Federal Judge Says Hillary Clinton Violated Government Policy In Using Personal Server While Secretary of State

170px-Msc2011_dett-clinton_0298sullivanHillary Clinton has insisted throughout the ongoing email scandal on two points repeated as a virtual mantra: there was no classified material sent on her unsecured personal email system and she was in total compliance with the law. I have questioned both points and noted that she is really saying that no “marked” classified material was sent (a less than compelling argument) and she is speaking of federal criminal laws as opposed to the clear official policy not to use such personal servers. It appears clear that some of this material was indeed classified and, as I discussed this week on NPR, the policy against doing what she did was clear and strong at the time of her tenure at State. Now, United States District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has weighed in with comments this week that Clinton clearly did violate State Department policy and that violation caused much of the difficulty in retrieving her communications while in office.

What is now clear is that Clinton used her personal server exclusively (something that is extremely rare) and that she conducted official business of State over the unsecured system (including the transmission of material now deemed 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. As Secretary, Clinton received the highest level of intelligence and there is always a concern that second generation discussions will be influenced or reveal such information. That is why State Department people are asked to conduct official business on the secure system. 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.

The policy referenced by the Court was evident in a communication that out under Clinton’s name to all State Department employees that warned them to “[a]void conducting official Department business from your personal email accounts.” There is also a 2005 department manual covering the transmitting of information that is “sensitive but unclassified.” The manual said that department-related email should go through servers authorized by the department.

In the latest hearing on the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Judge Sullivan noted “We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government policy.” The Court noted that the failure to comply with clear policies had complicated the State Department’s ability to respond to requests for records. He further ordered the server (which was only recently turned over by Clinton after months of refusal) to be examined for any response emails. That server was reportedly wiped clean before it was turned over by Clinton staff members though it may be possible for some of the material to be retrieved.

The Justice Department and State Department have been opposing all efforts to secure the information. Justice Department lawyer Peter Wechsler argued that the open records law normally doesn’t allow for searches of government officials’ private accounts, but Judge Sullivan said that this was a different situation because “there was a violation of government policy” and “We’re not talking about a search of anyone’s random email.”

In the FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch is seeking records about the employment arrangements of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who served Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department but later moved to a part-time position while also doing private consulting work.

A tense moment arose when Wechsler said he did not know whether the FBI was actually in possession of Clinton’s server or thumb drives. “You’re a Justice Department attorney?….You can’t tell me? . . . I need to get an answer . . . We’re tiptoeing on the head of a pin because there’s only one government.”

141 thoughts on “Federal Judge Says Hillary Clinton Violated Government Policy In Using Personal Server While Secretary of State”

  1. Paul Schulte:

    You must not have read the article “What does Hillary Clinton have in common with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden” by Jay Stanley on 8-21-15 at http://www.ACLU.org.

    In that article it points out that Clinton criticized Snowden (who was on the receiving end of this out of control overclassification system) and now ended up on the receiving end herself. The article was pointing out the hypocracy of Clinton in a very civil manner.

    Ironically Edward Snowden (and most of his critics including Clinton) took a “supreme” loyalty oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution as a condition of holding any authority over any citizen. When Snowden witnessed his supervisors betraying that oath he “legally” blew the whistle. So-called “Top Secret” and “Classified” labels must still operate within constitutional boundaries, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are not above the U.S. Constitution (a wartime charter designed to be followed during wartime).

    Article VI of the U.S. Constitution makes the U.S. Constitution the “supreme law of the land” and makes every government official take an oath to uphold it at the federal, state and local levels.

    That is really what this non-sense is all about, as all these government officials investigate one another they are straying farther from the constitutional rule of law and their own oath of office. Executive Branch officials are exploiting partisanship to grab more power “out-of-bounds” of the U.S. Constitution – that’s why the FBI (executive branch agency) is not investigating John Ashcroft’s constitutional abuses and why judges aren’t overturning unconstitutional “ex post facto” laws (listed in Article I) passed by Congress and signed by Bush after 9/11.

    The great article by Jay Stanley was attempting to promote the constitutional “rule of law” instead of a “rule of man” model government used by banana republics and despots.

    Other whistleblowers

    1. Ross – to be perfectly honest I do not read anything written by the ACLU. However, if your synopsis of the article is correct, I agree with it. Snowden is a traitor and should get the electric chair. Hillary can sit on his lap.

  2. Hear, hear!

    In my opinion, Jeffery Toobin is never objective and always subjective in his service to CNN, not the law, and he is wrong most of the time for that reason.

    Indoctrination as “news” is the incoherent “newspeak” presented in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – the essence of Jeffery Toobin.

  3. It has been reported, when sworn into office, officials and employees are given training on handling security issues and documentation. There is NO excuse after that training. Every one of these people is put on notice and trained. Either they act deliberately legally or deliberately illegally from that point forward.

  4. This classification spin is horse manure to anyone who has ever had a security clearance and dealt w/ classified material. JT and a commenter her Aridog have spoken about it. But the trolls keep throwing it out there. Desperate and lame, in that order.

    Toobin is an idiot. He is wrong most of the time.

  5. Great article by Jeffrey Toobin at “The New Yorker” making the point that the government overclassifies everything so it’s nearly impossible to comply with the rules since the vast majority of things shouldn’t be classified in the first place.

    Another great article at http://www.ACLU.org written by Jay Stanley titled “What Hillary has in common with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden” – a very fair assessment that includes criticisms as well.

    1. Ross – running a private server out of your house is not even trying to comply. Really, how much of an apologist for Hillary can you be?

  6. It will be interesting to see if the vile wretch will be able to “charm” her way out of this mess.

    Unfortunately, the succubus has already had plenty of experience in doing just that!

    1. Michael S Goodman – 29 days to the next status reports due, then 15 days to the next hearing. Then I expect to see a judicial order for depositions.

  7. Seriously, DBQ, you don’t remember the missing emails with Karl baby Rove and the Hatch Act, Record Act and all that? Maybe someone has erased your memory. You should have it checked.

    I will admit, I was off by a factor of eleven–it was 22 million missing emails, not 2. Let’s start with this, and if you need more you can Google “how to use Google”:


    “They won’t let me post more than two links, otherwise I would have put up more.

    Here’s a starter kit on the 2004 election fraud in Ohio…remember Kenny Blackwell?

  8. Please check my math on this, but she was in office for 37 months. Figuring an average of 30 days per month, she was in office for 1170 days. She generated 30000 non-governmental emails. That’s 25 non-governmental emails a day off her account. What the hell was she emailing about?

  9. SWM, Hillary is sweating through her pant suits like James Brown doing a concert. Her people just announced she’s leaving her $100,000/week vacation palace in the Hamptons to come here to the heartland and do what she does so well, press the flesh w/ genuine warmth and empathy. LOL! You know Bill loves the plan, he can fill that house w/ teenage girls while she’s gone.

    Here’s what I see as a possibility. Warren will say she promised the Queen she wouldn’t run for Prez, but said nothing about VP. Plagiarizing Joe says he will only run for one term, paving the way for your girl, Pocahantas in 2020. I said a few days ago no predictions but I think this is a possibility.

  10. And State archives communications for public record. If she had not commingled her personal and government emails, then she would not have had to allow the government to review her private emails.

    But she did. And she must have known the implications.

    State requires these emails in order to comply with FOIA and subpoenas.

    I cannot understand why people are crying over her having to follow the rules, including comply with court orders, just like the rest of us would have to.

  11. Anna:

    “Along with what BarkinDog has written here, if Hillary is a government “employee” and the President of the United States is a government “employee” (as some here insist), then not only this judge but all the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are “employees” and so are all the Members of the House and all the Senators.

    So, I would like to see, among others, Trey Gowdy’s emails for the past two years.”

    You’re not getting this, and so are a lot of other people.

    Let me try to do a better job explaining what the problem is:

    1. SOS, like any other government job with security clearance, deals with classified information in communications.
    2. Classified communications, both verbal and written, are strictly controlled (please see the various fam I linked to above, straight from the State website.)
    3. Failure to follow these protocols can and will subject said employee to consequences ranging from disciplinary action, firing, and criminal prosecution. (Please see Petraeus info I linked to above in which he was fined $100,000 and got 2 years probation for a far milder offense than Hillary perpetrated)
    4. The reason why classified information is guarded so closely is because of hacking, espionage, and innocent collateral damage when such information gets out to the wrong hands (i.e. when President Obama released classified information on how we got Bin Laden via a doctor who was vaccinating the public, and that doctor was imprisoned and tortured, and now polio is on the rise in the area because they won’t vaccinate now).
    5. She defied a subpoena by not releasing relevant emails regarding Benghazi
    6. She demanded special treatment above the law by not going through the exit interview in which she hands State 2 piles, one for “me” and one for “you” and they determine if they agree or not
    7. Her use of a private server left classified information vulnerable to hackers, etc.
    8. She was caught lying again (about getting a subpoena, having classified info in emails, etc)
    9. She wiped her server clean knowing it was gong to be investigated

    Look, if she wore casual dress on Monday instead of Casual Friday, I could care less. But since people get prosecuted for doing far lesser actions, it bothers all of us that she is, once again, above the law.

    Doesn’t it bother you that a politician was being investigated, and she deleted the relevant 30,000 emails, wiped her server clean, and basically said, “What are you going to do about it?”

    Because it sure bothers me.

  12. Paul said:

    “how much is Hillary paying you. I will change sides if she pays me enough.”

    This is a fairly accurate illustration of the whole affair. Politicians are bought and sold by oligarchs and in turn, together, they buy and sell adherents. Right now the disgruntled are being offered Clinton to placate their agony of being ineffectual. Wait until the dust settles and what really happened is ascertained in its gravity. That’s how the midget cowboy and his handlers were dealt with. Now, after enough time has transpired to see the damage they made, they are recognized as America’s greatest shame to date.

    The Republicans have been the most treasonous group of politicians ever experienced by this country. Not only did they support what is now seen as factually the worst and most shameful administration in American history but they fought tooth and nail at every turn, Obama who has, in spite of the treasonous actions of the Republicans, managed to salvage enough to put the country back on track. The Republican party held the country hostage by shutting down the government to get their own way. If it had worked it would have been a political coup but it didn’t and it goes down in history for what it was, treason.

    That this country is a mess politically as well as economically and returning to the class structure that it fought against initially promotes all the anger the Republicans need. They then spin it to focus on every thing except themselves. If you want a clear picture of where the danger lies just take a look at Trump, Walker, Bush, Rubio, etc. There has never been a more ridiculous group of contenders since, wait a minute, Sarah Palin. I was going to say Dan Quayle.

    1. issac – calm down. It is too early in the month for your meds to have run out. 😉

  13. Ross – read your cite. What is the result of the case? However, this is nothing to sharing government secrets with an outsider. Like there are good cops and there are bad cops, there is a good DoJ and a bad DoJ. For the State Dept. there is just a bad State Dept. They were not even curious about what was on Hillary’s computer. They never contacted the FBI or the DoJ. The judge has now ORDERED them to make contact.

    1. Ross – thanks for the cite. Will check it out later. About out the door.

  14. Oh look. The liberal collectivist freak show has sent Anna out to make a fool of herself trying to “defend” the indefensible. Next thing you know she’ll be telling us that “state” means “federal” and “federal” means “state.”

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word is is,” right?

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” What the hell those Ten Commandments are obsolete and outmoded just like the American founding documents, right? Those pesky MEN wrote them anyway. Besides, while I hate that “glass ceiling,” I just LOVE affirmative action.

    “I am somewhat of a bull——- myself, but occasionally I like to listen to a REAL professional. Please, do carry on.”

    You might like to look into this CNN article:


    Vice President Joe Biden met privately with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday in his residence at the Naval Observatory, CNN has learned, another sign he is seriously deciding whether to jump into the Democratic presidential race.


    How about this one?

    Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III found:

    Most seriously, the Inspector General assessed that Clinton’s emails included information that was highly classified—yet mislabeled as unclassified. Worse, the information in question should have been classified up to the level of “TOP SECRET//SI//TK//NOFORN,” according to the Inspector General’s report…In short: Information at the “TOP SECRET//SI//TK//NOFORN” level is considered exceptionally highly classified and must be handled with great care under penalty of serious consequences for mishandling. Every person who is cleared and “read on” for access to such information signs reams of paperwork and receives detailed training about how it is to be handled, no exceptions—and what the consequences will be if the rules are not followed.

    After extensive training on handling sensitive material when taking office, this must be criminal behavior or gross incompetence on the part of the Secretary of State of the United States of America.

    Let’s pick one.

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