Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#HDR22 - it depends on the meaning of "classified"

Not quite a year ago, State Department mouthpiece Jen Psaki was unable to name a single accomplishment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
"I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one," Psaki responded...

Later, the State Department provided a list of seven changes resulting from the 2010 audit. They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism, promoting American energy interests and helping civilian leaders of the agency prevent conflict and violence.
This constitutes the foreign policy legacy of the smartest woman on earth? A sad comment on our foreign policy, women, or both. OTOH, if the Department of State had been awake and enforcing the Official Records Act known, they could have added, "Built her own email server for official business."

But the most incredible achievement was not revealed until yesterday's press conference (emphasis mine),

QUESTION: Were you ever -- were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using -- using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.
A prodigious feat. In four years as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never sent or received a classified email.

How the hell do you manage that? By not doing your job (as Psaki's inability to name any accomplishments suggests)? By controlling the definition of what is classified? By deleting 30,000 of the emails and declaring the server off-limits?

We do know (thanks to the hacker Guccifer) that among the emails she deleted (they are reportedly not included in the 55,000 printed pages Mrs. Clinton sent to the Department of State) are some from Sid Blumenthal with annotations like “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

These are not classified materials because Mrs. Clinton chose not to classify them (the State Department didn't even know about them). She could surely have made them so under classification categories 1.4(b) foreign government information, 1.4(c) intelligence activities, sources, or methods, or cryptology, or 1.4(d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.

Mrs. Clinton assures us that the deleted emails "... have nothing to do with work [as SecState], but I didn't see any reason to keep them." Now, even if we ignore the fact that "having nothing to do with work," is categorically not the same as ""There is no classified material," one must wonder how many of the deleted emails referenced contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Middle Eastern despots looking for political leverage. If the correspondents kept their copies, they've got real leverage now.

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