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‘Criminal’ Mischief: Did A Government Official Smear Hillary Clinton?

Editor's Blog Memo Pad National News

‘Criminal’ Mischief: Did A Government Official Smear Hillary Clinton?


In the aftermath of that famously discredited New York Times story about a “criminal referral” regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails, a few important questions stand out, among many that remain unanswered.

Exactly who told Times reporters Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo that the referral to the Justice Department – concerning whether information in her emails that wasn’t classified should have been – was a matter for criminal investigation? And when will the Justice Department track down, reveal, and discipline those who made these false statements to the Times and later to other news outlets?

These unpleasant questions arise from the Times editors’ explanation of an error that is enormously troubling (and the most consequential of several substantive mistakes littered throughout Schmidt and Apuzzo’s article, as catalogued superbly by Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek). Never was there any criminal referral, only a “security referral” prompted by the appearance of retroactively classified material in a sample of Clinton emails released by the State Department.

In short, Clinton did nothing wrong, and the ensuing journalistic firestorm was, in reality, no more than a boring bureaucratic dispute over what should or should not be kept secret.

Yet determining who did this is important because – if we accept the editors’ version that the reporters’ sources misled them – one or more federal officials evidently tried to smear a presidential contender with a falsified leak, under cover of anonymity. That may or may not be a federal crime, but it should be a firing offense at the very least. And the public has a right to know if officials in the nation’s top law enforcement agency tried illicitly to influence a national election.

In the lengthy post-mortem published by Times public editor Margaret Sullivan on July 27, which delineated the damaging “mess,” she quoted executive editor Dean Baquet, who told her: “You had the government confirming that it was a criminal referral.” Deputy editor Matthew Purdy offered further detail on the anonymous figures who led Schmidt and Apuzzo astray. “The reporters had what Mr. Purdy described as ‘multiple, reliable, highly placed sources,” wrote Sullivan, “including some ‘in law enforcement.’ I think we can safely read that as the Justice Department. “

That does seem a very safe assumption, partly because Apuzzo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporter, joined the Times almost two years ago to cover Justice, while Schmidt has covered the FBI, an agency overseen by Justice officials. Both would have access to multiple, highly placed sources in law enforcement, although whether those sources are “reliable” is now open to serious doubt.

Of course, there was at least one other obvious source behind this story, as Sullivan mentioned in passing: “The story developed quickly on Thursday afternoon and evening, after tips from various sources, including on Capitol Hill.” With absolute safety, that generic reference should be read as the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and controlled by the Republican majority – an outfit that has provided multiple, unreliable, and slanted leaks to Schmidt and his Times colleagues, which the paper has eagerly disseminated.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the select committee’s ranking Democrat, who immediately corrected the inaccurate “criminal referral” story, righteously blasted his Republican colleagues. “This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines − only to be corrected later − and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas,” he told The Hill newspaper. Clearly, Cummings intended to indicate that this latest leak came from the select committee’s members or staff.

But the unethical conduct that has apparently become habitual around Gowdy is a matter for the House to handle – not that its Republican majority ever will. Dealing with the misconduct of the government official or officials who leaked the phrase “criminal referral,” however, is an issue that only the Justice Department itself can address. Perhaps the person or persons responsible will do the right thing and step forward. If not, the department’s own inspector general should open an investigation to uncover the truth.

Lingering suspicion that anyone in government would so blatantly violate the public trust is enough to undermine confidence in the department’s law enforcement mission. Smearing a former Secretary of State now running for president isn’t “justice.” And this isn’t a situation Attorney General Loretta Lynch — or President Obama, for that matter — should tolerate.

Photo: Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about her environmental plan during a visit to the LEED Platinum certified DART Central Station in Des Moines, Iowa July 27, 2015.     REUTERS/Scott Morgan

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. Susan July 30, 2015

    So why isn’t there a investigation?

    1. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

      Because if they open this investigation,any other politician is fair game and the Justice Dept. isn’t about to start opening up the entire Bush administration slime.

      1. itsfun July 31, 2015

        All of your defenses for Hillary are to call others names. Maybe Tom Brady should start blaming the makers of footballs for his problem.
        Hillary is the one that had classified documents on her basement server. Maybe she thought hiding it in her basement made it secure from hacking.

        1. jmprint July 31, 2015

          With Edward Snowden in the picture do you honestly think anything was safe?

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            I doubt if he had access to the sensitive documents Hillary had.

          2. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

            No, he had access to ACTUAL classified documents, not documents LATER deemed sensitive.

          3. itsfun July 31, 2015

            Do you believe he had the same access as the Secretary of State? Anyone running to be President or was a Secretary of State and doesn’t know what should be classified is completely incompetent.

          4. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

            What I want to see are ALL of Cheney’s Iraq emails, classified or not. We paid for that war. We have a right to know how Cheney manipulated the US into a Halliburton for Profit war. Hurts when the shoes are on the other foot right? Not so much “fun” then.

          5. itsfun July 31, 2015

            Nope, if Chaney did anything illegal, he should be held accountable for it. I don’t believe in any corrupt politician getting away with committing a crime.

          6. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

            It is not the Presidents Nor the Secretary of States JOB to classify data!
            Are you so naive as to think those in charge do the actual work?
            Most data is classified AFTER the fact. Therefore how could a President or Secretary of State EVER know for sure. If they did, that would be great, they can see the future!

          7. itsfun July 31, 2015

            Its their job to protect our nation. If they are not smart enough to know that a document could harm our nation, then they aren’t smart enough to lead our nation. In this case it was her personal server, do you actually believe she didn’t know what was on it. She is a control freak and knew exactly what was on her private server.

          8. mountie August 5, 2015

            Totally incorrect. First for those who don’t know, Classified, Secret and Top Secret are levels of classification. Certain individuals have the authority to classify documents at different levels. They also have the authority to declassify documents. The heads of all departments such as the Sec of State have the highest authority. They should know by the subject matter what is sensitive and/or needs to be classified. If Hillary really claims that they were not classified when I sent them or received them, at best she is totally incompetent and not fit to hold any office in government.

        2. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

          We know the government systems have been hacked more than once – any proof that the Clinton’s were hacked? Don’t you think that if someone did hack their system they would be broadcasting it from the roof tops or are they part of the Hilary Defense Team?

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            No. If you were a foreign nation hacking into secret information would you broadcast it or would you just keep getting more information?

          2. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

            Yes, because you would enjoy embarrassing the U.S. v

        3. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

          Nope, wrong again. Hillary’s documents were not classified at the time they were on her servers. They were deemed sensitive AFTER her time as Secretary of State.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

            More interesting to Americans would be those emails Cheney sent to Bush regarding the secret prisons in Turkey and Poland which both of these countries now want Bush and Cheney’s heads for. Now that the Iraq war is over, there is NO plausible reason they should be kept classified unless it’s to save Bush and Cheney from prison.

            Like Reagan who broke the law when he made a deal to sell arms to an Iranian terrorist who had already been involved in a terror attack in DC, killing two people, and Bush ’41 who crept into Iran to stall the release of the DAWA hostages and brokered the arms deal, those two never once went before an investigating committee.

            The problem is the GOP has become a Gestapo regime and only looks at Dems for guilt. Never themselves. And, they ar more guilty than Charles Manson ever was.

        4. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

          itsfun…Fact: the Bonesmen, Reed, Starr, Rove, Norquist and Prince, spent 12 years on Whitewater and $12 million in tax dollars. How much did Ken Starr profit from that debacle? And why did it take 12 years to come up empty handed and no prison time for either Clinton?

          It is now going on nearly 4 years since the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack. The GOP under attack dog Gowdy’s control has chosen all of the panel and witnesses to testify. If you watched the proceedings on CNN as I did, you’d have seen Trey Gowdy ask his own GOP selected witnesses questions, cut them off before they could answer and then supply the answers the GOP GESTAPOs wanted. That is an investigation? Or an Inquisition?

          And, if after 8 investigations in those 3 1/2 years and $22 million tax dollars wasted, they’ve turned up nothing, what do spiteful, resentful, tantrum pulling little boys like you plan to do? Keep up another 8 more years of Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi to what end?

          Hillary has already said she will appear before the investigation committee. You boys just love love love to use your attack tactics just the way Roy Cohn once did until someone commits suicide as three of Cohn’s so-called Communists, did.

          It is long past time for you little suck up boys to stop making mountains out of mole hills we know are to avoid any investigations into what the Koch boys are pulling and the GOP Gestapo Regime is responsible for.

          Assumign you can actually understand the word “responsible.”

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            Like I said you only know how to call names. Wasn’t Hillary the only lawyer not barred in the Whitewater scandal? And wasn’t they because of her political connections.

        5. greenlantern1 August 3, 2015

          Ever hear of the Plumbers for Henry Kissinger?
          Secretaries like Rosemarie Woods?

    2. greenlantern1 July 31, 2015

      Expect REPUBLICANS to call for an ACTUAL investigation?

  2. Theodora30 July 31, 2015

    Seems to me if your sources burn you – repeatedly when it comes to Howdy Gowdy’s committee – the journalists who were duped should investigate and report on this. There is no obligation to protect sources who are manipulating journalists, assuming that said journalists are not part of the manipulation. The public has a right and deep need to know who is trying to control who we pick for presidential candidates. This is a serious attack on our democracy.

    1. mountie July 31, 2015

      I dealt with classified documents all the time and if I would have kept them at home I would have been jailed. There are procedures to follow. The source was correct, there should be a criminal investigation. The only reason there hasn’t been is because the Criminal POTUS will never allow it.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

        We don’t have mounties in the US…Sorry Canadian but your Ralph Klein was no innocent lamb either as a I recall, Klein was a hard drinking boozer in Calgary.

        As for taking documents home, try again..Cheney did it ALL the time. Why? Because he didn’t dare leave any of the files in his office because most of them were of his own design and lies.

        1. mountie August 2, 2015

          For your information you brain dead liberal. Mountie is a screen name it does not mean I’m from Canada. I spent 37 years in the executive branch of the US government and the safeguards for classified information existed long before I started. Hillary Clinton is a felon and belongs in jail. I know you don’t agree because liberals don’t consider facts.

        2. mountie August 2, 2015

          How do you know that Cheney took documents home all the time? If he did, how do you know he did not have the proper security containers for storing the information. You are pitiful. Trying to defend someone when you have know idea how the system works. If as you claim, the files were of his own design and lies, then they would not be classified and he would not violating any laws. Eleanore you are trying to deal with subject matter way above your pay grade.

      2. greenlantern1 July 31, 2015


        1. mountie August 2, 2015

          Just where do these papers fit in this? What point are you trying to make?

          1. greenlantern1 August 3, 2015

            Has ANYONE VERIFIED Rush Limbaugh’s Benghazi tapes?
            Isn’t skepticism called for?
            Consider the record of those making the charges!!

          2. mountie August 5, 2015

            What exactly do these Limbaugh Benghazi tapes have to do with her mishandling classified information. I would suggest you try to stay on topic, but I know this is impossible because you base your comments on feelings instead of facts.

          3. greenlantern1 August 6, 2015

            Were the PENTAGON PAPERS classified or not?
            Has Hillary even been charged with ANY crime?
            Guilty until proven innocent?
            All Americans are entitled to due process!
            Not just Oliver North and other REPUBLICANS!!

          4. mountie August 6, 2015

            I guess you are not capable of simple understanding. The
            Benghazi tapes have no being on this discussion and either do the pentagon papers. Now see if you can grasp a simple example. You walk next door and shoot your neighbor. They die. You have committed murder. You are not charged with a crime and do not get indicted because your father is the chief of police. You are still guilty and a felon.
            Whether you get indicted or not does not change the facts. She gave the classified material to an aide who had no clearance. It is a crime. Period. And for your information, all FBI investigations are criminal. So she IS being criminally investigated.

          5. greenlantern1 August 8, 2015

            Excuse me?
            Weren’t her e-mails supposed to include Benghazi?
            Remember Rosemarie Woods and the multiple erasures of the Watergate Tapes?
            Destruction of evidence?

      3. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

        So Jeb Bush, Colin Powell etc should be jailed? The problem was at her time in the State Department there was no procedure. There is now and rightfully so. You of course mean Criminal Reagan for Iran-Contra or War Crimes for Bush right?

        1. mountie August 2, 2015

          I spent 37 years in the executive branch of the US government and the safeguards for classified information existed long before I started. Hillary Clinton is a felon and belongs in jail. I know you don’t agree because liberals don’t consider facts. I do recall Jeb Bush having a government position. Try going back to grade school.

          1. Grannysmovin August 2, 2015

            When did she become convicted felon? When she was Secretary of State there was no laws prohibiting her actions. Just because you don’t like her does not make her felon. The rest of your post is just silly. Good night.

          2. mountie August 5, 2015

            Sorry you are trying to debate things you have no knowledge about. For your information there are and have been laws prohibiting her actions for a long time now. Suggest you read Title 50 Section 3161 of US Code. She provided classified information on a thumb drive to individuals who were not cleared. We know this because they got the thumb drive from her buddy and he has no security clearance. Guilty. End of story. She may not have been convicted because the criminals in charge will not bring charges against her. Also known as dereliction of duty. Also a crime when you are a government official.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

    I wasn’t originally fond of either Clinton. Then, I spent about to years doing as much reading on them as I could find. There are several issues that stood out in each of about a dozen books:
    . The hatred for former President Clinton began in his college days. He was one of those guys who was raised by a single Mom, made sure he got a college education and to the hatred of the rich boys like Ken Starr, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Eric Prince, Ralph Reed and others, he managed to show a superior intelligence to win the Rhodes Scholarship.

    For a guy from some backwater state to dare and aspire to governor of Arkansas, be a relatively attractive man compared to the Uggos like Starr, Rove, Prince and Reed, was the beginning of their attempts to reduce him back to from whence he came. None of his detractors had any more on him than they did on another of their swaggering, drawling rich boys, one George W. Bush, whose boozing and drugging was legend. But, THAT had to be hidden to avoid smearing Big Daddy.

    . To the shock of his vehement, rich boys largely connected to the most crooked industries in the US like Big Oil, Big Military and Big Prisons, he won the governorship. But, his worst sin? Being a member of the Democratic party.

    By the time he married a relatively savvy, intelligent, highly accomplished young female lawyer, the Rich Bonesmen had had enough of William Jefferson Clinton’s attempt to break through their hallowed fraternal sanctuary from which, only they are entitled to enjoy success.

    When Hillary had the audacity to even breathe the word “healthcare reform” during her husband’s presidency, the Bonesmen went nuts. After all, Super Skirt Chaser, Gingrich had risen to the omnipotent position of Speaker of the House and he was a Good Ole Good Boy in their league. Clinton was not.

    So, they dug and dug and tried to piece a jig saw puzzle of misguided, totally bogus pieces together to create WhiteWater, blame Hillary for a suicide and now? They are at it again.

    If Hillary has any sense of revenge for the 30+ years of this BS harassment and stalking, now is her chance to do a whole lot of GOP Gestapo House cleaning. Start with McConnell, Boehner, Gowdy, Cotton, Bolton and not the least but last, one of the dirtiest GOP crooks, JEB. His past is littered with so many scandals that he makes Hillary look like the Pope.

    But, the Bonesmen don’t like their dirty laundry aired. That is how Good Ole Boys have always kept control…splash the media with scandals of your most hated opposition so no one EVER looks at the Good Ole Boys and their scumbucket scandals.

    1. jmprint July 31, 2015

      What bothers me the most is they use our hard earned tax money to run their little house of horror.

    2. Louis Allen July 31, 2015

      Hil-LIAR-y and Whitaker’s 10 Ds:


    3. Dominick Vila July 31, 2015

      There are two things that bother me about this issue. One is the failure of the Times editors to verify the accuracy of the information before releasing it, the other is the determination of so many Republicans to defeat their opponents with falsehoods and hyperbole, rather than a demonstration of how to govern more effectively and efficiently.
      Smears like the Benghazi and e-mail scandals are both instruments to destroy formidable opponents, and desperate attempts by members of the party that controlled the White House when 9/11 and eleven terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies and consulates took place. One of the latter, our consulate in Karachi, was attacked twice. Talking about ineptitude! The strategy is, clearly, to derail the candidacy of a high qualified candidate, and deflect attention from their foreign and domestic policy failures.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

        Dominick, according to this mornings northeast papers, they think they know who started the email scandals. But, as we all know, the NY Times journalists’ sources are protected by the First Amendment. The problem is that things like this have blowback that the GOP won’t expect. Hillary cannot produce what she doesn’t have.

        But for too long now, the GOP Gestapos have tried to force their opponents to prove negatives that don’t exist. There never was more to WhiteWater or MonicaGate other than jealousy by the Bonesmen like Norquist, Rove, Reed and Prince. It wouldn’t surprise me in the very least if Norquist and Rove were behind this digging of dirt that doesn’t exist. She already produced over 55,000 emails. But the GOP Gestapo is not going to be satisfied. They are happier when people like, cheat and steal. Lying is after all, a hallmark among GOP men.

        1. Dominick Vila July 31, 2015

          Lying, fear mongering, and appealing the most rabid prejudices have, indeed. been the centerpiece of the GOP political strategies, and one of the reasons they have been so successful in recent years.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker August 1, 2015

            As a woman and a progressive, I can tell you that women with educations are fed up with the GOP. Suddenly lying, distorting facts and twisting truth are acceptable? The GOP Gestapos are only successful in convincing the men with the deepest pockets that they can take over government and all they have to do is lie. Lying has a way of coming back to haunt. Very few liars are savvy enough to remember ALL of the lies they tell. And, sooner or later they get caught in those lies and public opionion of them flushes them down the toilet. Gingrich comes to mind here and GWB.

          2. Dominick Vila August 1, 2015

            An example of what you said was evident in a comment made by Donald Trump today, when he stated that Vladimir Putin does not respect President Obama, but that Putin will respect him! Honestly, I think Putin, and all world leaders, will laugh at Trump and, by default, the United States. Most importantly, Mr. Narcissist, and Republicans in general, should not confuse fear with respect. You don’t demand, or expect respect as an obligation, you have to earn it, and thus far the Donald has not done anything to accomplish that.

          3. Irishgrammy August 1, 2015

            Also Dominick, the Republicans have been consistent using all the Social issues that divide, God, Guns, Women’s Right to Choose, LGBT Rights, and they use them ad nauseam. I will never understand those with that hateful streak of intolerance and refusal to live and let live……and that, in their meager little minds, ALL should live their own lives by the edicts and “rules” the far right insist on. Most of these Social issues don’t even affect the people who populate the far right GOPTP contingent directly except for their rabid God complex and their need to have as many guns possible to, as I joke, protect themselves from all of us heathens and the “conspiratorial government”…….LOL. I tell you, after almost 30 plus years of these attacks on especially Women’s rights, and the scurrilous attacks and/or shaming and blaming the poor, let alone the racial and bigoted slurs and negative racially charged language the right uses, with particular emphasis on the last 7 years……..it has become what the word INTOLERABLE really stands for!!!

          4. Dominick Vila August 1, 2015

            In addition to their behavior being intolerable, it also demonstrates fear of change and inability to oppose the beliefs of others without resorting to hyperbole, lies, and insults. I still remember the days of Eisenhower, when the difference between the two parties was limited to what each side thought was the most effective and efficient way to solve common problems. The latter is not even a consideration in the political climate that prevails today.

        2. The lucky one August 1, 2015

          “Lying is after all, a hallmark among GOP men.” Yes and also among GOP women politicians and most Democrat women and men politicians as well. Face it, lying is a characteristic of nearly all politicians in the duopoly serving the oligarchy.

  4. Eleanore Whitaker July 31, 2015

    So, ask yourselves, how bad is Clinton when the GOP Gestapos can’t keep it in their pants? The joke is that while the GOP boys where busy head hunting Clinton with MonicaGate, Ole Newt was abandoning his cancer ridden wife to have an affair with the 2nd wife he would leave when she contracted MS. Now, he “got religion” and is on his repentance kick like all of these GOP men always are.

    The clouds of BS these guys try desperately to pin on Bill and Hillary Clinton is nothing more than an attempt to hide their own dirty laundry while digging for gnat dung in the desert on the Clintons.

    Bush kills off 4,000+ Americans in Iraq for his Daddy, his Saudis Oil buddies and now, the GOP’s favorite little Roy Cohn-ish attack dog, Trey Gowdy sits there day after day, wasting our tax dollars so no one will ever find out what the Koch boys are really up.

    What the last half hour of the 2004 version of the Manchurian Candidate and tell me it is not what the GOP Gestapos are doing to this country right now.

    1. Dominick Vila July 31, 2015

      The worst part of W’s decision to do the dirty work for his Saudi oil friends is that the overwhelming majority of the leaders, planners, financiers, and the terrorists that carried out the 9/11 attack were Saudi Arabians! W made Judas look like a chump when he granted Saudi Arabia Most Favored Nation status after 9/11, and invaded Irak instead.

  5. greenlantern1 July 31, 2015

    Remember Nixon’s “dirty tricks”?
    Who ordered the FORGERY of the Diem Cable?
    Spiro Agnew, our ONLY VP to plea bargain, was Nixon’s first!
    Our ONLY, jailed, attorney-general was Nixon’s first, John Mitchell!
    Our ONLY president, to receive a pardon, was Nixon!
    Which party had an ACTUAL motive for the murders at Benghazi?
    Why did Pastor [?] Terry Jones burn KORANS?
    Why did he screen the movie, THE INNOCENCE OF THE MUSLIMS?
    Why was his e-mail NEVER asked for?

    1. itsfun August 3, 2015

      At least Nixon had the class to resign.

      1. greenlantern1 August 4, 2015

        Nixon was our ONLY president to receive a pardon!!

  6. Karen Bille-Golden July 31, 2015

    Even the title of this article is offensive. Really? Dirty, underhanded politics which we’ve come to expect is just “mischief”? We sink a little lower every time we allow these tactics to continue.

  7. FT66 July 31, 2015

    Many thanks Joe Conason for bringing this issue into the limelight. I have been thinking on this the whole week. Whose is that person whether she or he working in Obama Admin doesn’t understand the only person to safeguard what we have achieved so far is Hillary. This person must be hunted and be weeded out. We can’t continue to sail in the same boat, with someone who is there looking all the times to capsize our ship while continuing cashing in. It is disgusting.

  8. itsfun July 31, 2015

    The question is how many classified documents fell into the hands of foreign nations. Of the first 40 documents, 4 have been found to be classified. If that 10% continues for the remaining 40,000, that is a huge problem for Hillary. Worse is she says they weren’t classified at the time she sent them. If a Secretary of State doesn’t know what is classified without a stamp on them or doesn’t know what should be classified, then that is complete incompetence. This is national security, not a surprise birthday party. This is the security of our nation. How can someone that allows classified national documents to be put on a server in their basement be considered for a even more sensitive position.

    1. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

      When were they deemed classified, last week, last month when? We had a President who had a Governor of Florida for a brother, wouldn’t you like to have seen those e-mail exchanges regarding the election, 9-11 and Iraq war? No sorry you can’t they were removed from Jeb’s private server.

      Lets be clear I think any elected official at any level should be required to us official e-mail accounts only and on official servers. The problem is at her time of service it was not required.

      1. itsfun July 31, 2015

        The question is not when they were classified, but a Secretary of State that either lied to every American citizen, or a Secretary of State that didn’t know what should be classified. That is national security at risk and a Secretary of State that didn’t know that. Security of our nation must be understood by administration executives.
        Why do you defend Hillary not protecting our nations secrets by blaming the Bush family?

        1. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

          You read this completely wrong.

          Nobody is responsible for laws that are made AFTER their time of completion. Also nobody is clever enough to know how the Justice department will classify things after the fact.

          If Hilary were that clever, than we would definitely want her as president since she can see the future, while you and the rest of us cannot.

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            If a Presidential candidate has no idea on what could be a national security threat, then we don’t want that person in charge of our national security.

          2. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

            Yesterday we were doing business with a country, next month because of something they do they become our sworn enemy. That is how it happens. Look you hate Obama and Clinton we get it, so don’t vote for her.

          3. itsfun July 31, 2015

            I think we should make more deals with a country that has vowed death to all Americans. I don’t hate Obama, I hate his policies and have no respect for him as a man.

          4. truth_machine August 5, 2015

            No one has any respect for you because you’re a dishonest sack of vile right wing garbage.

          5. itsfun August 7, 2015

            Do you really believe I care when a dishonest sack of vile left wing garbage calls me names?

        2. Grannysmovin July 31, 2015

          It is a comparison – it was not a law than either.

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            I am not talking about laws. I am talking about a Presidential candidate that has opened our national security to foreign nations. I am talking about a Presidential candidate that obviously could not tell what can be dangerous to our nations security.

        3. ralphkr July 31, 2015

          Really, it is obvious that you do not know the classification process, itsfun. Many decades ago I dated the base commanding general’s secretary and she once showed me a document stamped “classified”. It was the grocery shopping list from the general’s wife.

          As I posted elsewhere, Let this be a warning to all of us to immediately stop using any servers not owned by the US government because we do not know if some anonymous bureaucrat in the future shall decide our Email should be classified. It should also be noted that there has been no proof that Clinton’s server had been hacked but there is definite proof that a large number of US Federal government servers have been hacked.

          1. itsfun August 3, 2015

            do you actually Hillary would tell us if her server was hacked. How else would we know if it was hacked? We didn’t even know she had a server in her basement.

        4. truth_machine August 5, 2015

          You’re the liar, and all around vile sack of right wing garbage.

    2. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

      Read the data more closely. All 4 were deemed classified AFTER Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Obviously the documents were not deemed sensitive at the time, so this is just GOP/TP misdirection.

      1. itsfun July 31, 2015

        When they were classified is not the question. A Secretary of State that doesn’t have a clue as to what should be or is classified is complete incompetence. Who even knows if the DOJ even saw the documents until they were released?

        1. Paul Bass July 31, 2015

          See my comment below, the “when” is EXACTLY the question!

          Again if Hillary is so clever as to know what the DOJ will rule ahead of time, we need her as President, since she can see the future!

          1. itsfun August 3, 2015

            If a person running for President doesn’t have a clue what may or not be security documents, we don’t need that person in charge of our national security. She allowed people to be murdered in Benghazi and you give her a pass. She grants favors for her foundation and you give her a pass. She puts our nations security in danger and you give her a pass.

        2. Bob Eddy August 1, 2015

          When they were classified us the only question.

        3. truth_machine August 5, 2015

          “When they were classified is not the question.”

          Not for imbeciles and ring wing scum, apparently.

    3. Karen Bille-Golden July 31, 2015

      I guess you think “its fun” and games we’re dealing with these days. Get real. A good place to start would be to come up and out of your basement level thinking.

      1. itsfun July 31, 2015

        If the security of our nation means nothing to you, its okay with me.

        1. Karen Bille-Golden July 31, 2015

          And if remaining stuck on a talking point that just doesn’t resonate with some of us, maybe you should think about giving it a rest. Take it back to Fox News, it’s not working here.

          1. itsfun July 31, 2015

            And if our national security is only a talking point to you, then go back to watching MSNBC

          2. truth_machine August 5, 2015

            Yes, when dishonest garbage like you exploit it, it’s only a talking point.

          3. itsfun August 7, 2015

            What is dishonest about wanting our nation to be safe and secure from being attacked? What is dishonest about calling out people that don’t protect our national security. What is dishonest about wanting to know what actually happened in Benghazi?

    4. Bob Eddy August 1, 2015

      Blah blah blah blah! The fact is that probably 90% of “classified” documents are classified to cover someone from embarrassment and have nothing to do with national security. “They weren’t classified, but she should have known they should have been.” What an absolutely inane statement!

      1. itsfun August 1, 2015

        We are talking about the Secretary of State here not a low level clerk. If someone in that position has no clue as to what should or should not be classified information, then they don’t belong in that kind of position. We have a ex clerical employee now living in Russia for giving them classified information, and a ex Secretary of State that kept national security information on a private server running for President.

        1. Bob Eddy August 1, 2015

          Every time I think cons are dumber than a box of rocks someone like you comes along and prove that I have over estimated them!

          1. itsfun August 1, 2015

            oh golly gee wally, you are so mean to me.

        2. jam August 2, 2015

          itsfun, you are not fun AT ALL! You are willfully ignorant, bordering on stupid…..go away.

          1. itsfun August 3, 2015

            jam : Will you be preaching tolerance of the opinions of others when someone doesn’t agree with you?

          2. truth_machine August 5, 2015

            It’s not *opinions* that we liberals demand tolerance for, you vile right wing sack of sociopathic garbage.

          3. itsfun August 7, 2015

            And you get to decide what is ones opinion.

        3. truth_machine August 5, 2015

          “now living in Russia for giving them classified information”

          Snowden didn’t give Russia any classified information, you lying sleaze, and that’s not why he’s there.

          1. itsfun August 7, 2015

            How do you know what Snowden gave Russia. Why does he have to live in Russia now? Why won’t he come back to the US.

    5. truth_machine August 5, 2015

      “The question is how many classified documents fell into the hands of foreign nation” I suppose that’s the question for stupid, ignorant, intellectually dishonest, vile, sociopathic right wingers.

      1. itsfun August 7, 2015

        According to me there is no room for a Secretary of State and Presidential candidate, that is so incompetent she has no idea what should be classified and what shouldn’t. If you don’t mind our nations documents are in the hands of Russia and China, prepare to learn how to speak Russian or Chinese.

  9. nancyminter July 31, 2015

    The question is when did journalists quit getting confirmations from at least 3 sources, who don’t have the same axe to grind BEFORE they publish an article?
    This is the same excuse the same news group used to explain how the whole WMD justification for the Iraq war got traction. The failure of journalists to do due diligence and then whine that political types gave them spin instead of the truth is just plain weak.

    1. mountie August 6, 2015

      I know that I am probably wasting my breath but there were WMDs in Iraq. Why Bush said we didn’t find any was most likely that most of them were ours that we supplied to Iraq for its war with Iran. One of my clearances was WINTEL (Weapons Intelligence)

  10. 1standlastword July 31, 2015

    Our country is now governed by some of the most floridly Sociopathic individuals born of a woman –and this is just more proof of it!!

    In the big picture, as American citizens we are being emotionally, physically and intellectually violated all too frequently by our current institutions of government, media, finance, healthcare and law enforcement.

    These are truly dark times in America when our entire government functions like a gladiator arena, when media becomes a circus that mesmerizes us with illusive schemes that profit their agency, when citizens are bereft of their personal wealth by a craven healthcare and finance institutions, and then law enforcement as is now portrayed like legalized abuse of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised citizens of the country.

    The 21st c. has seen a speedy rot and decay of nearly every American institution that once set American distinct from other nations as the new land of freedom, fairness, justice and hope.

    And we’re doing it to ourselves!!!

    Nobody else could do this to America…she is doing it to herself!

    That makes me both sad and mad–

  11. bill rando August 1, 2015

    Wow, what a great resource. I miss Joe and maybe a few guest columns from Gene Lyons would be nice.

  12. Thomas Martin August 1, 2015

    Whistleblowers gone bad. This is why whistleblowers walk on a thin line between lies and truth. Consequences should be very severe when the truth is not told. Hunt these jackasses down, fire them, and prosecute them. The NYT is so hungry to nail politicians of choice they violate traditional rules of journalism.

  13. Bob Eddy August 1, 2015

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read the original story was “Why would this be considered a ‘criminal’ investigation?” I wonder why the Times didn’t ask that question. Once the myth of the “liberal” Media is exposed.

    1. mountie August 6, 2015

      The FBI is investigating and all FBI investigations are criminal investigations.

      1. Bob Eddy August 7, 2015

        A friendly suggestion. Next time you decide to spread your cheeks and pass gas, know what you’re talking about. Your gas is stinking up the entire conversation. First, the FBI is not investigating, which you would have if you had taken the time to read the srory. Second, no, not all FBI investigations are criminal investigations. In fact probably most are not. Before a criminal investigation begins, facts are gathered to determine if there is cause to believe a crime has been committed, then, and only then does a criminal investigatiin begin.

        1. mountie August 7, 2015

          I guess you haven’t had time to listen to the news lately.
          The FBI has confirmed that they are conducting an investigation into this breach of security. They did not have to determine if a crime was committed in this case. Clinton’s attorney had a copy of the classified documents and he has
          no security clearance. I spent 37 years in the executive branch and dare say I think I know more FBI as well as Secret Service personnel than you do. All FBI investigations are criminal. If you don’t believe me ask them. I have briefed Generals and Admirals and have been on government trips where the person sitting next to me was wearing White House cufflinks and you have the audacity to claim that I don’t know what I am talking about. It is typical that when you liberals can’t support your position with facts you attack the messenger.

          1. Bob Eddy August 7, 2015

            Thank you for your fascinating personal story, Mr Mitty! All FBI investigations are not criminal. I didn’t have to ask them. They said themselves “we were asked to look into the security of the accounts and we are cooperating. This is not a criminal investigation and is not directed toward any person.” Either they are lying or you are. My money’s on you. Unlike your biography, that IS fact. Furthermore, possession of classified information in itself is not a crime. Yes, I have the audacity to say you don’t know what you’re talking about, because you don’t!

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