Hillary Clinton has handled the investigation into her emails with the air of someone brushing away flies. If sheer confidence in the face of overwhelming evidence was the mark of a great presidential candidate, Clinton would have the election sewn up. Unfortunately for her, though, the American people value honesty, integrity, and national security more than dogged arrogance.
According to the State Department, 22 of the emails sent through Clinton’s unprotected home server were classified as Top Secret – the worst news yet for a campaign that has maintained all along that the former secretary did nothing wrong. The defense, however, remains the same: the emails were not marked classified at the time. Whether or not that’s specifically true remains to be seen, but it’s not clear if it really matters. As dozens of experts have said, a piece of information is either classified or it isn’t. It doesn’t need the label. A person in Clinton’s position should know good and well what is sensitive information and what isn’t, regardless of how the State Department stamps it at the time.
“This appears to be over-classification run amok,” the campaign said in a statement. This is the new avenue of defense, apparently. Not only were these messages not classified at the time, but they shouldn’t be classified even now. Why are they, then? Oh, someone must be out to get Mrs. Clinton. That pesky right-wing conspiracy, no doubt.
The State Department and other intelligence officials are singing another tune, however. According to a report in the Associated Press, the emails under scrutiny involved “special access programs.” These are top secret programs that might involve sensitive topics like NSA spying and drone targets. Over-classification run amok? Hmm, doesn’t sound like it.
It’s not remarkable that the State Department is covering for Hillary, and it’s certainly not remarkable that Hillary is covering for Hillary. But it’s interesting how often we keep reading the phrase “unlikely to be indicted” in every news story about this scandal. Why is that so unlikely? If she sent or received classified information on an unsecured server and thus endangered national security, what other option is there but indictment?
That this story is getting any traction at all in the mainstream media is proof of how serious it is. You ever remember the New York Times spending this much time on Benghazi? No way. This is an apolitical investigation being infected by partisan reporting. The best they can do is say that this scandal might hurt her with the voters. Meanwhile, these same newspapers are ready to lock Ted Cruz in prison over a few campaign checks. It’s obvious, it’s ridiculous, and we deserve better from our government and our media.
And we sure as hell deserve better from someone who wants to be president.