what crimes are alleged with Hillary Clinton's emails?

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. :slight_smile: 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?

People accidentally send marked, classified information over unclassified networks all the time. I personally watched an AF guy demand, and get, Exchange server hard drives that were pulled because of one such incident.

I don’t believe you’re correct on this one. There needs to be an element of intent, and the information being marked classified isn’t enough to prove intent.

USC Title 18 Chapter 37

USC Title 18 Chapter 93

And so here’s the issue, if you’re working with classified documents you’re not going to be doing it on a system where you can just forward an email to hillary@clinton.com or whatever. There’s an air gap between classified and unclassified systems. So for one, the odds of just having properly marked classified information in an email that you could have forwarded to Clinton’s email server are already very small. And two, if there is properly marked classified information in an email on an unsecured network that is able to forward it to Clinton’s email server, someone has already screwed up royally. And this does happen sometimes, and it’s almost always an accident, and people don’t go to jail over it.

In order for charges to be brought against Clinton, you’d have to prove that she knowingly and with intent had those classified emails on her server, and even though we don’t know what the content of those emails are, the FBI investigation did not turn up any evidence that those emails were there knowingly, even if they were properly marked. Which means at most it’s a policy violation, which is what the FBI said, and not a crime, which is why she’s not locked up.

These basic facts, of course, are lost on the “lock her up” crowd.

I think the setup was that Clinton had two addresses: one for official business and another as a personal email.

Official emails were occasionally sent to her personal account. A handful of those emails touched upon classified information. Some of those touched on subjects that where classified after the emails had been sent (sometimes things a classified retroactively). So there were a small number of emails on the server that contained classified information.

It was theoretically possible that an outsider could hack into the server and find the classified emails, but there hasn’t been any credible claim that this occurred. Comey’s censure of her was due to the fact that this was a possibility.

Note that at the time she was Secretary of State, there was no policy against using a different email address for private correspondence. It was initiated after she stepped down (but before the news of the server broke).

So, ultimately, there’s no serious basis for a case against her.

This all makes sense and is consistent with what the news reported at the time.

So, my question is this: What does the “Lock her Up” crowd think she did wrong?

Of course it might be the case that everyone in that camp knows that in fact no crime was committed but it makes a good rallying cry and the heck with the truth. The chant might never have been intended as something that should or could happen. Another example of why Trump understands his base so much better than the rest of us.

Thanks for the example.
All my experience was with classified data that both sides knew to be classified but the sending person forgot and sent an unmarked copy to an unclassified computer. We lost our computer in that incident (the Gov’t took the whole desktop, not just the HD) and the sender lost his clearance and his career. But there was no discussion of criminal charges. It was accidental and that was clear. Still cost the Govy his career though. Too bad. He is an excellent scientist. Just not for the Navy any more.

Presumably, like with the Benghazi crimes, they just know she’s guilty of something and the only reason they haven’t found the proof is that there haven’t been enough investigations, or the investigations are a sham by the deep state.

They think that she deleted the emails that would have incriminated her.

As I understand it, when it was determined that Clinton had been using a private server, a question arose whether she was in compliance with government record keeping functions; e.g. government records must be archived.

To ensure compliance, she went ahead and had a law firm review her emails and archive the government ones. She, of course, was not required to archive personal emails (i.e. “Hey Chelsea, I think we should have petunias at your wedding”), so those were deleted before the records were turned over. In fact, 33,000 emails were deleted.

That, per Duh Failure, is the scandal. Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails which probably, certainly, incredibly contained all manner of classified information which she was selling to foreign interests/using for nefarious purposes. The mind boggles at the imagined outrages that lie therein.

By the way, the classification system in the government is a mess. If I understand it correctly, each department is empowered to classify its own information. As Secretary of State, Clinton had the power to deem information that she sent or received as either classified or not. Controversy arose, however, when other departments (e.g. Defense) said that this or that information should have been classified. In other words, Clinton was never going to be found guilty of sending classified information via unclassified channels; rather, she’d be harangued for mishandling material that others believed should have been classified, but for which she disagreed.

Yeah, information sharing is a constant struggle, not because of lack of a desire for information sharing but because there’s so much information that it’s hard to connect the people who’d like that information with the people who have it. Consequently, the DoD (for instance) can learn some information that it deems relevant to its interests, and if this information is revealed it could disclose the “sources and methods” it used to learn said information, so they classify it. Meanwhile, in the department of state, the same information can be received from a diplomat via a phone call, and therefore be considered sensitive but otherwise not classified.

So again, we don’t know what classified information was found, but there’s a good chance it was stuff like that, stuff of little actual consequence to operational security.

The crimes she “committed” were:

She’s a Democrat

She’s a woman

She’s a powerful woman

In addition, the “logic” also follows that of UFO conspiracy believers: The government is hiding something. Since what they release isn’t telling us what we want to know (aliens are real, and the gov’t is hiding that truth, or as steronz puts it, not enough investigations), then the information they’re not disclosing is proof that the gov’t is hiding the truth. Because the proof we can’t see is all the proof we need to show that we’re right.

It’s pretty twisted logic.

This is a question from an ignorant person (me): what about all this I hear about how nothing you delete is ever really gone, etc. etc.? Couldn’t those 33,000 deleted emails have been resurrected and examined (at least at the time, if not now)?

Poor punctuation and grammar.

Didn’t you hear? She bleached the hard drives! Very expensive process.

Serious answer, it’s not actually hard to permanently delete something; normally when you delete a file, the 1s and 0s on the hard drive aren’t changed, the file system just declares that the area where the 1s and 0s are located is empty and is allowed to be written to. Over time those 1s and 0s will get flipped around and the space reused, corrupting the file remnants, but as long as nothing else changes those physical bits, the file can be recovered. However, you can simply write all 0s to that location and it’s gone forever. Generally speaking, that’s the end of it.

You can, however, go through log file backups and figure out who sent emails to/from a certain address, and then get the emails from the sender or recipient, but that assumes they didn’t delete them either. From a personal security standpoint, it’s good to assume that anything you do on the internet is going to exist forever, but from a practical standpoint, permanently deleting stuff that you have total control over is a trivial matter.

As a matter of fact, when the chant started up at one of his first post-election rallies, he chuckled and said something to the effect of, ‘That was good during the campaign but we don’t care about it anymore.’

Look at Sen. Grassley’s November 2017 letter to Wray. His point is that the level of intent required under 18 USC § 793(f) is “gross negligence,” and that Comey’s initial draft of his memo recommending no action found that Clinton acted with gross negligence but argued that that provision of the statute should not be enforced. Comey’s memo was later changed to say instead that she was “extremely careless,” and Grassley was seeking information as to why that change was made.

Interesting! thanks for posting this. The relevant legal standard is from 18 USC § 793(f):
Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, …

So one possible idea is that H. Clinton was “grossly negligent” in handling classified information. I personally doubt that her actions reached that level. Apparently during the investigation that possibility was considered but the conclusion was reached that her actions were not grossly negligent. Obviously some people disagree with that conclusion, but that is what the investigators concluded.

However, the initial difficulty remains that one has to prove that H. Clinton had been “entrusted with information relating to the national defense” and knew that information to be classified and then put that information on her server. That to me is the primary difficulty. As Secretary of State she was being given information all the time. Can a prosecutor prove that the person giving H. C. told her that the information was classified? It is certainly possible. If the only time a given piece of information was discussed was during a classified briefing, then H. C. may have violated the law putting that information on her private server. She certainly would be negligent. But proving that she didn’t get that information from someone outside of a formal briefing or a classified document seems to be very tough. She would just contend that someone told her the information without telling her it was classified and the prosecutor would be left trying to prove that didn’t happen. Remember the issue isn’t that the information is classified, we will agree that someone classified the information. But did H. C. receive the information in classified form? Or did someone skip the step of telling her it was classified.

The problem now is that the information in question IS classified so the public can’t make a judgement as to whether that information could only have come to her via a classified route. Not that the public is in any way qualified to make that judgement. Apparently the Republicans have access to the information and believe she had to have known it was classified and the FBI disagrees. So Trump is left with a chant and H. C. is left with the knowledge that she screwed up in the biggest way possible.

Hopefully this will eventually follow the birther story and fade away from everywhere but the conspiracy websites.