Friday, June 24, 2016

could Granny's unmitigated arrogance and mendacity provoke a consitutional crisis?

observer |  This gives the lie to Clinton’s much-repeated mantra that she never sent or was sent anything marked classified

In reality, nobody goes to jail for mishandling classified information at the Confidential level. However, the Hanley email proves that Hillary’s staff was emailing her classified information in unclassified channels, that it was marked classified, and that it was transiting Clinton’s personal email server. It’s difficult to believe that a mere aide like Monica Hanley decided to break the law like this, as she surely knew she was, on her own initiative.

It’s also difficult to see how the FBI can ignore such an obvious violation of the law. It likewise raises questions about what was in the 30,000 emails that Clinton decided to delete. In the nearly five months remaining until the presidential election, we can expect a regular drumbeat of revelations about EmailGate, none of them flattering to the Democratic nominee.

Last week the Associated Press broke a big story about how Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included the true names of CIA personnel serving overseas under cover. This was hardly news, in fact I broke the same story four months ago in this column. However, the AP account adds detail to what Clinton and her staff did, actions that placed the lives of CIA clandestine personnel at risk. It also may be a violation of theIntelligence Identities Protection Act, a 1982 law that featured prominently in the mid-aughts scandal surrounding CIA officer Valerie Plame, which so captivated the mainstream media. More recently, former CIA officer John Kiriakou spent two years in Federal prison for violating this law.

To make matters worse for Team Clinton, last week it emerged that several of the classified emails under investigation involved discussions of impending CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. Clinton aides were careful to avoid hot-button words like “CIA” and “drone” in these “unclassified” emails, engaging in a practice that spies term “talking around” an issue.

However, the salient fact is that the CIA—which has the say here—considers this information to be Top Secret, as well as enormously sensitive. It had no business being in anybody’s unclassified emails. As the secretary of state, Ms. Clinton and her top staff had access to classified communications systems 24 hours a day. They chose not to use them here—a choice that clearly violated Federal law. Moreover, this new report demonstrates that a previous Clintonian EmailGate talking point, that discussions of drones in emails were no more than pasting press pieces, and therefore innocuous, was yet another bald-faced lie.

How the FBI can look at all this and not recommend prosecution of someone for something in EmailGate strains the imagination. Yet President Obama has clearly signaled that it’s all no big deal. Director James Comey has a tough job before him when he takes the FBI’s official recommendations regarding EmailGate to Attorney General Lynch for action, probably sometime this summer. Since Comey is now under a cloud over the FBI’s embarrassing mishandling of Omar Mateen, the Orlando jihadist mass murderer, perhaps his resignation over that matter would be welcome in the White House, which then could find a new director more willing to bend to Obama’s wishes.