Scandal: The media’s “no smoking gun” refrain about Hillary Clinton’s emails has been strangely muted since several turned up with information beyond Top Secret. But this is just the latest in a growing arsenal of smoking guns.
After each previous batch of emails that has been released, reporters would quickly proclaim that there was nothing in them definitely proving that Clinton broke the law. At least, that’s what one would assume constitutes a “smoking gun,” given the way the scandal has been covered.
But what if a “smoking gun” means catching her in a flat lie or putting national security at risk or being unbelievably, if not criminally, negligent in her handing of classified information?
By those perfectly reasonable standards, there are so many smoking guns now that Hillary is starting to resemble Annie Oakley.
The latest revelation is the hardest for even a biased press to ignore, because it so clearly demonstrates that Clinton repeatedly lied when she said she never knowingly sent or received any classified material from the private, unsecured homebrew email server stashed in her New York home.
A review by Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough found emails that contain “special access program” (SAP) information, which is available only on a “need to know” basis because exposure could put a human asset at risk.
The material contained in these emails is so sensitive, in fact, that some senators on the Foreign Relations Committee couldn’t see them unless they fulfilled additional security requirements.
“If you have worked with classified material for more than a day, it seems highly implausible that someone could receive any of the aforementioned over an unsecure medium without alarm bells sounding,” intel analyst Anthony DeChristopher wrote in The Hill.
For Clinton to claim that she didn’t know that she was sending or receiving SAP material because it wasn’t marked is tantamount to accusing herself of complete incompetence.
As head of the State Department, Clinton was required to undergo “mandatory training at least once within a calendar year” or have her “classification authority suspended,” according to an executive order issued by President Obama.
She herself claimed that she was “certainly well aware of the classification requirements.” It was only after classified emails started showing up that she pleaded ignorance.
But before this revelation, we learned about other troubling smoking guns.
• Just two weeks ago, an email turned up in which Clinton told an underling to strip classification markings off a document so it could be sent electronically to her personal email account.
• She is also on record berating a staffer for not sending information she was told was “on the classified system.” Hillary’s response was “just email it.”
• Before that, several emails turned up that contained information deemed “born classified” — because it contained “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States” — which again she should have known without any markings.
• She wrote several of them herself. In one, sent to special Middle East envoy George Mitchell in late 2009, everything after “George” was deemed classified. Since she created and sent these classified emails, she can’t claim that she wouldn’t have sent them if they had been marked.
• She claimed to have turned over every work-related email on her server, but it is now clear that she didn’t .
• Clinton has been caught in lies about the security of her email server. She initially claimed that the system “had numerous safeguards” and that there “were no security breaches.” Since then, we’ve learned thatit was far from secure and likely breached.
What’s surprising isn’t the growing pile of evidence against Clinton. It’s that she’s still in the race.