• Clinton’s Evolving Email Defense Does Not Hold Water

    August 14, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy


    Have you noticed that Clinton’s explanations/excuses/defenses about her private email server and the classified information it held never seem to last very long, and are typically replaced in a week or two with something new?

    Back in March the message was unambiguous: there was no classified material on her server. Then, after two Inspectors General said there indeed was classified material, the line was it was classified retroactively (as if that matters; see below). That soon fell to a line that the classified information was unmarked as such (as if that matters; see below). The newest is that well, Clinton herself did not send any of the classified emails. So, once again wrapped in new shiny paper, there’s nothing to see here, folks, let’s move along to the issues that really matter. I’ll tackle that as well, below.

    No one has better summed up the official Clinton Child’s Treasury of Excuses better than Senator Dianne Feinstein, who somewhat randomly released a statement “in response to allegations” regarding Clinton’s emails.

    Let’s break Feinstein’s statement down.

    The Dog Ate My Homework

    Feinstein: First, none of the emails alleged to contain classified information were written by Secretary Clinton.

    Here’s your talking point, somnolent media. It’s someone else’s fault.

    Of course, the Inspectors General were only allowed by the State Department to review 40 emails, four of which contained classified. So there are still some 30,000 left to look into to see if Clinton herself did respond to, forward or write any of them.

    Next is that the classified emails, no matter who wrote them, ended up in an insecure system because Clinton chose to do things that way in contravention of all good practice and rationality, if not actual law and regulation.

    She was the prime mover behind the lapses in security. And after all, the cops bust the owner of the crackhouse, not just the ‘heads inside. The “buck stops where” is the question. Clinton continues to claim total ignorance of the contents of her own email to this day. Is all that presidential?

    Lastly, no matter who wrote the emails, once Clinton saw them they became her responsibility to act on and secure. In real life, failure to report and secure classified found in an unsecure situation is also a violation of national security law. With that access comes responsibility. Remember, if you see something, say something!

    I Didn’t Know, Honest, Sir

    Feinstein: Second, none of the emails alleged to contain classified information include any markings that indicate classified content.

    There is no allegation. The Inspectors General of the State Department and the Intelligence community said the emails contain classified material.

    What everyone who has ever held a security clearance knows, and what the media, from left to right, cannot grasp is this: the information itself is or is not classified. The markings are there to show you what level of secure handling is required.

    I’ll try again for the slow learners at CNN.

    You are handed a piece of paper marked TOP SECRET//SI//TK/NOFORN (explained here). On the paper are written the negotiating positions of the Chinese Foreign Minister, whom you will meet tomorrow. The paper says these were obtained via a spy satellite listening in on the Minister in his inner office via electronic emissions.

    Now, cut off the part of the paper that says TOP SECRET//SI//TK/NOFORN. Does the sensitivity of the information change at that moment? Of course not.

    If you have lived in a remote cabin all your life, you may not grasp the sensitivity of knowing your opponent’s positions a day ahead of time and the sensitivity that this information was derived by some of America’s most secret sources and methods. But if you have spent your entire life in government, you damn well know that that information is not unclassified, whether it shows up in your email unmarked or otherwise.

    It really, really is that simple. Marked or unmarked, pro-active or retro-active, Clinton knew she was dealing with highly classified information on an unclassified system she herself set up and continued to use.

    Everything Else

    Retroactive classification means that something was classified when it was issued. The markings were applied later, but that does not relieve the holder of the information of the legal burden of protecting the information. Government employees have lost their jobs over this concept, and gone to jail. This has been confirmed as legal as high as the Supreme Court. See Department of Homeland Security v. Robert MacLean for the most recent case. Legally, citing retroactive classification is not a defense.

    “Everybody does it.” No they don’t. No other government employee, never mind Cabinet-level official, has created her own private email server in the history of the United States. If Jeb Bush had a private server as governor of Florida, that is not a charm point for him, but he also did not handle America’s most sensitive information, or any classified information at all. John Kerry and Condi Rice said they do not send official emails outside of the State Department system. Madeleine Albright said she may have sent a few back in the dawn of the Internet 14 years ago via AOL or Yahoo, and no one has suggested she sent anything classified. Colin Powell as Secretary of State said he sent a handful of emails on his AOL account, and no one has claimed there was any classified involved.

    Besides, “everybody does it” is an excuse that teenagers use when they’re caught smoking behind the school.

    Now, as for that “let’s get back to the issues” meme that many Clinton supporters like to go to.

    No one can anticipate what will happen during the four (or eight…) years of a presidency. So while experience matters significantly, judgement and trust matter perhaps even more. Those are the things that will see success or failure when the unexpected arises one night at 3 am.

    Lastly, I think also the point needs to be made that if the only standard we apply to candidates’ wrongdoings is if it is not criminal and illegal, it does not matter, sets a pretty low bar. I’d like to vote for a president who, in addition to not being a convicted criminal, is also somewhat honest, with good judgement and who at least feigns putting the nation’s interests before his/her own.

    If one cannot see that, at a minimum, Clinton exercised horribly bad judgement and cannot be trusted to protect America’s secrets, and if one cannot see that those are indeed issues for an election, then, well, I just don’t know what else to say here.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      Peter- you’ve done everything humanly possible to keep me from being shipped to the Susan McDougal Work Camp if Hillary is elected. I can only hope that if she is elected POTUS she will suffer the curse of finally getting what she has always wished for with of course a ghostly Peggy Lee singing softly into her ear.

      08/14/15 3:31 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Hillary’s female supporters of her age and slightly younger see her as a proxy for their own short circuited lives- They want her to prevail and be victorious as a representative of them. They see themselves as victims of an oppressive male culture. They made compromises, they stayed in loveless unhappy marriages for the children and see her as doing a similar thing. They looked the other way to keep the hearth fires burning. Now they want revenge and she is their avenging angel. There are tens of millions of such women and they want payback.

      08/14/15 10:36 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      I find it incredible that reporters, Congressional members who support Mad Hillary on this, the public, etc. even question that her [unauthorized] email system was handling classified material. She was the Sec. of State, for fuck’s sake. She must have had to deal with classified material on a daily basis. It’s obvious and inevitable that some of it went through her personal server, since that’s what she was using. Duh. And giving the IG 40 emails is an unacceptably miniscule sampling of her email input and output.

      And now the latest is that the server she said was either A) “being held safely and securely in a closet in her home” or B) “had been utterly destroyed to remove all doubt that any material on it was still putting the nation in danger of hacking into it” (I have read both stories at different times) was requested by the FBI. Only it turns out that C) the actual server has spent the last two years housed in some little IT company’s facility and the FBI had to break down their front door to get the sucker. (This is called “I turned over the server” in Hillary-speak.) No-one seems to be surprised enough to remark on how the story has changed from scenarios A or B to the new one, C.

      And – wait for it – the FBI says the server they got from this IT company, purported to be Hillary’s by the Mad Queen herself and by the IT company, has never had any information on it. I.e., they took the shrink-wrap off a new never-used-by-anyone piece of computer equipment and are trying to pass it off as the infamous server she used at home.

      Truth is, no-one is going to do anything about any of this. They have decided Hillary will be crowned and any repugnant matters such as the emails, the bribes and grift going into the Clinton Foundation, her use of the State Dept to threaten countries to accept Monsanto, her lies on Libya, her threats to bomb Iran, her fucking LAUGHTER over our assassination of the leader of a sovereign nation – all that and everything else will be erased, explained, forgotten.

      That’s how we roll now.

      08/15/15 7:19 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      I’m going to go slightly off-topic here and talk about our current Sec. of State.

      It is no wonder no-one trusts us.  Not only do we fuck with their internal governance, bomb random countries for the hell of it, deliberately impoverish nations via sanctions and unfair trade agreements, wreak financial havoc through our banks (I include the IMF, World Bank and ECB – which is run by a Goldman, Sachs guy – as “our” banks), set our corporations on them to pillage and rape, but our Secretaries of State are common fucking grifters.

      This information about John Kerry is not being discussed anywhere in the US media, but was/is much talked about in the Israeli and ME papers.

      “Kerry owns million-dollar stake in Noble Energy Corp., which is currently fighting for the right to maintain a duopoly with Delek Group over Israel’s natural gas fields. […]

      According to official filings, US Secretary of State John Kerry holds a very large sum of shares in the American gas company Noble Energy Corp., one of two key partners in Israel’s gas reserves. […]

      Last December Israel’s Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo notified the government that he did not approve the Delek Corp. – Noble Energy duopoly over the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields. Around the same period a report was published that  Kerry had called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked him to take care of the regulatory conflict.
      Kerry is thought to be one of the main driving forces behind the agreement that was meant to be signed between Nobel Energy, Delek Group and the Jordanian Government on supplying gas from the Leviathan field to Jordan. In September 2014 an agreement was signed outlining the principles between the sides and the Israeli government. In January 2015 Kerry was supposed to attend the final signing ceremony. This did not happen, however, as the ceremony was cancelled after the anti-trust commissioner’s decision, thus prompting Kerry’s call to Netanyahu.

      A Knesset battle is ongoing, as Prime Minister Netanyahu has pushed the final decision-making process over the future of Israel’s natural gas behind closed doors. Netanyahu has opted to hold all future decision sessions in the security cabinet because of the international and strategic nature of the gas fields.

       Opposition politicians have decried the move as a way to bypass antitrust decisions, and take the debate away from the public representatives. The move has led to several protests and is seen as a way to support a continued monopoly over Israel’s gas.[…]

      Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz, the widow of Senator Henri John Heinz, one of the Heinz heirs. Her net worth is estimated to be more a billion dollars. The net worth of Noble Energy Corp. stands at around $17.3 billion.

      US politicians are allowed to manage their investment portfolios under certain restrictions that meant to prevent insider trading, According to the Wall Street Journal, these restrictions were tightened in 2013 after fears emerged that several public officials used internal information to conduct insider trading.”

      And, ta-dah! Presto-change-o, today we read the following:

      “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday announced a major deal between his government and a consortium including U.S. firm Noble Energy on natural gas production in the Mediterranean Sea. […]

      [Netanyahu said] “I shall bring this agreement to the cabinet Sunday. I’m sure it will pass by a large majority of votes.”

      Noble [Energy] and locally based firm Delek have since 2013 produced gas from the Tamar field off the Israeli coast. They have also teamed up to develop the offshore Leviathan field, considered the largest in the Mediterranean.

      Previous agreements have been criticised by anti-trust authorities, leading to the opening of new talks under intense political pressure. Critics have feared regulations would overly favor the companies involved.

      In May, antitrust commissioner David Gilo said he was resigning over his opposition to the dominant position of Noble and Delek in the Leviathan and Tamar fields.[…]

      Netanyahu has pushed hard to speed up gas production in the Mediterranean, drawing criticism from political opponents who accuse him of not ensuring sufficient benefits for the Israeli public in the negotiations.

      His inner cabinet in June took the rare decision of declaring gas production to be linked to national security — allowing the government to override laws related to monopolies. […]”


      So Kerry gets to make some [more] money on a lucrative oil deal. All he had to do was make a phone call. And all Netanyahu had to do was to change the monopoly and anti-trust laws in Israel on Kerry’s behalf. The USA, bringing democracy everyfuckingwhere.

      [Note that the Leviathan and Tamar oil fields, the areas under discussion in these articles, are deep-sea fields (seriously, VERY deep sea – do a quick wikipedia search). I see a Deepwater Horizon event in Israel’s future.]

      08/15/15 8:22 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Hillary’s campaign for POTUS started about two years ago so why weren’t alternatives out there challenging her? Why didn’t Gore or Sanders or others have a, “Are you ready for_______?” campaign starting two years ago? Were they just too fearful, cautious, or insecure? Only the confident and bold could possibly derail her campaign.

      08/15/15 8:27 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Wedgie for Billary, preferably.

      08/15/15 11:20 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Ah, Hilllary is using the tactic of “laughing off” her email and Benghazi attacks as the usual partisan politics. Actually her female supporters (are there truly any hetero males in her camp?)_ would have been much better off joining a convent because of their sexual hangups. She is one majorly fucked up FSO (female shaped object).

      08/15/15 1:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      There is No PARTISAN; only collaborative halfascist wings of the DEMiserepubilkan Wall Street Theater; devoted to corruption of democracy.

      08/15/15 4:15 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”So Kerry gets to make some [more] money on a lucrative oil deal. All he had to do was make a phone call.”unquote

      Great info teri. No time to comment now. I’ll be back.

      (walking off cursing, shaking head, rolling eyes,….)

      08/16/15 11:02 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”According to official filings, US Secretary of State John Kerry holds a very large sum of shares in the American gas company Noble Energy Corp., one of two key partners in Israel’s gas reserves.”unquote

      quote” Around the same period a report was published that Kerry had called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked him to take care of the regulatory conflict.”unquote

      quote”His inner cabinet in June took the rare decision of declaring gas production to be linked to national security — allowing the government to override laws related to monopolies. […]”unquote

      And the WDC corruption beat goes on…

      This gives new meaning to the word diplomacy..er..wait..
      I forgot.
      Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined it in Guatemala for the United Fruit company in 1954.

      My bad.

      bartender, how bout a round for the house…. a shot of SecretaryofCorruption and a bottle of that cult beer…

      sheeezusHfuckingchrist.. it never stops.

      08/16/15 1:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Nic108 said...


      Great info, teri! Just when I think I’m too jaded to be offended by high level corruption in the USG, info like that kicks me in the nads. Despicable

      08/17/15 3:35 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      Pitch and Nic,

      I try not to limit myself to reading only US media; even the “alternative” websites won’t cover stuff like the John Kerry oil deal.

      The rest of the world may be relatively powerless to stop our shit for now, but they sure see more clearly than we do what is going on, and their media does a way better job of covering it. The US is fairly universally loathed, except within the US itself, of course. We remain clueless, thanks to a supine, asinine public and a bought, controlled media.

      I suspect that we would have been bombed to hell and gone before now, except we have most of the weapons and the US dollar holds reserve currency status. The first is changing because we are making sure that weapons of all calibers are spread around globally (kind of an equal-opportunity death machine), which will probably come back to bite us righteously in the ass, and the latter may change rather quickly, especially if the Iran diplomatic deal does not go through.

      – Teri

      08/17/15 7:12 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Assume Hillary is elected presidense of the Dumbest Country on the Planet, then good luck to any law enforcement agency to prosecute any government employee for violations of handling any classified information.

      08/17/15 9:13 AM | Comment Link

    • starknakedtruth said...



      You’re kidding right?

      Never forget that some animals in the barnyard are more equal than others.

      Or in Ms. Clinton’s case–the rules only apply to the little people.

      08/18/15 10:15 AM | Comment Link

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