State Department and Intelligence Agencies Ask For An Investigation in the Clinton Email Scandal

225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropIn a major development on the Clinton email scandal, the New York Times is reporting that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether there was mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton using a personal email account while secretary of state. While the newspaper referred to the action as a criminal referral, the Administration quickly moved to counter the story and insist that it is not technically a criminal referral. We have previously discussed this story and the insistence of Clinton that she did nothing wrong in maintaining a private email system and that none of the emails were classified. I disagreed with both premises as well as expressed great skepticism over Clinton’s insistence that she was really not trying to control her emails and insulate them from review but rather simply did not want to carry around two phones. According to the New York Times, investigators believe that Clinton’s email archive contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” Nevertheless, the Justice Department appears to be moving to counter any expectation of a criminal investigation against the former Secretary of State under Obama. We have previously discussed the special treatment historically given powerful figures in violating national security rules or practices.

That is if anything a conservative estimate. As I discussed earlier, virtually anything coming out of the office of the Secretary of State would be considered classified as a matter of course. I have had a TS/SCI clearance since Reagan due to my national security work and have lived under the restrictions imposed on email and other systems. The defense is that this material was not technically classified at the time that it was sent. Thus it was not “classified” information. The problem is that it was not reviewed and classified because it was kept out of the State Department system. Moreover, most high-level communications are treated as classified and only individually marked as classified when there is a request for disclosure. You do not generate material as the Secretary of State and assume that it is unclassified. You are supposed to assume and treat it as presumptively classified. Otherwise, there would be massive exposure of classified material and willful blindness as to the implications of the actions of persons disregarding precautions. For example, there is not a person standing next to the President with a classification stamp in the Oval Office. However, those communications are deemed as presumptively classified and are not disclosed absent review. Under the same logic, the President could use a personal email system because his text messages by definition are not marked as classified. This is the whole reason that Clinton and others were told to use the protected email system run by the State Department. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to secure such systems.

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgThe Justice Department has confirmed that it has a request for an inquiry and I fail to see any basis upon which it would not open an investigation. This is a major escalation and will make it more difficult for Clinton to maintain the past spin on the scandal as a purely political hatchet job.

It will also make Clinton’s order to destroy thousands of emails even more problematic. Those emails might now be considered to be potential evidence of a crime like destroying classified papers that you improperly brought home and than insisting that you judged them to be unclassified. The investigation could also expose her aides to criminal questioning under the threat of 18 U.S.C. 1001. That could lead to disclosure of what they were told and what they saw in the emails. It also means that the continued refusal of Clinton to turn over the server will be increasingly difficult to maintain.

As impressive as this exclusive statement is for the Times, there is a controversy over changes made at the request of the Clinton campaign that were not disclosed. Politico is reporting that the Clinton campaign insisted on a change of a line that read that the inspector generals asked for an investigation “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.” That was changed to “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.” The headline was also changed from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.” Both changes are obviously designed to give Clinton a little deniability as to her own role and accountability. However, she has never denied being fully aware that she was electing to circumvent the State Department account for her communications. Indeed, she has indicated that it was a conscious decision based on her earlier views of convenience and multiple phones. Her repeatedly claim that she was never subject to a subpoena has been described as false by media like CNN after it was disclosed that she had indeed been given a subpoena for the emails.

If there is an investigation, this means that Clinton will have to continue much of her campaign facing a possible criminal indictment and subject to questioning from investigators. It will also mean that media will be hard pressed to ignore the story or accept the past soundbites on convenience or political motivations. It also means that, while Clinton has described the release of the emails as “kind of fun,” it is about to get a lot less fun.

205 thoughts on “State Department and Intelligence Agencies Ask For An Investigation in the Clinton Email Scandal”

  1. How dare you call a set of actions a “scandal” when an investigation has begun to find out whether it is a scandal. In my book the word for that is “prejudice” derived from per-judging.

    1. Dieter Heymann – the actions of Hillary Clinton and her minions to keep their emails out of the State Dept server is a scandal all in its own. Any investigation will be to see if criminal charges are in order.

  2. Patriot (@musicman27103) … how do you do it? Such persistant anti-semitism is almost laughable. What is it, exactly, that you have against Jews? Given there are less than 16 Million worldwide? Among multiple millions of others? A mere 8 million, or less, in Israel proper. I live in a neaighborhood of 30,000+ Muslims who do NOT have your mind set, albiet some discontent…so how do you do it? You are truly an amazing troll. As I said how and why do you do it? Dementia? What?

  3. Squeeky,


    “Ooohh. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

    For every action there is a reaction. In that reaction are unintended consequences. The future is not knowable or accurately predictable.

    Free markets are self-correcting.

    Minimum wages set by government adversely affect businesses and cause inflation that hurts everyone, especially people on fixed incomes.

    Your fatal sympathy is contagious and must be inoculated against. America is not a communist dictatorship or a theocracy. Self-destructive “sympathy” is not mandated, it is optional charity. False and fatal sympathy needs to be confined to the church.

    No human will ever beat Mr. Market.

    No human will ever beat Mr. Market.

  4. Olly …

    Is there anyone here that believes government employees should be allowed to use private email accounts and servers for government business outside of direct management, oversight and accountability?

    As a retired DOD/SA employee as well as a formerly uniformed individual, I have to say “NO” … all offical busines should be over government servers. Personal email accounts may be okay for personal comments after hours, but while on duty, nope….and never for offical business. You can use government servers for personal comments, sans “classification” anotation in the subject line, when you wish if it involves no offical information…e.g., command authorized. Now that I am retired, even though I consult now and then, I must use “Aridog” as my server ( and it does not impede my conversation a bit. You work for the government, you work for the people, and you need to abide the laws of those people. Period. The rest, however framed, is BS. Hillary is 100% BS.

    Full disclosure: I only used a private and unrevealed server for whistleblowing and nothing else. In that instance(s) it was necessary. Now, long past the citical date, anyone who wants that private info is welcome to it. Ask and I wil provide it. Maybe. 🙂

  5. Squeeky,

    “To pay someone less than what it takes for them to live, means that the taxpayers have to pick up the difference, or we have people living in the streets like in third world countries.”

    Have you toured any “downtown” recently? The third world sick, lame and lazy are funded by the taxpayer. In San Francisco et al. these parasites are given “sanctuary” because the “freak show” “rainbow” crowd refuses no voters – even illegal and fraudulent voters (they’re busy cooking the frog*). Maybe we should pass a law to take care of every last person in Bangladesh or East Timor because we can’t control our inner, sympathetic bleeding-heart-liberal. How about assuming a ton of guilt for every ant we step on as we go down this mysterious and mystical path called life. Seriously. I’m going to —-!

    “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

    Once you let the genie out of the bottle, you’ll never get him back in. You let Karl Marx into your head and you’ll never get him out (without a Herculean effort).

    The communists have subverted America incrementally. *It’s the frog jumping out of the hot water scenario. The communists put the American frog in cold water and heated it slowly. America is now fully cooked.

    Free or slave.

    Either people are free and required to live with the consequences of freedom or the government dictates every aspect of people’s lives. People are at that point now. A complete collectivist takeover of people’s lives. People were free and taking care of themselves for maybe 200,000 years before communism.

    Central Planning, Control of the Means of Production, Social Engineering and Redistribution of Wealth are Communist Principles not American Freedom and Free Enterprise. Markets set prices and wages. The Founders provided freedom to “pursue happiness” not live off the taxpayer. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” It is the duty of parents, not the taxpayers, to teach their children how to survive.

    Redistribution or welfare attracts people from third world countries and makes them the taxpayers burden. America is not a theocracy and “keeping your brother” is not an American law or a law of physics. In fact, the only law that bears here is the law of the “survival of the fittest.” Charity is honorable and usually found at the back of the local church.

    Free enterprise produces maximum efficiency through competition.

    “Let the best man for the job do the job.”

    Markets are self-correcting and human interference is deleterious.

    The American Founders established limited government to facilitate free enterprise.

    The Founders established the “utility of the currency” – gold-backed.

    No human being will ever outperform Mr. Market.

    Charity is free enterprise, not a function of constitutional government.

  6. Byron,

    “I don’t know about you but personally I think progressive ideas are nothing but —- and —-.”

    You will find those “progressive” ideas in the Communist Manifesto. They are not “progressive” ideas. That is a “red herring.” Those are Karl Marx’s ideas.

    There’s the rub. The Supreme Court was given the mission of preserving the American thesis of freedom and self-reliance. The executive and legislative branches were to be brought back onto the track of freedom and self-reliance by the Supreme Court.

    Lincoln should have been thrown in jail for suspending Habeas Corpus and his entire “Reign of Terror” not taken place. All forms of “redistribution of wealth” should have been struck down based on limited government and private property rights. The bias that is affirmative action should never have seen the light of day outside of the “social engineering” mandated by the Communist Manifesto. The incoherent newspeak cum contradictions in terms, of “illegal aliens,” “homosexual marriage,” “Fair Housing,” “minority rule,” “hate crime,” “state means federal and federal means state,” etc. are all oxymoronic with an exponent; frivolous and unworthy of governmental action. Election fraud by “immigration” has been and is an extant democrat election strategy and the “justice” of the Supreme court is blind to it.

    The Supreme Court is the singular American failure.

  7. Squeaky:

    So you’re a fascist?

    I don’t think you understand Rand, she is all for labor making as much as it can. And it would in a good economy based on sound free market principles. Just look at the Dakota oil fields, they’re paying high wages for McDonald’s employees and six figures for truck drivers and other semiskilled jobs.

    Your comment on African-Americans is disgusting. African-Americans have been hit the hardest by this socialist BS.

  8. SWM, I am having PTSD over Sister Marguerite, a demanding and superb English teacher. I had a problem w/ adjectives and adverbs. She drilled into me the proper construction. If I said I was a “retired voter” she would ask, “Nicholas, have you retired from voting? It is our civic duty to never retire from voting, although retiring from our career is a worthy goal.”

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