The snowball rolling down the mountain that is the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal keeps getting bigger. She has now admitted to receiving classified information after originally denying that she ever sent or received classified information on her private e-mail. She has justified it by saying they were not originally “marked classified.”
Regardless, there are multiple problems with her reasoning. The first is that the State Department’s Inspector General disputes this claim. Second, some information she possessed, sent, and received, is classified by default regardless of whether or not it is marked “classified.” For example, Reuters points out that information automatically classified includes information a foreign government tells the US government in confidence. Reuters also explains:
Details included in those “Classified” stamps — which include a string of dates, letters and numbers describing the nature of the classification — appear to undermine this account, a Reuters examination of the emails and the relevant regulations has found.
A third problem with this logic is that it assumes the American people are stupid enough to believe that the Secretary of State never sent or received originally classified information. Are we supposed to believe that the Secretary of State never possessed any classified information on issues relating Iran, Iraq, Russia, China, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, or Libya, among other things? Does Hillary expect us to believe that America’s top diplomat never possessed classified information leading up to the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, where she was a huge proponent of that war?
The Associated Press has also reported that State Department officials used e-mails to discuss in real time the movement of the Libyan terrorists and locations of key American personnel during the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi. It is hard to believe the head of the American foreign relations apparatus would not give or receive classified information when an American diplomatic facility was under attack.
Other moments of Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State include the so called “Arab Spring,” the rise of the Iranian Green Movement in 2009, the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, Obama’s “red line” in Syria, the scrapping of the missile defense arrangement in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the 2009 North Korean nuclear test. It is hard to believe that the head of the State Department never possessed originally classified information about these and or other matters.
Hillary Clinton has also dismissed criticism as nothing more than inter-agency arguments. Once again, there is a problem with her reasoning. In 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13526. EO 13526 stated that only the original classifying organization can declassify any piece of classified information. If an agency wants to appeal they can only appeal to the Information Security Oversight Office or the President. In layman’s terms Hillary and the State Department have no authority to determine what is and what is not classified if it originated outside the State Department.
It doesn’t help Clinton’s case that the company her server was handed over to stored their servers in a bathroom closet. With the FBI now looking at possible violations of the Espionage Act, it’s going to be difficult for Hillary to spin away the scandal by claiming this is all part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.