When the Hillary Clinton email scandal started in March, 2016, Hillary said classified information had never been sent to her and her private email server. The next iteration said that Hillary followed all the rules and hadn’t done anything improper. After that, Team Clinton insisted that the contents of the sensitive emails weren’t classified at the time they were sent or received. Another oldie but goodie was that the information wasn’t marked classified when she received these emails.
These arguments are political arguments. They aren’t legal arguments because the statute Hillary Clinton allegedly violated, 18 USC 793 never mentions the word classified. Ed Morrissey correctly notes that “all that is necessary is that the “note” or “information” relates to national security, and that gross negligence or malign intent causes it to be exposed. Classification makes that easier to prove, but isn’t a required component.”
That’s just the tip of Hillary’s iceberg. Reuters is reporting that some of Hillary’s emails were classified from the start:
In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own “Classified” stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.
This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters.
“It’s born classified,” said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House’s National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Hillary’s advisers now have a new pile of headaches to deal with. When the director of Information Security who has worked in “both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations” says that some of the information contained in Hillary’s emails was “born classified”, that means Team Hillary has to switch to a new spin line because their old spin won’t work if reporters are doing their job.
If Hillary’s campaign had a slogan, it likely would be “What tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Had Hillary come clean at the start, she wouldn’t have to change her spin every week.