that was classified at the time. And when her use of a private e-mail account first came to light in March, Clinton said “I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
False. As the Post points out:
[T]he intelligence community’s inspector general, reviewing a small sample of Clinton’s private e-mails, has contradicted that claim. While the e-mails may not have been marked that way, they contained classified information. The IG said this week that he had discovered information in two e-mails that intelligence agencies considered to be top secret, the highest category of classification.
Accordingly, Team Clinton has been forced to retreat. Now, it says only that Clinton did not send or receive any e-mails that were “marked classified at the time.” Thus, her handlers effectively acknowledge that Clinton’t original line isn’t true.
The Post’s story also makes clear the speciousness of making a “marking” of classification the touchstone for evaluating Clinton’s conduct. According to the authors:
In several of the e-mails that intelligence officials now say are classified, Clinton’s closest aides were writing to her to alert her to specific information and sometimes citing what the CIA was reporting, according to two government officials who have reviewed them.
Whether it was marked classified or not, Clinton had to know when her aides saw fit to alert her to information coming from the CIA that she was receiving sensitive, and very likely classified, information.
According to the Post, agencies train officials with security clearances to spot sensitive material and then to look up the applicable classification. Moreover, as noted above, Hillary herself says she was well aware of the classification requirements.
No training is required to understand that reports from the CIA are inherently sensitive. As John Fitzpatrick, head of the Information Security Oversight Office within the National Archives, told the Post, the very statement that the “the CIA reports something. . .should set off alarm bells.”
Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton wasn’t alarmed about the prospect of sharing state secrets with our adversaries. What alarmed her was the thing that caused her to set up a private email account in the first place — the thought that the American people might one day learn how she conducted the nation’s business.
JOHN adds: This post should be read in conjunction with this one which I did earlier this evening. Taken together, a reasonable inference is that at this point, Hillary and her lawyers are focused on avoiding criminal charges.