You Don't Have (Hillary's) Mail

Before the Kardashians, reality soap opera fans had the Clintons. If you are too young to have lived through or too old to remember clearly those years, Thomas Lifson has a neat synopsis of As the Clinton World Turns

This week’s episode, "Three Card Monty", continues as Hillary’s various stories about the official emails she improperly kept on a private server come undone. To refresh the story -- in order to protect national security, assure transparency in government, and to preserve an archive of official actions, she was supposed to use a secured Department of State server. Instead she kept a private, previously undisclosed server which held on it all her official and personal emails and those of her aides. A Freedom of Information Act case was filed and the woman her husband once called “the smartest woman in the world” and her spinners have been churning out excuses ever since.

This week we learned the following:

1. There was some highly classified secret information in her emails -- even in those very  few she turned over that had not been scrubbed or tampered with by her and her staff.

There is no doubt that she, or someone on her State Department staff, violated federal law by putting TOP SECRET//SI information on an unclassified system. That it was Hillary’s private, offsite server makes the case even worse from a security viewpoint. Claims that they “didn’t know” such information was highly classified do not hold water and are irrelevant. It strains belief that anybody with clearances didn’t recognize that NSA information, which is loaded with classification markings, was signals intelligence, or SIGINT. It’s possible that the classified information found in Clinton’s email trove wasn’t marked as such. But if that classification notice was omitted, it wasn’t the U.S. intelligence community that took such markings away. Moreover, anybody holding security clearances has already assumed the responsibility for handling it properly.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had no authority to disseminate IC information on her own, neither could she make it less highly classified (a process termed “downgrading” in the spy trade) without asking IC permission first.

It is a very big deal and less connected people who do this sort of thing ruin their lives, as any IC counterintelligence official can attest.

2. Hillary Clinton tampered with even those emails she turned over to the Department of Justice. 

The sections withheld didn’t relate to wedding dresses or yoga poses.


Hillary Clinton withheld Benghazi-related emails from the State Department that detailed her knowledge of the scramble for oil contracts in Libya and the shortcomings of the NATO-led military intervention for which she advocated.

Clinton removed specific portions of other emails she sent to State, suggesting the messages were screened closely enough to determine which paragraphs were unfit to be seen by the public. …

Clinton selectively edited other portions of emails she declined to provide to the State Department.

For example, in July 2012, Clinton removed paragraphs from a Blumenthal memo that warned “simply completing the election… and fulfilling a list of proper democratic milestones may not create a true democracy.” Blumenthal also wrote -- in sections that Clinton deleted before providing the document to State -- that the government would likely be “founded on Sharia,” or Islamic laws.

The group advocating to implement Sharia, Ansar al-Sharia, is a designated terrorist group that played a role in the Benghazi attacks.

But Clinton hid how much she knew about that development.

3. Hillary’s coterie may have stripped the "secret" classifications from the few emails she did turn over. 

But a State Department official told Fox News that the intelligence community inspector general, who raised the most recent concerns about Clinton's emails, made clear that at least one of those messages contained information that only could have come from the intelligence community. 

"If so, they would have had to come in with all the appropriate classification markings," the official said. 

The official questioned whether someone, then, tampered with that message. "[S]omewhere between the point they came into the building and the time they reached HRC's server, someone would have had to strip the classification markings from that information before it was transmitted to HRC's personal email."           

The official said doing so would "constitute a felony, in and of itself. I can't imagine that a rank-and-file career DOS employee would have done this, so it was most likely done by someone in her inner circle." 

The messages apparently contained satellite imagery and signals intelligence, information that diplomats cannot unilaterally obtain. 

Yet, like the Clinton campaign, the State Department public affairs team also maintains that the emails were "not marked classified" when Clinton received them. 

By the way, this report from Fox highlights what also seems obvious this week: The State Department public affairs team is increasingly at odds with the DNI Inspector General and probably some members of the Department of State’s Inspector General office.

4.There’s a time gap in her latest “explanation”.

Legal Insurrection uncovered this

Legal Insurrection: There is a time gap which may hold the key to Hillary’s hide-and-seek email game.

According to the Washington Post and other reporting, a Colorado server company obtained possession of Hillary’s server in 2013, transferred the data, leaving a blank server with no usable data at a storage facility in New Jersey.

Yet, in a letter filed on August 12, 2015 with the federal Court in the Judicial Watch FOIA litigation regarding Huma Abedin’s outside employment, Hillary’s lawyer, David Kendall. represented that Hillary did not ask counsel to review her emails until late 2014. [Full embed at bottom of post.] He also confirmed that the Colorado company has had possession of the original server since 2013.


So how could Hillary’s lawyers review a server no longer in Hillary’s possession, and which had been wiped clean?

5. Hillary may have committed a felony by transmitting her server to a private company, Platte River Networks, which had no security clearance:

"By transmitting the server’s contents to a third-party (Platte River), she may well have committed a felony. As of now, Clinton’s best defense is that she only passively received classified e-mails -- as opposed to having sent, forwarded, or deleted them -- and that she is thus not in violation of USC 18 793(f). But if she handed over a server full of classified information and then actively copied that information onto computers owned by a commercial provider -- a clear violation of both the “communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated” and “fails to deliver” clauses in USC 18 793(e) -- that defense becomes horribly moot.

6. Ninety people worldwide had and used her private email address, making the likelihood of hacking enormous.

Should she be elected, any of the countless foreign entities and governments who hacked into her account could blackmail her

1. It’s safe to say that there were things on that server which could cause Hillary tremendous harm politically -- which is why she destroyed the evidence that would have been exculpatory, if you believed her explanation. In my mind, it’s also why she used a private server to begin with.

2. She is lying about what was on that server, potentially to include while under oath in her upcoming congressional testimony.

3. If someone had all the copies of her emails and those of her staff, they could readily blackmail her because of the above. They’d have proof of her wrongdoing and her lying about it.

4. Hillary Clinton, as both a future presidential candidate and a sitting secretary of state would have been one of the Top 100 intelligence targets in the world and probably one of the top 10.

5. It’s thus certain that the Chinese and Russians would each have had a team focused on accessing her communications.

6. Every security expert I know of has said it’s a virtual certainty the Chinese and Russians both gained access to her server and all her emails. From what I know about their capabilities, I’d agree.

There are probably a bunch of folks in China and Russia who are praying (even if they’re atheists) for Hillary to be elected. If she wins, they own the President of the United States. I can just imagine in a meeting with Putin, Hillary being told to back off supporting Ukraine or he’ll release her emails (as he hands her a folder containing the most damaging ones for her to peruse). Put in that position, would Hillary fall on her sword or sacrifice a country like Ukraine? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to be living in Ukraine…

Someone with that kind of vulnerability to blackmail shouldn’t be allowed to sweep the floors of the NSA, much less run our country.

Will the next episode be "Orange is the New Black"?

Professor Charles Lipson thinks the end is nigh -- and it’ll be a legal fall:

If the FBI officially determines classified material was being held on the server, or foreign intelligence agencies hacked into it, or official materials were erased and not turned over to the courts, as Clinton stated under oath she had, then Director Comey will face the hardest decision of his professional life. If he recommends prosecution and the DOJ refuses, you can be sure an infuriated intelligence community will leak the news. That would be fatal to Clinton politically since it would smell like a cover-up. It is possible, of course, that the investigations will give Secretary Clinton a clean bill of health. But it is far more likely that they will bring legal peril, and, with it, political disaster.

Perhaps he gives too much credit to Director Comey. Years ago I argued he’d behaved badly as acting Attorney General, probably to advance his own career.

But Lipson’s right in thinking the vise is tightening

federal Judge Emmet Sullivan has now verified that Mrs. Clinton will not certify that she has handed over to the State Department all of her work-related records. Two of her closest aides are also dodging Judge Sullivan’s request to hand over their work-related documents to State, and we now know that one of Mrs. Clinton’s aides was using the unsecured Clinton system for government work.

Judge Sullivan is overseeing a Freedom of Information Act case brought in 2013 by Judicial Watch. The watchdog group sought documents relating to the employment of Huma Abedin, who was allowed to work outside the government even as she served as a top Clinton State Department aide. State told Judicial Watch in 2014 it had turned over everything relevant, and the group then dropped its lawsuit.

But the news of previously undisclosed Clinton emails convinced Judge Sullivan in June to take the rare step of reopening the Abedin case. To ascertain whether State was finally searching through every record, he ordered State on July 31 to request that Mrs. Clinton and two of her aides -- Ms. Abedin and Cheryl Mills -- confirm under penalty of perjury that they had produced all government records in their possession, and that they describe their use of Mrs. Clinton’s server for government business.


But her declaration to the court did disclose that Mrs. Abedin had an “account” on Mrs. Clinton’s server “which was used at times for government business.” The admission that her aides were also using her server demolishes Mrs. Clinton’s previous claim that she used this server for personal “convenience.” She was really running a parallel mini-State email operation.

Both aides were also supposed to submit declarations that they had turned over all government records to the State Department. Instead, they blew off Judge Sullivan and directed their attorneys to explain that they are still searching their private records and in time will get around to supplying them. This is remarkable given that State first requested they turn over any work-related records in March.


The FBI has the forensic ability to retrieve the emails if they still exist, assuming that the agency isn’t merely going through the pro-forma motions.

Keep in mind that none of this would have happened without Judge Sullivan enforcing the freedom-of-information law. Credit as well goes to federal Judge Rudolph Contreras for ordering the State Department to start producing the Clinton records, and to federal Judge Richard Leon for rapping State over its delays producing the emails. Congressman Trey Gowdy ’s House committee on Benghazi has also been indispensable in pressing the server issue.

The Observer, which calls for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, shares my skepticism of the will of the administration’s legal officers to act against Hillary: 

Yet there’s been no criminal investigation of Ms. Clinton and her cabal? They couldn’t seize her server months ago while it contained all the emails? They couldn’t put a stop to it from the beginning? Democratic presidential candidate. Oh right, I forgot. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Ms. Clinton had declined to allow an Inspector General at the State Department during her entire tenure -- so there was no internal oversight. And oh yes, her name is Clinton, and she has long deemed herself above the law. The rules only apply to everyone else. But wait, there’s still more. The current Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Leslie Caldwell, and her Chief of the Corporate Fraud Section, Andrew Weissmann, destroyed Arthur Andersen and its 85,000 jobs on unfounded charges of obstruction of justice for destroying documents the Supreme Court said it had no legal obligation to keep. The laws governing Ms. Clinton’s obligations are clear. Nonetheless, they haven’t even convened a grand jury to look into Ms. Clinton’s longstanding assertion that she wiped her server clean -- of documents she was legally required to keep? On top of that, there can be little doubt that Eric Holder and other high-ranking FBI and DOJ officials themselves wrote Ms. Clinton at -- not to mention countless communications with the President and “All His Muses” -- Counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and then White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler (not to mention Valerie Jarrett) -- about Benghazi and all other top secret and classified issues. The DOJ hasn’t subpoenaed the emails from any of the recipients -- or the internet service providers? Or looked for them on the backup government servers of the accounts of all the recipients? And the State Department still today is making statements defending her? Not only did Ms. Clinton deliberately demonstrate disdain for the Federal Records Act and nullify the protections of the Freedom of Information Act, she violated the Espionage Act by having information relating to the national defense on her server at all. And her deliberate disregard for national security made the job of all hackers that much easier. 

It can’t be lost on the public how the political class treats disparately security breaches by people like Sandy Berger and Hillary Clinton (i.e. well-connected Democrats) as opposed to heroes like General Petraeus and Marine Reserves Major Jason Brezler who used his personal email to send a classified report warning that lives were at stake before his warning unfortunately proved true.

It’s interesting to note that Hillary has not always been so casual about the need to protect national security as she was throughout her time as secretary of state:  

In December 2011, Chelsea Manning’s court-martial was set to begin. None of the documents at issue in that prosecution was “top secret,” unlike the documents found on Hillary Clinton’s server. Nonetheless, the then-secretary of state convened a press conference to denounce Manning and defend the prosecution. This is [how it was reported at the time]:

‘If his case goes to trial and he is convicted, Manning could face life in prison. The government has said it would not seek the death penalty.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Manning’s alleged actions damaging and unfortunate in remarks to reporters at the State Department on Thursday.

“I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so,’ Clinton said.”

Perhaps some of her opponents might remind voters of how she was fully aware of the need to protect national security “where so much information is flying through cyberspace” before she wasn’t.