H. Clinton’s emails are regrettably in the news again. I am curious about what crimes her accusers allege she committed.
As I understand the situation she used her own private email server to send and receive work emails while she was the Secretary of State. I don’t believe anyone alleges that in itself is illegal. The problem comes because when the FBI investigated they found a small number, I believe it was 132 emails out of 70,000+, that were deemed to contain classified information. Some of that information was classified Top Secret.
That in itself is not a crime. If I photograph a North Korean missile site that photo is not itself classified even if NRO photographed the same site at the same time and classified their photo. Just ask Digital Globe. Same as someone who authors an analysis of a foreign leader for the CIA or the New York Times. They can be word for word identical but one might be classified and the other not. Information by itself is not classified. I am aware of the single exception-nuclear weapons information is defined as “born secret” though I don’t believe that has ever been tested in the courts. I am not considering that type of information here. Information becomes classified when a Government official with the authority to do so says that revealing the information would damage US interests. This classification occurs when the information is marked classified (Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret). Once that information is so marked it is classified and revealing it to a person without appropriate clearance and a need to know is a crime. But the crucial steps for a crime to be committed is a) the person knows the information is classified and b) the person knowingly transmits the information to someone not authorized to receive it.
If H. C. had forwarded an email marked classified to her private server that would be a crime. No question. The FBI looked through all her emails, at least the ones her lawyers decided were Government related, and found no cases of this happening (there was one exception but it turns out that email was incorrectly marked and as Sec. of State she would have known it was incorrectly marked).
Which leaves the accusers in the position of alleging she knew certain information was classified even though it wasn’t so marked and she went ahead and emailed it anyway. Possible, but very hard to prove.
So my question: is there any evidence that H. Clinton actually committed a crime with her emails? I contend there isn’t. But I am open to correction.
Note that she was certainly very stupid and violated Government policy by sending information she shouldn’t through a private email server. This isn’t a question about how smart she is, it is a question of whether there is evidence of a crime.
The emails that were classified upon review were, as I understand it, NOT so marked in her emails. If she had been told the information was classified but had gone ahead and typed up an email and sent it to her server I think that would be a crime-but it would likely be very hard to prove that she was told when she wrote the email. And of course the Government has the difficulty that those emails are now classified and it would be hard to use them as evidence for a crime. Equally if someone else had written an email containing classified information and she had forwarded that email to her server it would be a crime if she knew the information was classified. But both those circumstances require that it be proved she knew when she sent the information it was classified. It seems to me that would be very hard to do no matter who is involved. Classified information is available from unclassified sources all the time. Hence the universal practice of marking each paragraph of a classified document with the classification so that there is no doubt.
Note that there are many cases where a person is makes a mistake and without realizing it transmits classified information over unclassified networks. Happens all the time and usually ends that person’s career. But such events are not criminal unless the information is marked classified. The key is the marking-that proves the person knew that the information was classified and therefor the act rises to the level of a crime. Absent those markings, I believe such transmittal is a stupid career-ending move but not criminal. It certainly played a large role in ending H. Clinton’s career-as it should have.
Anyone with a more thorough understanding of this situation care to explain the crime committed?