Right Hooks

Some Clinton Email Too Classified to Release

Nate Jackson · Feb. 1, 2016

“I take classified information very seriously,” Hillary Clinton insisted Sunday. “You know, you can’t get classified information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system, no matter what that system is.” She’s not exactly correct, but it would take a herculean effort to strip classification markings — which is apparently what she did. “There is absolutely no evidence that I ever sent or received any email marked classified.” Marked is the key word in Clinton parsing, and even former Clintonista George Stephanopoulos cornered her on that one: “You’ve said many times that the emails were not marked classified. The non-disclosure agreement you signed as secretary of state says that that’s really not that relevant. It says classified information is marked or unmarked classified and that all of you are trained to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference.” Bingo, though her comments above were, astoundingly, in reply to his charge.

It’s certainly inconvenient that the State Department just announced it would not release 22 of her emails at all because revealing the information contained in them — even if redacted — would be too damaging to national security. The State Department has already released more than 1,300 of Clinton’s classified emails, but these 22 are so serious as to merit holding them. (Those and 18 more that are direct communications with Barack Obama, who famously claimed he only found out about Clinton’s email practices “through news reports.”)

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy sums up the problem: “The reasoning behind that conclusion is alarming. It is not just that the intelligence community (IC) understandably wishes to keep top secret national-defense information under wraps. Because of how recklessly Clinton and her top aides handled classified information, the IC must operate under the assumption that there are copies of these 22 emails floating around — whether in the possession of current or former government officials but unaccounted for or, worse, in the possession of, say, foreign governments that managed to hack into Clinton’s unsecured private system. If the State Department were to release publicly even redacted copies of the emails, those who may have complete copies will be able to figure out the SAP information and use that knowledge both to compromise government sources and programs, and in analyzing other U.S. government information to which they’ve gained access. In other words, it is potentially catastrophic.”

Heck, even Bernie “Sick and Tired of Her Damn Emails” Sanders now thinks Clinton’s malfeasance is “a very serious issue,” though he swears, “I’m not going to politicize it.”

Finally, on a related note, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has decided not to pursue further punishment for Gen. David Petraeus over mishandling of classified information. Perhaps Carter is simply trying to make life easier for Clinton.

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