Clinton Reportedly To Turn Over Server To the Justice Department After Months of Demands From Congress

170px-Msc2011_dett-clinton_0298After months of refusing demands to turn over her personal email server, Hillary Clinton has agreed to do so. The server will be turned over to the Justice Department as part of the investigation into her use of a private email account as Secretary of State. It was also disclosed that at least two emails on the unsecured server were classified “Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information” — one of the government’s highest classifications. Some of the information is reportedly linked to NSA/satellite intelligence and the Inspector General says that there was material that was classified at the time it was sent over the unsecured server.

We have been following the story as it has transformed from a purely political to a potentially criminal matter. While Clinton has insisted that there was nothing classified on her email system and that any dispute is just a bureaucratic squabble “between agencies” the classification of many of these emails is no surprise to many of us who regularly deal with classified material. The classification of these emails will likely reignite demands for Clinton to turn over the server and raise the question of those thousands of emails that Clinton’s aides unilaterally deleted before turning over emails to the government. The classification level however of most of these messages are at the lowest level of such designations.

Clinton continues to stress that she did not send or receive any material marked classified. I have previously discussed why that explanation is less than compelling, particularly for anyone who has handled sensitive or classified material. 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.

Clinton portrayed the dispute as entirely removed from her controversial decision to use a personal server — a move that gave her total control of the server and ultimately allowed her staff to delete thousands of emails before turning over emails to the State Department: “They can fight over it or argue over it. That’s up to them. I can tell you what the facts are.”

Dozens of emails have now been declared classified. Clinton’s refusal to turn over the server has become more and more problematic, even for some of her supporters on the Hill. The FBI recently contacted her counsel, David Kendall, regarding three thumb drives believed to contain classified material. What is particularly interesting is the statement from Senator Grassley this week that the inspector general of the nation’s intelligence community had reported that at least four emails were classified when they were sent and two were TS/SCI classified. That would directly contradict Clinton’s position and would fuel questions about the tens of thousands of emails that Clinton reportedly ordered deleted rather than turn over to the State Department.

The inspector general for the intelligence community reportedly told Congress that potentially hundreds of classified emails are among the cache that Clinton provided to the State Department.

sullivanIn the meantime, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has issued an order to the State Department to ask Clinton, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills not to destroy any emails. Neither Abedin nor Mills provided a certification under penalty of perjury as Sullivan had requested in an earlier order. Some sites have reported that attorneys for Mills had indicated that she was going to delete copies of emails. A letter from her counsel quoted in the filing stated “Ms. Mills does not believe that she has paper copies of potential records in her possession. Following our production on August 10, 2015 [of the defense counsel’s version of the electronic records], we have instructed her to delete any and all electronic records in her possession.” Presumably, the State Department will convey the request of the Court to Mills’ counsel and no deletions or further deletions will occur.

With these developments, it is not a surprise to see the two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination objecting the delay in any debates with Clinton and the limitation of the number of those debates. Supporters for Martin O’Malley and fellow candidate Bernie Sanders have objected to what they see as a process shaped by Clinton supporters in the highest ranks of the party. The thought of Clinton being pulled into a debate in the midst of this scandal is clearly not something that the campaign would want. There is also a clear desire to limit the number and exposure of the debates.

It is interesting to see the different approaches of the parties. The GOP has more debates expected and a far larger and more diverse pool of candidates. Many democrats and independents seem to be chaffing at the limited choices in the Democratic race and the view of Clinton (and Bush on the GOP side) as favorites in another Clinton-Bush contest. With all of these political and legal elements, this campaign is proving a bit less predictable than forecasted by political commentators.

88 thoughts on “Clinton Reportedly To Turn Over Server To the Justice Department After Months of Demands From Congress”

    1. The FBI is reporting it should able to recover some data from Hillary’s computer. I am sure there are a number of people changing their pants as I write this.

      1. “The FBI is reporting it should able to recover some data from Hillary’s computer. I am sure there are a number of people changing their pants as I write this.”

        On msnbc tonight there was a talking head remarking that with 10s of thousands of deletions there might have been a few errors with the implication that those politicians we hear so much about will probably try to make a big deal of it …. hmmm do ya think?

        If Clinton’s apologists are already floating ‘maybe a few mistakes were made’ I am going to guess thee must be a significant number of files that have been or will be recovered.

  1. Just saw a clip of Clinton on msnbc saying, in reference to the emails, that she was not going to get down in the mud on issues of national security and the issue was just political. She offered turning over 55,000 pages of email as an example of her cooperation. Just unpack that a minute. She had searchable digital copies of 55,000 pages of emails and to cooperate she printed out and turned over 55,000 paper pages of emails. If this is her idea of cooperation, I am grateful for the sake of the nation she did not decide to refuse to cooperate.

    I think her statements demonstrate she is not only one of her generations great political talents but also one of the nations greatest humorist of all time. Lorne Michaels where are you. That clip really had the hallmarks of some of the truly great moments on SNL. Do you think it would be funnier if we had Clinton hosting, or Meryl Streep reprising the material I saw tonight?

  2. Once federal digital records are out of USG IT control they can and will be everywhere….like cats let out of a bag. That said, federal IT folks could do a better job with security IMO. I wonder what kept Obama from whacking her when she plainly flagrantly disobeyed his orders, more than once in fact.

    1. “. I wonder what kept Obama from whacking her when she plainly flagrantly disobeyed his orders, more than once in fact.”

      Diversionary force? What ever else Clinton does, she draws plenty of fire from the enemy. Without Clinton what ever would keep all those house committees occupied?

  3. I know how to “wipe” a disk completely…it involves an acetylene torch, a sheet metal break, a metal shear, and a nice 9 lb hammer. Blammo…it be gone. Then look at folks with your best deer in the headlights stare and ask, who me? Whot?

    Yeah I also know how to “wipe” a disk with software, up to 9 times overwrite, etc…but why take the chance the next guy looking hasn’t better software?

  4. FBI has said, preliminarily, that the HDD’s are “blank.” Told you so. One way to assure that is to simply remove the original HDD’s and physically destroy them, replacing them with new HDD’s that have operating system only. I’m betting that was the process. I’d also bet every bit of info is on a large capacity thumb drive(s) somewhere….no one really thinks only the attorney had one do they? Clinton tactic: deny, quibble, hide, deny, quibble, hide, deny, quibble…whoops here comes the blue dress & DNA.

  5. Server turned over. Okay. I won’t be surprised if it contains one or two (If RAID Array 1 or higher set up) totally blank hard disk drives except for the operating systems. The thumb drive her lawyer had, why of course it hasn’t been copied…and I’m going to win the Lotto this week too. You betcha…. 😀

    1. @Aridog: ” I won’t be surprised if it contains one or two (If RAID Array 1 or higher set up) totally blank hard disk drives except for the operating systems.”

      What do you bet the drive or drives have been wiped?

      Simply deleting the files would leave open the possibility that much of the data in the deleted files could be recovered.

      Wiping a drive involves repetitively writing various patterns of 1 and 0s into all sectors of the drive making it impossible to recover any information from the deleted files.

      There might be many reasons why one would delete files.

      There is only one reason to wipe a drive – to assure that no one can ever recover any information regarding the contents of the deleted files. Why would anyone want to do that?

      We don’t know that Clinton and her staff wiped the drive in question. But it will be interesting to see what examination of the server drives reveals. I can’t wait for the results. And yes I do have a view on this matter – I am already imagining explanations from the Clinton staff regarding the condition of the drives.

  6. The “Clinton Crime Family” is but the tip of the iceberg.

    The Constitutional mechanism for enforcement is impeachment.

    This enforcement tool is almost never used. Common law is enforced hourly.

    Corruption and subversion persist with impunity in the absence of impeachment.

    Impeachment should be commensurate with the number of “High crimes and Misdemeanors.”

    The Clintons have consistently perpetrated “High crimes and Misdemeanors” throughout their careers.

    The Supreme Court has done the same, most recently with its abominable criminal commingling of the definitions of the words “state” and “federal.”

    Giving standing and the rights of citizenship to invaders as criminal foreign citizen, illegal aliens in “sanctuary” cities and states is an egregious constitutional violation as nullification, treason and subversion and is the highest of “High crimes and Misdemeanors” requiring impeachment, conviction and criminal prosecution. The Governor of California and officials in San Francisco, for example, should have been impeached long ago.

    The impeachment tool must be employed against all “High crimes and Misdemeanors” beginning with the Supreme Court.

    Beware those who refuse to impeach the likes of the Supreme Court. Impeachment must be used against those who refuse to impeach. They are aiding and abetting nullification, treason and subversion.

    Long impeachment lines should persist, at the steps of the Capital, for the metaphorical “guillotines” of the French Revolution.

    The Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights do not say, “do anything you want.” Government is limited and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are unpreambular and unconstitutional.

    One ponders why each and every one of the principles of communism exist in America today.

    The fault begins with the Supreme Court which has decided for the Communist Manifesto and against the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Private property rights have precluded any and all forms of redistribution of wealth since 1789. The Supreme Court knows the government has absolutely no authority to take private property from one man and give private property to another, even while it imposes taxation for usual and traditional governmental operations (police, courts, water, roads, post office, infrastructure, military, etc.).

    There is a lack of enforcement of the Preamble, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    A complete dearth of impeachment.

  7. Isaac ANY GOP president world be better than this clinton mess and would bail is out of this mess that two terms of mr. obama has caused. Biden or any other democrat wingnut would surely mean disaster. Obama put the US in the toilet, and any of your liberal kooks would surely flush it if elected.

  8. The Intercept has some interesting remarks concerning the difference in treatment of Clinton and other individuals regarding handling of classified or presumptively classified material:

    In part they tell us:

    “When it comes to low-level government employees with no power, the Obama administration has purposely prosecuted them as harshly as possible to the point of vindictiveness: It has notoriously prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 for improperly handling classified information than all previous administrations combined.

    NSA whistleblower Tom Drake, for instance, faced years in prison, and ultimately had his career destroyed, based on the Obama DOJ’s claims that he “mishandled” classified information (it included information that was not formally classified at the time but was retroactively decreed to be such). Less than two weeks ago, “a Naval reservist was convicted and sentenced for mishandling classified military materials” despite no “evidence he intended to distribute them.” Last year, a Naval officer was convicted of mishandling classified information also in the absence of any intent to distribute it.

    In the light of these new Clinton revelations, the very same people who spent years justifying this obsessive assault are now scampering for reasons why a huge exception should be made for the Democratic Party front-runner. Fascinatingly, one of the most vocal defenders of this Obama DOJ record of persecution has been Hillary Clinton herself.”

    Apparently when it comes to prosecuting lapses in handling of classified material two of the most important considerations are pay scale and political connection.

  9. What is particularly damning to Ms Clinton is that in 2009, the regulations tightened on using personal email. In fact, Hillary sent out a message to all State employees that they were prohibited from using private email for State business.

    “The FBI visited the computer company in Denver that sold the Clinton’s the server yesterday. They may have ALL the emails backed up.” Nick – that would solve a lot of problems. I wonder if that company will have a mysterious break in or hack that will coincidentally remove that data.

    I wonder if they will be able to recover anything from the physical server. She deleted the emails, and then wiped the entire server clean. I wonder if she replaced the server with a new one.

  10. Trump’s wife Melana was on television last night. Holy Cow! What a Fox! I would vote for Trump just to have this woman on the news every day. Trump is one guy who has no reason to cheat. Not like Bill. There wont be a Monica in the Trump White House. I vote early and often because I am a blind guy guide dog and I pull the lever at the voting booth– for several blind guys.

  11. Same comment scenario here as on the amnesty post. I agree with the majority or the moderator and it’s fine. The minute one dissents, the “civility” code changes….

  12. “Secretary of State John Kerry said that Chinese and Russian hackers are probably reading his emails — and he writes messages assuming they are.”

    I fully expect Clinton will take this opening that John Kerry provided and use it to justify her “secure” server as the only reliable way for her to “securely” perform her duties. She was claim she was actually “risking” her own future for the sake of national security. If elected President, she will go above and beyond any of our previous administrations to ensure government communications are secured against international hacking.

  13. The Talking Points:

    In her message to Clinton supporters, Palmieri argued that the email controversy was “complicated” but that the former secretary of state did nothing wrong. She stressed that Clinton did not send or receive any material marked classified at the time but said some messages may have been retroactively classified.

    “What makes it complicated: It’s common for information previously considered unclassified to be upgraded to classified before being publicly released,” Palmieri said. “Some emails that weren’t secret at the time she sent or received them might be secret now. And sometimes government agencies disagree about what should be classified, so it isn’t surprising that another agency might want to conduct its own review, even though the State Department has repeatedly confirmed that Hillary’s emails contained no classified information at the time she sent or received them.”

    Read more:


    “The IC IG found four emails containing classified IC-derived information in a limited sample of 40 emails of the 30,000 emails provided by former Secretary Clinton. The four emails, which have not been released through the State FOIA process, did not contain classification markings and/or dissemination controls. These emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today. This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”

    1. The remarks indicate they found 4 classified emails in a sample of 40. I wonder if 10% of approximately thirty thousand emails contained classified information at the time they were sent?

      This cannot be good news for Clinton or the nation. I wonder how much more news like this the Teflon reputation of Clinton can take?

  14. If we have another Clinton topic on the blog can we forego the photos? Jeso she is ugly. She must pull out now like Nixon should have. We need someone else. Someone of stature. Not some ugly pug. By pug I do not mean a pug dog by any means.

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