I received a comment from Angel Abbygrace's Mom in response to the original post. The comment is detailed and it is valued. And I don't want to change a normally personal and friendly blog into a heated discussion in the stress of the last week of an angry and partisan political campaign.
But a response is deserved, and I'll put hers it italics for ease of identification. And unless noted otherwise, I will accept the accuracy of her statements (this is not Fox News, after all, and we are not competing talking heads. She is a friend whom I respect).
And unless otherwise noted I am commenting on her quote, not her conclusions FROM the quote.
As she quoted, From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.
"Chains" are series of emails on the same subject. They can, as we all well know, contain many subjects varying widely as the "chain" goes on. What starts as a chain can be about personal family matters, get into a brief argument about politics and then go right back to family matters.
In this case, I see that there are some numbers that seem to have meaning and some that do not. "110 emails in 52 email chains" sounds like a whole lot. Many people will multiply 110 by 52 and think "about 55,000 emails". No. It is still only 110 out of the original 30,000 emails.
That is "not many".
The numbers of emails that were "sent or received" is deceptive. It is not a crime to receive improperly-marked classified information. If I sent anyone of my friends classified information not properly marked as such, you would not be guilty of anything. *I* might, IF I knew the information was classified.
The question is whether the information in the emails was known to either of us.
From what I understand, most of the emails considered to include classified information fell into 3 categories.
First, there was information not classified at the time but classified at a later date. You are not guilty of handling information that was classified LATER! Such as, if you take a medication today and the Government declares it illegal next month, you can't be charged.
And even with classified information, there is a "lag time". If some agency declares "Fact X" classified today and you refer to it tomorrow before you are told about that, you aren't guilty of anything.
It gets worse. Suppose Agency A declares Fact A classified and Agency B says it isn't? You still aren't guilty because there is reasonable doubt.
Second, classified information has to be properly identified. In the movies, every classified document has a big red "CLASSIFIED" stamped at the top. And maybe they do. But they don't always show up that way in emails. I have seen claims by seemingly objective sources that WHEN a classified email or attachment in an email was sent to Clinton, there was simply a large "C" at the end.
And there are 2 problems with that one. If you only learn the information was classified AFTER you read it, there isn't much you can do to forget it. And a "C" is not the same as a "classified" stamp...
Third, most of the information that is being challenged was "upclassified", meaning it was classified only after recent review by one Federal Agency or another and at a later date than the emails. And if anyone has to choose between classifying information and NOT classifying it, it gets classified.
If my job was classifying documents, I would classify my office softball team schedule rather than make a mistake. Because the is no penalty for over-classifying docoments, but a HUGE one for not when you should have.
Which leads me to my last 2 point, which I will combine. Just because a document is classified doesn't mean it should be. Just how many secrets to you think we have from the Russians and Chinese? I think it was Kissinger who said that the only Nations we can keep secrets from are our Allies. And apparently, we can't even do that anymore.
So I ALMOST question our whole habit of secrecy. The only people who DON'T know US government secrets are the US citizens, LOL!
From AbbyGrace's Mom: "The Top Secret email chains alone should set off alarm bells whether you support or don't support HRC as a candidate. If you had sent or received classified email on your own private server while working in the Government do you think the FBI would have been as lenient to you?"
HRC has about the highest clearance. I don't.
"Also from the director's statement: Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
"Careless" is not the same as "illegal". If one classified person mentioned classified information to another privately at a party, that is not illegal, but it is careless.
"One other note on classification from the Director: But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it"
At a certain level, probably almost anything could be classified. And you have to be able to talk to people in real time without having staff research every fact for classification status. I suspect that our classified system has gotten way out of anyone's ability to keep within the rules.
I bet I could find half of the US classified information on the internet without trying too hard. I think the whole classified argument is a mountain made from a molehill.
Not that some information shouldn't be classified, but that most shouldn't.
And let me finish by saying again, no harshness, just my best answers to a good comment...