DNI Clapper won't exclude Clinton from classified briefings

Director of national intelligence James Clapper wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan denying his request to exclude Hillary Clinton from classified briefings during the campaign.  This despite FBI director Comey testifying before Congress that Clinton and her aides were "extremely careless" in handling classified documents.

The Hill:

"Nominees for president and vice president receive these briefings by virtue of their status as candidates, and do not require separate security clearances before the briefings," Clapper wrote. "Briefings for the candidates will be provided on an even-handed non-partisan basis."

On Thursday, Ryan formally requested that Clapper deny Clinton access to classified information “for the duration of her candidacy for president.”

His request came hours before FBI Director James Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the findings of his yearlong investigation into the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's handling of classified material while she was serving as secretary of State.

While the FBI did not ultimately recommend charges against Clinton, Comey said that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

In his letter to Clapper, Ryan wrote that, “given the FBI’s findings denying Secretary Clinton access to classified information certainly constitutes appropriate sanctions.”

It's hard to see how Clapper can revoke the clearances of Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills if he lets Hillary off the hook.  This makes his decision even more confusing.  Will no one be punished for gross negligence in mishandling classified information?

In Obama's Washington, apparently not.

Certainly part of Ryan's effort to deny Clinton classified briefings was political.  But as a matter of practical national security, he was well within the bounds of his duty as a high-ranking member of government.  Clinton and her aides may give little thought to national security when it comes to handling classified documents.  But the rest of official Washington doesn't have that luxury. 

Director of national intelligence James Clapper wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan denying his request to exclude Hillary Clinton from classified briefings during the campaign.  This despite FBI director Comey testifying before Congress that Clinton and her aides were "extremely careless" in handling classified documents.

The Hill:

"Nominees for president and vice president receive these briefings by virtue of their status as candidates, and do not require separate security clearances before the briefings," Clapper wrote. "Briefings for the candidates will be provided on an even-handed non-partisan basis."

On Thursday, Ryan formally requested that Clapper deny Clinton access to classified information “for the duration of her candidacy for president.”

His request came hours before FBI Director James Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the findings of his yearlong investigation into the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's handling of classified material while she was serving as secretary of State.

While the FBI did not ultimately recommend charges against Clinton, Comey said that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

In his letter to Clapper, Ryan wrote that, “given the FBI’s findings denying Secretary Clinton access to classified information certainly constitutes appropriate sanctions.”

It's hard to see how Clapper can revoke the clearances of Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills if he lets Hillary off the hook.  This makes his decision even more confusing.  Will no one be punished for gross negligence in mishandling classified information?

In Obama's Washington, apparently not.

Certainly part of Ryan's effort to deny Clinton classified briefings was political.  But as a matter of practical national security, he was well within the bounds of his duty as a high-ranking member of government.  Clinton and her aides may give little thought to national security when it comes to handling classified documents.  But the rest of official Washington doesn't have that luxury.