How much of what America’s Secretary Of State does, says and deals with is classified? To hear Hillary Clinton tell it, she virtually never saw a secret, and certainly never sent or received one via e-mail. Of course, the FBI–as far as they can be believed these days–says otherwise, and Hillary begs to differ about their assessment too.
One potential indicator was released Friday afternoon in a traditional Washington DC pre-weekend document dump: the FBI’s notes of their interview with Hillary. About 1/3 of it was redacted, indicating that much was classified at one level or another. This is obviously an imperfect indicator, but if only 1/3 of what Hillary Clinton was responsible for safeguarding was available to our enemies, not only should she be in prison, rational people should not, for a moment, contemplate electing her to any public office.
Today, on the Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released documents on its investigation of Hillary Clinton and her mishandling of email while she was secretary of state. The Friday afternoon data dump is a venerable Washington cliché, a shady way to bury a story that the bureaucracy doesn’t want covered in depth, but even by Beltway standards this was a shocker.
Nobody expected much from the FBI here, given the Bureau’s recent punting on its formal inquiry into Hillary’s dubious activities with her ‘unclassified’ email of bathroom server infamy. I’ve been covering the EmailGate story for over a year, from the beginning, and I too didn’t expect the FBI to reveal much about what Hillary did that was unwise and perhaps criminal.
I’ve read the FBI interview report. Let’s just say they didn’t pursue Clinton with the preparation and fervor one would expect of an agency that bills itself as the finest investigative agency in the world.
But what’s there is awful enough for Team Clinton. Although the FBI’s press release is terse, the documents themselves indelibly portray the Democratic presidential nominee as dishonest, entitled, and thoroughly incompetent.
Considering that Hillary has been accused of mishandling classified information on an almost industrial scale, what shines through is that Clinton is utterly clueless about classification matters, betraying an ignorance that is shocking when encountered in a former top official of our government—and one who wants to be our next commander-in-chief.
Our Federal classification system isn’t particularly complicated, the basics can be explained in a quarter-hour, and there are courses of instruction that exist precisely to explain how to identify classified information and properly handle it. In fact, they’re mandatory. Since Hillary blew off those courses, even though they are required for government workers at all levels, it’s not surprising that she has no idea what she’s talking about.
Various reports have claimed that Clinton did receive mandatory briefings, conducted, in fact, by FBI agents, but perhaps Schindler knows something those reports don’t.
…in her July 2 interview with the FBI, agents understandably asked her about this, only to discover that America’s former top diplomat doesn’t have the smallest clue how classification works.
When asked, “Clinton could not give an example of how classification of a document was determined,” the FBI recorded. Hillary could not explain what the (C)—for Confidential—classification marking at the beginning of a paragraph was. She thought it perhaps had something to do with alphabetical order.
This tragicomedy continued with the FBI pressing Hillary on specific examples of classified information that wound up in her ‘Unclassified’ emails. She explained her position concisely. As the FBI noted, ‘Clinton stated that she did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classified information.
She didn’t pay attention?! As you proceed, gentle readers, keep in mind one of the fundamental traits of human nature: the urge to avoid, at all costs, embarrassment. What human being wants to be seen as stupid or incompetent, particularly one seeking the most prestigious and powerful job in the world, a job whose placeholder is presumed to be highly intelligent and capable? Yet, again and again, Hillary Clinton presented herself as not only clueless, but willfully clueless. What’s going on? I’ll explain shortly, but first, consider this from Andrew McCarthy:
Clinton also claimed that she ‘did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classified information.’ The interview notes do not explain how the FBI squared this with, for example, (a) Clinton’s acknowledgement that top-secret ‘special access program’ (SAP) information was delivered to her by paper in her office and she knew it was supposed to be handled with extraordinary care; and (b) Clinton’s admission that she made use of her Original Classification Authority at times (though she couldn’t say how often). That means she had to have assigned to some information the very classification levels with which she portrays herself as scarcely familiar.
Back to Schindler:
We can safely assume that the FBI agents present gasped at that one, since classification is all about the level. Simply put, compromising Confidential information will get you a letter of reprimand, while compromising Top Secret information can easily get you a trip to the Federal penitentiary. Not to mention that brave Americans have died to protect Top Secret information.
And there it is. Clinton had a choice: portray herself as a blithering incompetent, unaware of the basic classification levels of America’s most closely guarded secrets and how to handle such materials, though she handled them for years as a Senator, or tell the truth. The truth, in this case, would not set her free, but throw her out of the presidential race and send her to prison. I would like to think the FBI agents involved were smart enough to know Hillary and her lawyers conducted preparations for this interview on at least the level of debate preparation, likely higher. So Hillary played dumb, because the alternative was too horrible to contemplate. Of course, Clinton is not terribly bright under any circumstance.
This is also very much a political calculation. Democrats will not abandon Hillary no matter what. She could run over a troop of Girl Scouts in wheelchairs with a steamroller live on national TV, cackling all the way, and the media and Democrats at large would ignore it, call it old news, a right-wing conspiracy–they made the steamroller–and in general, explain it away. But there are still constituencies out there that might turn from voting for her if she told the truth. Better to take the stupid path, which is likely to be less harmful. Most Americans expect politicians to be stupid, but take offense if they’re too criminal.
The Clinton follies continued, with Hillary’s lawyerly position clear: ‘Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system,’ the FBI recorded. She even stood her ground when asked about emails regarding drone strikes—a subject that the CIA and the Pentagon consider to be highly classified. Indeed, it’s Top Secret and part of a super-sensitive Special Access Program or SAP.
Not to Hillary. Such SAP information wound up in her ‘Unclassified’ emails but Clinton would have none of it. As the FBI noted,’“Clinton stated deliberation over a future drone strike did not give her cause for concern regarding classification.’ This would be stunning news to the thousands of American military and intelligence personnel who have to treat such Top Secret SAP information according to the strict rules and regulations that apply to anybody not named Clinton.
Here Hillary has confirmed what many have long suspected—that there’s one set of laws for Clintons and Friends, and a very different set for the rest of us. Classes on how to handle classified materials—much less actually following those rules on pain of arrest and prosecution—are for Little People, not for Clintons and their charmed retinue.
Drone strike information is SAP classified for a very good reason: enemies getting wind of strikes can avoid them, or even put innocents in the crosshairs to our detriment, to say nothing of the detriment of the innocents. Schindler also hits on an interesting point: Clinton’s retinue, which must of necessity include Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. There can be no question they–and others–had access to everything Clinton so blithely abused. Mills, Sgt. Schultz-like, knows nothing. How about Abedin?
The FBI inquiry descended into farce. The Bureau’s investigation determined that hundreds of the emails containing classified information had been sent by Hillary while she was out of the United States—including in Russia. Since these were sent on Clinton’s ubiquitous Blackberry, all of those should now be assumed to be in the hands of foreign intelligence agencies—particularly the security service of whatever country Hillary was in when she clicked “open” or “send.”
The FBI could not find evidence of cyber-tampering with Hillary’s Blackberry, but that’s irrelevant here. As someone who used to do these things for a living when I worked for NSA, let me state that it’s easy for any marginally competent intelligence service to intercept unencrypted (or lightly encrypted) messages sent to or from a Blackberry. No “hacking” is required. Such routine intercepts would leave few, if any, traces for the FBI to find.
Not that Hillary and her staff took even the most rudimentary security precautions. They emailed each other everywhere, all the time, even in high-threat countries like Russia and China. Anybody who doesn’t understand that Moscow and Beijing—and probably many others—have those emails (and worse, may have used them to crack into other, even more sensitive U.S. Government systems) is uninformed about 21st century espionage.
The FBI’s participation in this political drama was farce. I assume there are some agents, people who actually do the work, that are disheartened by the role they were forced to play. The Obama Administration have destroyed the credibility not only of the FBI, but of virtually every agency of the federal government. After all, Obama appointed John Kerry to be Secretary of State after Hillary. Better yet, consider this:
In perhaps the most laughable of the FBI’s revelations, we learned that Hillary had a bad habit of losing her personal electronic devices. As many as thirteen of them went missing—including ones that possibly had classified emails on them. In a couple cases, Clinton staffers disposed of old devices by smashing them with a hammer. Which does nothing to render whatever classified information may have been on them unreadable to any competent spy service.
In my recent article Huma Abedin: Connections and Concealment, I noted an Abedin e-mail stated that Hillary was “often confused.” Losing at least 13 Blackberrys would seem to support Abedin’s contention. Each and every one of those devices would be an intelligence bonanza for a hostile intelligence agency, or for our many Islamist enemies, and Abedin has life-long, close connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, among others.
By all means, take the link and read the entire article. Schindler ends thus:
In my time with NSA I worked in counterintelligence and I investigated people who mishandled classified information. It was rarely a pretty story and it seldom ended well. Let me state with 100 percent confidence, having now seen at least some of what the FBI discovered about Hillary and her emails, that anybody not named Clinton who did these things would be facing severe criminal charges and potentially years in prison. Democrats need to seriously ask themselves if this is the kind of person they want to represent them on November 8.
How do we know Schindler is correct? Experience. Countless government employees, including members of the military, have been jailed and fined for far fewer, and far less serious, violations of the law. In those cases, stupidity was no defense, in fact, it was a telling fulfillment of elements of the crimes.
There are several possibilities:
(1) Hillary is truly a dangerous idiot, so addled by disease or general stupidity she shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches, let alone hold any elective post.
(2) Hillary is an unrepentant criminal who merrily commits crimes because she knows she will never be held accountable for offenses that would send lesser mortals to prison.
(3) Hillary is playing Americans for suckers and laughing all the way to the White House.
Any of these possibilities should be sufficient to end the political career of a mere mortal. That all, and more, could be in play is truly dumbfounding. Schindler asks if Hillary is the kind of person Democrats want to represent them on November 8.
Yes. She is. She’ll keep the free stuff and graft coming. For Democrats, every new revelation is not alarming, but reassuring. She’s the kind of crook they can trust to remain criminal and to enable their crimes.