July 26, 2016 by C. Mitchell Shaw
After spending more than a year denying — and avoiding indictment for — sending and receiving classified information over her unsecured, private e-mail server, Hillary Clinton still can’t shake the truth. Besides the DNC e-mails that are making waves in the news because they show that the Democratic National Committee violated its own rules to help Clinton win the Democrat presidential nomination, WikiLeaks also released a trove of leaked e-mails from Clinton’s server. Those e-mails prove irrefutably that Clinton sent and received information that was classified at the time.
After announcing last month that the next leak published by his organization would almost certainly lead to a Clinton indictment, Julian Assange has made good on his word. The leaked Clinton e-mails were released before the DNC e-mails, but got pushed aside in the news cycle when police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were murdered as part of the war on police. With the news of the DNC leaks and Clinton’s assured nomination, the Clinton leaks need to be examined and considered.
The e-mails published by WikiLeaks — 23,035 in all — are all from her first year as secretary of state and are all marked “(C)” for “confidential” — a designation for classified information. Clinton held that office for another three years. Assuming her carelessness — and recalcitrance — continued throughout her tenure, she may well have sent and/or received almost 100,000 classified e-mails over her server during her time in office. It is difficult to imagine a greater threat to national security.
FBI Director James Comey may have attempted to sell the line that Clinton did not intend to break the law, but considering the size and scope of her mishandling of sensitive intelligence, it is more than a little hard to swallow what Comey was dishing out. Considering that the Justice Department has prosecuted people for far smaller infractions, it will be interesting to see if — now that the magnitude of Clinton’s crimes is known — Comey will continue to oppose her indictment.
Assange — with an obvious nod toward the irony involved — pointed out in an interview with ITV last month that the Obama administration has prosecuted a number of whistleblowers in recent years. WikiLeaks — which Assange started and continues to run while in exile — relies on whistleblowers, so his bias is easily understood.
While testifying before a House Oversight Committee, Comey was questioned about his assertion that Clinton did not know she was breaking the law because she did not know what a classified marking was. As The Hill reported, Comey answered:
“No, not that she would have no idea what a classified marking would be,” Comey responded. “It’s an interesting question whether she … was actually sophisticated enough to understand what a C in [parentheses] means.”
“You asked me if I would assume someone would know,” he added. “Probably before this investigation, I would have. I am not so sure of that any longer. I think it’s possible — possible — that she didn’t know what a C meant when she saw it in the body of an email like that.”
While the too-stupid-to-know-it-was-criminal defense is not exactly new, it is hardly something one would expect on the resume of a presidential candidate. Besides that, Comey was addressing 113 e-mails he says were classified. Now that it is known that at least23,035 were marked as classified, perhaps Comey will offer the defense that he isn’t qualified for his post either.
Setting aside Comey’s asinine defense of Clinton’s criminal actions based on her supposed ignorance, the fact is that she was not ignorant. Clinton signed two non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) as part of her appointment as secretary of state. Those NDAs spelled out — in language clear enough to be understood even by someone who is not “sophisticated” — her responsibilities and obligations under the law. As this writer reported when the first of those two NDAs came to light:
The NDA signed by Mrs. Clinton on her second day as secretary of state spells out — in language so clear that the meaning of the word “is” is quite unambiguous — her responsibility in handling the sensitive information to which she would have access in her new job. One part reads, “I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Information] by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation.” The agreement goes on to address how Secretary Clinton could be sure she was abiding by the letter and the spirit of the agreement. “I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department … in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control … might be SCI,” the NDA says.
These 23,035 e-mails were marked “(C),” and it was Clinton’s legal responsibility to recognize that. She is, after all, a graduate of law school and was licensed to practice law until 2002. If she truly is that ignorant of the law, should she be running for president?
Here, for example, is the first few paragraphs of one of the documents Clinton received via her unsecured, private e-mail server:
1. (U) This is a PRT Anbar cable.
2. (C) SUMMARY: Tension between the Iraqi Police and the judiciary was on display at the weekly Anbar Operations Command meeting covering security issues. Similar feelings were present at PRToffs meeting with Provincial Chief Judge Mohammed Al-Kubaisi. END SUMMARY.
3. (C) On February 22, PRToff attended the Anbar Operations Command (AOC) weekly security meeting at the Blue Diamond Iraqi Army facility. Staff Major General (sMG) Aziz, appearing vigorous and healthy, chaired the meeting for the first time since his medical treatment in Turkey. Provincial Chief of Police (PCOP) sMG Baha Al-Karkhi, Deputy Governor Hikmat Jasim Zaidan and Investigative Judge (IJ) Ghanim Al-Azawi were also present.
4. (C) The initial interchange at the meeting was characterized by the usual Iraqi Police (IP) complaints of judicial shortcomings and focused on the IP’s inability to find an investigative judge over the weekend to approve warrants. Investigative Judge Ghanim responded that an IJ was always available and that police should “just knock on my door.” He explained that CPA Administrator Paul Bremer had issued an order years earlier requiring a lawyer to be present at the initial appearance of a suspect and said the absence of a lawyer was the real impediment to prosecuting cases. sMG Aziz countered that this law was enacted a long time ago and that terrorist suspects should be treated differently from other criminals since theirs was a special crime against society. He asked that the laws be changed in order to allow detention of terror suspects without a warrant via a streamlined process. IJ Ghanim responded that the existing judicial process was sound and provided a good example of the rule of law to the citizenry.
This writer will admit to not being “sophisticated enough to understand” what much of this document discusses, but then this writer is not secretary of state and has not signed legal forms agreeing that “I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department … in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control … might be” classified. Even with my lack of sophistication, though, a couple of things stand out to me. That “(C)” could only mean a handful of things: (1) It could denote the ordering of paragraphs. But since almost all of the paragraphs are labeled “(C),” that is probably not correct. (2) It could mean that that paragraph is protected by a copyright. Again, since the product of government can’t be copyrighted, that too, is probably not the right answer. (3) I should go ask one of the “appropriate management authorities in the Department” — preferably one who is sufficiently “sophisticated” — what it means just “to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control … might be” classified.
What secretary Clinton did, though was ignore that designation at least 23,035 times in her first year in office alone. And now, she’s running for president.
If Assange is correct and this leak leads to her indictment, it may be that Judge Napolitano’s prediction from earlier this year will come true. At the end of a video about Clinton’s e-mail scandal, he asked, “Don’t you want to know before your nominating process is complete if your likely nominee will be a criminal defendant in the Fall?”