For months, Hillary Clinton has maintained that she neither received nor sent any classified material from her ill-secured private server when she was Secretary of State under President Obama. She stood by that story even after the State Department released thousands of redacted emails that had been marked classified after the fact. If they weren’t marked that way at the time, her story remains true, right?
Well, intelligence officials have disputed that, telling anyone who will listen that it is not just a message’s classified markings that make the message classified. It’s the content of that message. And someone in a position as powerful as Hillary Clinton’s should have known the difference between sensitive information and information that could be released to the public without causing a national security crisis.
And so then her defense changed a little. True, okay, she may have accidentally exposed classified information to any hacker interested in her server. But let’s not talk about that! Let’s talk about the overclassification of this information! Not in the context of Barack Obama’s extraordinarily-secretive administration, but rather in the context that really matters: The fact that it’s so damn inconvenient for people like Hillary Clinton. She can’t be dedicating her whole life to this job, ya know? She’s got stuff to do. Campaigns to plan. TV shows to watch. With all that going on, she’s supposed to carry TWO email devices? How burdensome.
But still she carried on with the original lie, yet to be disproven: That she had not ever sent or received an email from that server marked classified at the time.
Which now puts her in a rather thorny situation.
According to a new report from Fox News, Hillary was sent an email in April 2012 that was indeed “marked classified at the time.” It went straight to her server, and from her server it was retrieved.
The email has been heavily redacted, and, in fairness, the subject matter does not seem like it would throw our national security into peril. “(C) Purpose of Call: to offer condolences on the passing of President Mukharika and congratulate President Banda on her recent swearing in,” reads a note at the top of the email. It apparently involved a call Hillary made to the first female president of Malawi. No biggie, right?
Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. Since most of the email is blacked out, we can’t say for sure.
But what we can say for sure is that the “(C)” at the top of the message means one thing and one thing only: Confidential. It is one of four possible codes called “portion markings” the federal government may add to messages. The others are “(U)” for Unclassified, “(S)” for Secret, and “(TS)” for Top Secret.
Oh, but don’t worry about it, says Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. Nuthin’ to see here.
“This email was just a request for Secretary Clinton to make a phone call to express condolences over the passing of the President of Malawi,” he said. “The fact that this email was classified after the fact suggests again that agencies in the government tend to err on the side of classifying even routine matters of diplomacy.”
Er, not quite, Mr. Fallon. This email was not classified “after the fact.” That’s the whole problem. Your candidate’s lies are coming apart, and you’re pretending otherwise.
But even if that weren’t the case, this defense is like telling a jury that you should be excused from shoplifting charges because Tylenol is too damn expensive. That’s the thing about the law; you don’t get to ignore it just because you find it stupid.