By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails establishes beyond a doubt that she regularly received classified information. This has become both an email scandal and a national security scandal, as Mrs. Clinton risked the safety and well-being of all Americans with her lax security practices.
Some might blame this gross negligence on incompetence, or falsely argue, as she does, that other secretaries of state have done the same thing, but her deliberate use of a private email server is, in fact, the mark of Hillary’s supreme arrogance.
To arrogance one must also add corruption, as it has also become undeniable that Mrs. Clinton worked on behalf of the interests of the Clinton Foundation, her family, and associates while in office.
“In another exchange, Mrs. Clinton praised an idea to set up schools in Haiti, developed by…longtime domestic partner to top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who was her chief of staff at the department,” reports The Washington Times. “Great ideas (no surprise). Let’s work toward solid proposal maybe to Red Cross and Clinton Foundation since they have unencumbered $,” Mrs. Clinton, then Secretary of State, responded to Mills.
“Records show the [Clinton] foundation would become a major player in the [Haiti] relief and reconstruction efforts, raising more than $30 million.” In other words, Mrs. Clinton was using her position as Secretary of State to steer contracts to the Clinton Foundation.
President Obama cannot have failed to have noticed Mrs. Clinton’s behavior as Secretary, and needs to be held equally accountable for this scandal. It is just one more scandal that has occurred on his watch that the media choose to treat as if he has no responsibility. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) is asking, “What did President Obama know and when did he know it?” Surely he knew he was emailing with her on her unsecured server. Did he use a private email account too? IBD reminds us that the White House won’t say if he has. We, too, have been asking some of these same questions for many months.
Mrs. Clinton’s email practices are currently being investigated by the FBI, particularly in relation to potential violations of the Espionage Act, according to Fox News. However, despite the confidence some have in FBI Director James Comey’s independence, this investigation has become inherently political, and will have a political outcome. President Obama has two choices: indict Mrs. Clinton, and risk a civil war within the Democratic Party, or allow her to continue to stonewall as she runs for the presidency. The second option could be accompanied by selective leaks to undermine Hillary’s narrative that she has done nothing wrong. In the meantime, Obama has already given Vice President Joe Biden his blessing to run against her, and announced through his spokesman that appointing Biden was “the smartest decision he has ever made in politics.”
Mrs. Clinton’s released correspondence contains nearly 200 emails with classified information, according to The Washington Post. The Post is one of the few mainstream media organizations acknowledging that Mrs. Clinton “wrote and sent at least six e-mails” with classified information.
Yet The New York Times’ report made sure to include a quote from Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, stating that if these emails contained intelligence information, “it would certainly be classified at a higher level than confidential.”
“Confidential” is the lowest level of classification. This lower-level information seems to be all members of the mainstream media really want to talk about, as if it excuses Mrs. Clinton’s actions.
“But classifying government information is more of an art than a science, often relying on judgment calls by examiners,” reports the Times.
The Intelligence Community’s Inspector General has identified two emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server as “top secret.”
An email from Clinton’s server conveys spy satellite information regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, frequently classified as top secret, according to The Washington Times. It reported on September 1 that the intelligence community believes a State Department employee summarized this extremely sensitive information and sent it on to Mrs. Clinton. Thus, her defense is that while she may have passed classified information on her unsecured private email server, she didn’t recognize it as such because, she says, it wasn’t marked classified.
As we pointed out in prior columns, Mrs. Clinton has demonstrably and repeatedly lied about her private email arrangement. She falsely claimed that the public record she submitted to the State Department was complete despite having deleted half of her emails that she claimed were personal, having her email server wiped clean, and even having altered some of the ones she turned over. And there is a high probability that Russia and China have hacked her server and seen all of her emails. She also falsely maintained that her relationship with Clinton confidant and hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal was “unsolicited” despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Now the Clinton acolytes are proceeding forth from the woodwork in defense of her inexcusable behavior. Andy McCarthy, a former U.S. Attorney writing for National Review, describes how Anne M. Tompkins, a Hillary Clinton donor, hastaken to USA Today in defense of Mrs. Clinton’s case because the latter, somehow, didn’t “knowingly” do what she did. Thompson is the Obama-appointed prosecutor who gave former CIA Director David Petraeus a “sweetheart plea deal” after he grossly mishandled classified information and provided it to his girlfriend, according to McCarthy.
“To exonerate Clinton, [Thompson] relies on nothing other than her status as the government lawyer who oversaw the prosecution of David Petraeus,” writes McCarthy. He continues:
Tompkins seems to believe that unless the prosecution has the kind of slam-dunk proof she had (but shied away from using) in the Petraeus case—namely, proof that Petraeus admitted to someone that the information he hoarded was highly classified—it is impossible to prove knowledge beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, there are innumerable cases in which investigators and prosecutors establish knowledge, intent, willfulness, gross negligence, and other mental elements without a confession by the suspect.
The media aren’t interested in making reasonable inferences about Mrs. Clinton’s behavior. Instead, reporters tie themselves in knots to avoid making common sense conclusions which might implicate her.
Former Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth before the Select Committee on Benghazi has taken the Committee’s investigation to a whole new level. Pagliano “was the information technology director for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign,” helped set up Mrs. Clinton’s private server, “and then worked at the State Department as an adviser and special projects manager for its chief technology officer…” reports The New York Times. How much did he know about the vulnerability and usage of that server? Michael Isikoff is reporting that Pagliano also refused to talk with the FBI or the State Department Inspector General.
The media’s fact-checkers, especially, are supposed to hold leaders accountable and expose candidates’ false statements for what they are. After Mrs. Clinton said on August 26 that she was “confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any e-mail that was marked classified,” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, in his Fact Checker column, gave her only two Pinocchios for “excessively technical wordsmithing.” Maybe, as the Democratic primary nears, Mrs. Clinton’s false statements will be downgraded to only one Pinocchio—or maybe she’ll start winning the “prized” Geppetto checkmark.
“In all the 87 email threads examined by Reuters, the State Department has blanked out the confidential information in the public copies, adding the classification code ‘1.4(B),’ denoting foreign government information,” reportsJonathan Allen.
“This is the only kind of information that presidential executive orders say is ‘presumed’ to likely harm national security if wrongly disclosed.” In other words, it is born—and presumed—classified.
Mrs. Clinton’s continued claims about her receipt of classified information are egregious lies, second only to her misconduct in the Benghazi scandal. Yet the liberal media continue to ignore, downplay, or trivialize this scandal.
The Benghazi scandal, in particular, will continue to haunt Mrs. Clinton just as much as the continued drip-drip-drip of emails. Just as no further information is necessary to demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton lied about classified information on her server, no further revelations are necessary either to implicate Hillary Clinton, or President Obama, in perpetrating a cover-up after the planned terrorist attacks in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four brave Americans. The media refused to be honest in the 2012 election; it seems that they are set to continue with this dishonesty into 2016.