Andrew C. McCarthy:
So now Hillary finally knows what the “(C)” stands for in government documents: It’s Cartwright . . . as in four-star Marine General James E. Cartwright, the retired 67-year-old former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the expendable federal official against whom laws protecting classified information actually get enforced.
(C), see? Oh wait — sorry. I don’t mean to confuse Mrs. Clinton by starting this second paragraph with “(C)”. After all, as she diva-’splained to the FBI, she could only “speculate” that “(C)” must have something to do with organizing paragraphs “in alphabetical order.” Speculation was necessary, she said, apparently with a straight face, because she didn’t really know what “(C)” meant.
The question arose because the “(C)” designation — applicable to classified information at the confidential level — turned up in at least one of Clinton’s personal e-mails. Those would be the e-mails that, she repeatedly insisted, never, ever contained classified information. Or at least, that’s what she insisted until government agencies confessed that hundreds of the e-mails do contain classified information. Then Clinton’s “never, ever” tale morphed into the more narrowly tailored lie that there were no e-mails “marked classified.” Alas, that claim could not withstand examination of the e-mails, during which the “(C)” markings were found . . . whereupon the explanation underwent more, shall we say, refining. Thus the final, astonishing claim that she didn’t know what the markings meant, along with the laugh-out-loud whopper that maybe it was all about alphabetical order.
Yeah, that’s the ticket!
In case you’re keeping score: When a person being prosecuted for a crime changes her story multiple times, as if she were playing Twister (kids, ask your parents), the prosecutor gets to prove each of the evolving lies at the trial. As you’d imagine, juries grasp that the truth doesn’t need an editor. That’s why people whose explanations can’t keep up with the evidence are pretty much a lock to get convicted.
But that’s when it’s “(C)” as in Cartwright, not Clinton.
General Cartwright pled guilty this week to making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating his mishandling of classified information. The general admits to falsely concealing his communications with two journalists. They involved “Stuxnet,” a covert American–Israeli operation to infect the computer systems that controlled Iran’s main nuclear-enrichment facility. The information was top secret, regarding a crucial program. Its exposure caused diplomatic problems and threatens our spy agencies’ relationships with foreign intelligence services, which are based on the ability to keep secrets secret.
Still, compared with Clinton, Cartwright is a piker. As the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin reports, Cartwright appears to have been a “confirming” source. That is, reporters from the New York Times and of Newsweek already had the Stuxnet intelligence (from some other leaker whom the administration has not prosecuted). Cartwright merely acknowledged the information’s accuracy — and, he says, only after it had appeared in published news reports. His claimed purpose was to prevent additional intelligence from being published to the detriment of our national security. This does not excuse his conduct, but it may go a long way toward explaining why the Justice Department charged only a felony false-statement count, not a classified-information offense.
Clinton, by contrast, willfully set up a homebrew e-mail system. Given that the secretary of state’s duties preponderantly involve intelligence matters, this made it inevitable that classified information would unlawfully be transmitted and stored on non-secure servers (i.e., outside the multi-layered protection of the government’s classified communications system). Thus did the FBI find, for example, that of the 110 e-mails on Clinton’s non-secure system that were — contrary to her claims — classified at the time she sent or received them, eight involved top-secret information.
What does “top secret” mean? Under the executive order signed in 1995 by Mrs. Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton, it is information the mishandling of which “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” With such an enormous level of threat, extraordinary restrictions on access are imposed to limit the possibility of exposure. That’s why the government generally comes down like a ton of bricks on offenders, or at least offenders not named Clinton.
Even these extraordinary measures, however, are deemed insufficient when the information is designated as “SAP” (“special access program”) — as seven of Mrs. Clinton’s were. Because mishandling top-secret SAP programs could expose either intelligence-gathering efforts that are critical to protecting American lives or intelligence sources who gravely imperil themselves in order to acquire life-saving intelligence for the United States, access to such information is on an even more extremely limited “need to know” basis. Yet, Clinton made them vulnerable to everyone.
Fully 36 of Clinton’s e-mails fell into the “secret”-information category. That designation applies when information “could be expected to cause serious damage to national security” if transmitted or stored in an unauthorized manner. “Serious” is not as weighty as “exceptionally grave,” but it is, well, serious. That’s why people usually get prosecuted for compromising it.
Unlike Cartwright, Clinton did not just communicate with a couple of reporters who already knew the information in question. She made previously concealed intelligence massively vulnerable to capture by foreign intelligence agencies and hackers. On this point, the FBI’s rationalization that it found no evidence of capture is meaningless. As the FBI director conceded, competent cyber-thieves do not leave traces of their intrusions.
That brings us back to “(C),” the designation that applied to at least seven of Clinton’s e-mails at the time she sent or received them, and that now covers thousands more because government intelligence agencies adjudged them too sensitive to disclose publicly. Again, “(C)” does not really stand for “Cartwright” or indicate alphabetical ordering. It is, instead, the designation for “confidential” information that, if mishandled, could “cause damage to the national security.” This means its mishandling is a significant offense, even if the damage is not likely to be “exceptionally grave” or “serious.” That’s why its compromise often results in prosecution, or at least severe sanctions such as termination of employment or loss of security clearance.
In light of General Cartwright’s prosecution for lying about his mishandling of classified information, it is worth revisiting Mrs. Clinton’s representation to the FBI that she did not know what “(C)” meant.
When you are married to a guy who said he smoked pot but didn’t inhale, you have a tendency to try any lie to see if it’ll stick.
It is truly amazing what liberals will force themselves to believe. Amazing.
@Bill… Deplorable Me:
Read more here:
mrs clintons email was hacked. Only a democrat party apparatchik like greg, would believe that it was not.
That woman, mrs clinton should be in prison for violation of the espionage act.
@July 4th American: Were it not for an administration that has corrupted the DOJ, FBI and rule of law in this country, she most definitely would be or, at the very least, convicted, disgraced and then pardoned. But, certainly not a leading Presidential candidate.
Hillary, the most corrupt and incompetent candidate in history, complains that Trump’s distrust of an election manipulated by those who would employ any means possible; voter fraud, violence, state influence of the media; to assure the outcome they desire. ANYONE with open eyes, ears and minds should have critical doubts about the violation of the sanctity of our elections.
THIS is the threat to our democracy… the actual THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY THROUGH ELECTORAL FRAUD.