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. nick S, The fact is the story the NYT ran was incorrect. A lot of other outlets picked up the untrue story and ran with it….not fair whether it involves Clinton or anyone else.

  2. On CSPAN: Architects and Engineers Explain Why 9/11 was a Controlled Demolition Event

    Interview with architect Richard Gage representing 2200 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
    U.S. Governments / Courts / Media are Covering Up Evidence of this Mass Murder and Maiming
    They are complicit. This issue exposes the wide and deep corruption of the governments, courts and media

  3. SWM, Good to see you. It is interesting that you make a comment or two defending Lady Macbeth and then show your real thoughts and hope for others to run. Smart people like yourself need to stop defending the Clintons. They are cancerous and need to be excised. You know that.

  4. The context in the Condi Rice case was she was alleged to have been both an accessory before and after-the-fact in destroying an innocent citizen in retaliation for Freedom of Speech exercises while working for Exxon Mobil.

  5. If there really was a criminal investigation Clinton should step aside and let Warren or Biden run, but since there isn’t it is business as usual. btw Rick Perry is running while under indictment.

  6. We know Israel & American Traitors did 9/11

    A politician’s position on the official 9/11 story is a litmus test
    If he or she states that they believe the official story they are stupid and corrupt
    The state of Israel, Zionist Jews are the Enemies of any real American

  7. randyjet,
    I expect my 7 year old to make that sort of argument. Why not just hold your breath? Stopping a practice that is a threat to national security is hardly political. Using your logic, airport security should be ignored until we prosecute those responsible for enabling the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

  8. Post 9/11 Americans that were blacklisted emailed Condi Rice at the U.S. State Department simply asking for an official apology to repair the defamation damages of the illegal Bush policies – let’s see thise emails!

  9. randyjetClinton singled herself out by talking too much. Better she’d just said nothing regarding classified documents…as I’ve said (and can prove easily with past & current examples) all USG emails are annotated as such…and the IG has found 4 that she received out of a small sample of 40, how many more in 58,000 pages? And why print out 58k pages when a simple CD or DVD would have sufficed? Easy answer: to make it harder to review. She’s too cute by half and derserves her next problem….certainly no less that that of Gen Petraeus. It is the same old same old “blue dress” thing…lie until you can’t. I feel no pity for her and would be delighted to see her defend herself in court.

    PS: No politician can succeed without the ability to talk to people, any people, all people…and she just can’t do it….almost seems to have a constipated grimace when trying. Saying I didn’t do it before evidence was presented, which she had to know was there, for the reasons I’ve cited previously, is a fools game.

  10. JT Says…” It will also mean that media will be hard pressed to ignore the story or accept the past soundbites on convenience or political motivations.” LOL


    Surely you jest! The media factually report on the Clintons? It has taken me 5 minutes to write just this one sentence because of the laughter I am experiencing. A major point of your article is how the NY Times changed stuff at the behest of the Clinton campaign.

  11. “If she is still using the blackberry protocol the documents are encrypted which are very hard to breach.”

    Would Clinton’s Blackberry phone or app have run through her personal mail server?

    I don’t think we can guess on that. Her system administrators either implemented suitable Blackberry server software or they didn’t.

    Even if she used encryption, which would be a point in her favor, that may not be relevant to the question of whether she violated security.

    Exactly how Clinton broke the law is a good question. At this point it seems clear that some who have a lot more information than presented in this article think there are enough details to request the DOJ step in.

    We know that DOJ and OPM can’t keep hackers out of their systems. What do those well know security issues tell us about the judgement of some one who would choose to send the most important DOS emails through a personal email server?

    Finally, I believe it was CIA Director Deutch who received some very severe finger shaking and a stern admonition to never, never do that again for keeping classified information on his personal, at home computer. Does anyone imagine Clinton will get any worse penalty regardless of what she sent through her personal email server?

  12. I really cannot understand why anyone would attempt to defend Clinton over her use of a private server. It doesn’t matter who it is, we don’t want and cannot have a policy that allows each individual government employee to determine there own information security protocols. This needs to be tightly controlled for national security AND the American people need to know EVERYTHING is archived for our own security from government corruption. If there is any behavior in government that everyone should be united on it is this issue.It is completely irrational to defend Hillary Clinton on this issue. Period.

    1. When the DoJ decides to go after Sec. Powell and Rice, THEN I will join in the call for them to go after Clinton since they did the same. Singling out Clinton is wrong and totally political

      1. “When the DoJ decides to go after Sec. Powell and Rice, THEN I will join in the call for them to go after Clinton since they did the same. Singling out Clinton is wrong and totally political”

        That is interesting. I had not heard that Powell and Rice set up their own e-mail servers.

        So the decisions of IGs, of two agencies, acting during a democratic administration to request DOJ investigate a major democrat is political? Well… anything is possible.

  13. Here is one classified email from Hillary: “The toilet in the embassy in Paris is outrageously filthy.”

    1. Beldar – we do not know which classified emails she destroyed.

  14. Paul, I would put her in the laundry. She’s good @ cleaning Bill’s messes.

  15. @NickS

    Thank you! I think Penelope made a real scoop there getting that lost poem. All the other place can do is post well known pieces by the author, but her people go out and work their butts off to find a major poetic work that nobody ever even knew about. How kewl is that???

    I could do a complete Doctoral thesis on that poem, analyzing all the various word choices and allusions made by Dickey. From the opening line, “So merrily we row along.” the reader is faced with a choice. Do these words reference, “Merrily We Roll Along”, a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, concerning a man who has lost the idealistic values of his youth. Or, are they meant to be reminiscent of “row row row your boat”, nursery song, with it’s imagery of a lullaby, and a gentle voyage to dream land. Or as Wiki notes, the “row, row, row your boat song:

    . . .has been used extensively in popular culture, often to reflect existential questions about reality. Lewis Carroll, in the poem at the end of Through the Looking-Glass, used a variation of “Row, Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, sometimes called A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky. The 1947 Broadway revue Angels in the Wings had an elaboration entitled “The Thousand Islands Song”.[5] Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock sang “Row, Row, Row, Row Your Boat” at the beginning and end of the film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), reflecting issues about the need for self-discovery.[6] In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), the song is used on the soundtrack and by Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) as they try to hide from the memory erasers, reflecting issues of the importance of memory to reality.[7] In Fringe, the character Walter, whilst in a mental institute, remarks that he sometimes hears someone whistling the song but is not sure if it is in fact himself whistling.[8] and later in the same episode refers to his time in the hospital as like being asleep.

    Whichever choice, you end up at the same place of an existential identity crisis. Something innocent and sweet is about to change. Ooops! There I go. Writing a thesis. Sorry. Never mind.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  16. Aridog, If you watch Orange is the New Black, Hillary would be in hog heaven in a women’s prison.

    1. Nick – since Hillary may be going to jail, which job would she have at the prison in Orange is the New Black?

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