Did Hillary Clinton as secretary of state commit crimes by having a private email server that bypassed government security systems and procedures; passing classified information on that system, making it available to foreign intelligence agencies; hiding information from FOIA access; and deleting tens of thousands of messages that she deemed private?
Washington lawyers who specialize in national security law say the answer is “no.” While Clinton's gambit was foolish and dangerous, it wasn't an indictable offense.
Basically, the author says that the information wasn't classified at the time it was sent and that Clinton didn't know information was classified when it was sent on her system; she didn't send it to those not authorized to see it; and she didn't remove classified information with the intent to retain it at an unauthorized location.
Based on what I've read, this is pure BS spin.
On the first leg of the three defenses, pick a defense: was the information not classified at the time or was Clinton unaware it was classified? You can't use both defenses.
In fact, the information was classified at the time. It wasn't marked at the time because her staff--with one email showing Clinton telling staff to do this--stripped markings in some cases.
Further, the whole personal server bypassed systems that would have put classification markings on the emails.
In addition, Clinton should have known that information she sent was classified. Information is classified in addition to documents, regardless of the markings.
If she is pretending she did not know the significance of the information she sent, she's incompetent.
And it demonstrates that perhaps her refusal to go to mandatory State Department classes (after her very first one) on handling classified information was a deliberate effort to avoid a paper trail of being shown what is and is not classified information.
Hillary Clinton sent and received classified information. She hopes she engineered this personal email system sufficiently to be able to blame loyal staff for depriving Clinton of the knowledge of sending classified information (and Hillary Clinton will wave as these staff take a spear for her and go to federal prison while going on with her Clinton life strewn with the wreckage of people who got in their family's way), but that ignores that the basic for having the personal email system was to avoid having any Americans from seeing what she was doing.
On the second defense, of course Clinton willfully communicated classified information to people without authorization to see it! If she dumped boxes with tens of thousands of paper messages on the front lawn of the Russian embassy, could she claim she didn't send the information to any particular unauthorized person and so avoid guilt?
Hillary Clinton put this information on an unsecured system that virtually begged the Russians, Chinese, and probably the Iranians to steal her information. Oh, she avoided having it made available for Americans to see any of it under FOIA requests, but she thought it was fine for our potential enemies to see all of it.
This isn't an age when classified documents are discreet pieces of paper that have to be smuggled out of our country or information put on a physical disk that must be smuggled out. No Russians with a microdot disguised as a mole hopped on a flight to Moscow.
Hackers reached out from their basement offices in the Kremlin to that bathroom server and grabbed it all, in all likelihood.
The third defense is similarly based on the assumption that classified information is a tangible thing (paper or physical storage device).
Clinton retained that government information on her own private server which allowed her to evade requests for government information by not telling requesters that she had the information in her own possession. The idea that it was all technically available because she sent it to people with authorized government emails is no defense when you consider that she didn't tell any requester that they'd have to search the entire universe of government emails to find any sent by Clinton.
If you doubt that information is classified as opposed to the Clinton fixation on documents, if Hillary Clinton was told that we had a high-level mole in Putin's office and she emailed that information on her private server, would it be just okey dokey because there was no actual copy of an official document sent?
And making the decision to destroy information (tens of thousands of emails, recall) based on what she decided was private information is further demonstration that the information was in her possession in an unauthorized location.
Clinton set up a private server whose only purpose was to hide what she was doing from oversight and accountability. And by doing so, she deliberately allowed foreign entities to see far more about what Clinton was doing than the American public was supposed to see.
This was dereliction of duty and if she wasn't a Clinton she'd already be in jail.
That's not how our justice system is supposed to work.
The author of this defense carried enough water for Clinton to end the water shortage in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region. That should have been professionally embarrassing to write.
I do hope someone with far more knowledge about the laws and regulations addresses this article. To me, it seems like BS. I'd appreciate a more knowledgeable writer going after what seems like self-evident BS to this unfrozen caveman blogger.
UPDATE: Related, via Instapundit.
UPDATE: More on one statute involved.
UPDATE: A late update (quoting the Free Beacon), but tell me that it is inconceivable that Hillary Clinton would set up a private email system to avoid public scrutiny of what she did as Secretary of State?
The Hillary Clinton campaign used a static noise machine to drown out the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s speech during a fundraiser in Colorado Thursday.
This didn't become a big deal because Hillary is a Democrat and reporters are, too--when they aren't feeling the Bern, that is.
There is an awful lot of water being carried this primary season. Imagine if Bush 43 had done this.