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FTR #906 The Destabilization of Hillary Clinton

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [6].

 

Intro­duc­tion: CIA head­quar­ters is named for George Her­bert Walk­er Bush, who was defeat­ed for re-elec­tion by Bill Clin­ton in 1992, some­thing for which we feel major ele­ments of the Agency have nev­er for­giv­en the Clin­ton fam­i­ly. Much of the neg­a­tive “buzz” sur­round­ing the e‑mail serv­er inves­ti­ga­tion has come from Fox News, head­ed by Roger Ailes, who was George H.W. Bush’s cam­paign man­ag­er.

These are details worth bear­ing in mind as we exam­ine the con­tin­ued progress of “Clin­ton Derange­ment Syn­drome.”

QUICK: How many of you knew that Hillary Clin­ton had the 11th most lib­er­al vot­ing record as a U.S. Sen­a­tor (out of 100 Sen­a­tors.)? [7]

The pun­dit­ry has been even more irre­spon­si­ble than is usu­al­ly the case, suc­cumb­ing to CDS to a greater extent than in the past. This pro­gram exam­ines to the extent to which media cov­er­age is delib­er­ate­ly slant­ed.

In con­nec­tion with Hillary Clin­ton’s e‑mail serv­er, we high­light the fol­low­ing details, gen­er­al­ly either unknown and/or under­re­port­ed in the main­stream media:

FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clin­ton Were Labeled As “Clas­si­fied” Or “Top Secret [8]

FACT: Emails Orig­i­nat­ed In State Dept. Sys­tem, And Ques­tions About Retroac­tive Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Would Have Occurred Regard­less Of Clin­ton’s Serv­er Use [9]

FACT: Experts Have Debunked Any Com­par­i­son Between Clin­ton’s Email Use And David Petraeus’ Crimes [10]

FACT: IG Refer­ral To Jus­tice Depart­ment Was Not Crim­i­nal, And FBI Isn’t Tar­get­ing Clin­ton Her­self [11]

In dis­cus­sion of the “e‑mail scan­dal,” CNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe Scar­bor­oughdelib­er­ate­ly dis­tort­ed [12] state­ments by Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist David Ignatius. Ignatius opined: . . . .  My only point is I couldn’t find a case where this kind of activ­ity had been pros­e­cuted and that’s just worth not­ing as we assem­ble our Clin­ton e‑mail — and more thing, Joe, legal­ly there is no dif­fer­ence between her using her pri­vate serv­er and if she’d used State.gov, which is also not a clas­si­fied sys­tem. The idea that, oh this would have been fine if she used State.gov, not legal­ly, no dif­fer­ence. . . . Ignatius respond­ed by explain­ing that experts he spoke with dis­missed as far-fetched claims Clin­ton com­mit­ted a crim­i­nal offense. . . . As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, where peo­ple infor­mally and inad­ver­tently draw clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion into their phone con­ver­sa­tions or their unclas­si­fied serv­er con­ver­sa­tions, where there had been a pros­e­cu­tion. . . .”

But dur­ing the rebroad­cast of the seg­ment, Morn­ing Joe cut away from Ignatius’ expla­na­tion mid-sen­tence. Dur­ing the ini­tial broad­cast, Ignatius said (empha­sis added): “As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, where peo­ple infor­mally and inad­ver­tently draw clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion into their phone con­ver­sa­tions or their unclas­si­fied serv­er con­ver­sa­tions, where there had been a pros­e­cu­tion.”

Scar­bor­ough, a for­mer Repub­li­can mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, has a long his­tory of hyp­ing the sup­posed Clin­ton email “scan­dal” [13]despite all evi­dence to the con­trary [14]. He edit­ed Ignatius’s state­ment as fol­lows: “ . . . . As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, . . . ”

It is of more than pass­ing inter­est that echoes from the “Fox News” cham­ber are rip­pling out­ward, fea­tur­ing slant­ed cov­er­age [15] by The New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post. The lat­ter out­lets have con­tract­ed [16] with Peter Schweiz­er, a Koch broth­ers polit­i­cal spear car­ri­er [17] and for­mer aide to Sarah Palin for access­ing his book Clin­ton Cash. Obvi­ous­ly, this rais­es seri­ous ques­tions about their objec­tiv­i­ty.

As Bernie Sanders con­tin­ues his attacks on Clin­ton, it is worth not­ing the extent to which Cit­i­zens Unit­ed has pro­pelled much of the anti-Clin­ton pro­pa­gan­da.  The cen­ter­piece of the Cit­i­zens Unit­ed case was an anti-Hillary doc­u­men­tary! [18] (Cit­i­zens Unit­ed is a fre­quent tar­get of Sanders’ rhetor­i­cal flour­ish­es.) Of the links between Fox News, New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post col­lab­o­ra­tor Peter Schweitzer and the Koch broth­ers, their anti-Clin­ton cam­paign and the Cit­i­zens Unit­ed milieu:

” . . . . Bardel­la declined to answer whether Schweiz­er was speak­ing in a fundrais­ing capac­ity for [Schweiz­er’s orga­ni­za­tion] GAI, or whether Schweiz­er or GAI received any funds from Koch-affil­i­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

Stephen Ban­non, the direc­tor of con­ser­v­a­tive pro­pa­ganda films like the Sarah Palin biopic “The Unde­feated” and a fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor with Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions, chairs GAI’s board. Anoth­er GAI board mem­ber is Ron Robin­son, who also sits on the boards of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Foun­da­tion.

Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions was the plain­tiff in the Supreme Court case Cit­i­zens Unit­ed v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion – the deci­sion that rolled back sig­nif­i­cant cam­paign finance law per­tain­ing to inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures. At the cen­ter of that land­mark case was a polit­i­cal doc­u­men­tary-cum-attack ad on Hillary Clin­ton called “Hillary: The Movie,” released ahead of the 2008 pri­mary. [18] Now near­ly eight years lat­er ahead of the 2016 pri­mary, Schweitzer has pub­lished what could be con­sid­ered the fol­low-up, Hillary: The Book. . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

1. Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of Hillary Clin­ton’s e‑mail serv­er, we high­light the fol­low­ing details, gen­er­al­ly either unknown and/or under­re­port­ed in the main­stream media:

FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clin­ton Were Labeled As “Clas­si­fied” Or “Top Secret [8]

FACT: Emails Orig­i­nat­ed In State Dept. Sys­tem, And Ques­tions About Retroac­tive Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Would Have Occurred Regard­less Of Clin­ton’s Serv­er Use [9]

FACT: Experts Have Debunked Any Com­par­i­son Between Clin­ton’s Email Use And David Petraeus’ Crimes [10]

FACT: IG Refer­ral To Jus­tice Depart­ment Was Not Crim­i­nal, And FBI Isn’t Tar­get­ing Clin­ton Her­self [11]

“Myths and Facts on Hillary Clinton’s Email and Reports of ‘Top Secret’ Mate­ri­als” by Lis Pow­er and Katie Sul­li­van; Media Mat­ters; 8/12/2015. [23]

 Media are exploit­ing news that two emails Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton turned over to the State Depart­ment from her time as sec­re­tary of state may be retroac­tive­ly clas­si­fied as “top secret” to push myths about Clin­ton’s han­dling of gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion and scan­dal­ize her email use. Here are the facts.

FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clin­ton Were Labeled As “Clas­si­fied” Or “Top Secret [8]

FACT: Emails Orig­i­nat­ed In State Dept. Sys­tem, And Ques­tions About Retroac­tive Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Would Have Occurred Regard­less Of Clin­ton’s Serv­er Use [9]

FACT: Experts Have Debunked Any Com­par­i­son Between Clin­ton’s Email Use And David Petraeus’ Crimes [10]

FACT: IG Refer­ral To Jus­tice Depart­ment Was Not Crim­i­nal, And FBI Isn’t Tar­get­ing Clin­ton Her­self [11]

Intelligence Community IG Says Two Emails From Clinton’s Server Should Be Marked “Top Secret”

Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Inspec­tor Gen­er­al Says Two Emails From Clin­ton’s Serv­er Con­tain “Top Secret” Infor­ma­tion. The inspec­tor gen­er­al for the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty (ICIG), I. Charles McCul­lough, report­ed­ly informed lead­ers of key con­gres­sion­al over­sight com­mit­tees that two clas­si­fied emails pre­vi­ous­ly dis­cov­ered on Clin­ton’s serv­er con­tain top secret infor­ma­tion. As McClatchy report­ed:

The inspec­tor gen­er­al for the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty noti­fied senior mem­bers of Con­gress that two of four clas­si­fied emails dis­cov­ered on the serv­er Clin­ton main­tained at her New York home con­tained mate­r­i­al deemed to be in one of the high­est secu­ri­ty clas­si­fi­ca­tions — more sen­si­tive than pre­vi­ous­ly known.

The notice came as the State Depart­ment inspec­tor gen­er­al’s office acknowl­edged that it is review­ing the use of “per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions hard­ware and soft­ware” by Clin­ton’s for­mer top aides after requests from Con­gress. [McClatchy DC, 8/11/15 [24]]

State Depart­ment: It Remains Unclear Whether Mate­r­i­al In Two Emails Should Be Retroac­tive­ly Clas­si­fied. NBC not­ed that the State Depart­ment is still work­ing with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty to deter­mine whether the infor­ma­tion in the two emails should in fact be labeled as clas­si­fied:

Clin­ton aides have main­tained that noth­ing on her serv­er was clas­si­fied at the time she saw it, sug­gest­ing that clas­si­fied mes­sages were giv­en the label after the fact.

John Kir­by, a spokesman for the State Depart­ment, said that was the case with two emails, adding that it remained unclear “whether, in fact, this mate­r­i­al is actu­al­ly clas­si­fied.”

“Depart­ment employ­ees cir­cu­lat­ed these emails on unclas­si­fied sys­tems in 2009 and 2011, and ulti­mate­ly some were for­ward­ed to Sec­re­tary Clin­ton,” Kir­by said Tues­day. “They were not marked as clas­si­fied.” [NBC News, 8/12/15 [25]]

MYTH: Clinton Received Emails Marked As “Top Secret”

Fox Anchor Bret Baier: “ ‘Top Secret’ Was Marked On The Emails” Sent To Clin­ton. Dur­ing the August 11 edi­tion of Spe­cial Report, host Bret Baier claimed that “ ‘top secret’ was marked on the emails” that Clin­ton received dur­ing her time as sec­re­tary of state:

MIKE EMANUEL: The break­ing news of the hour is that the intel­li­gence inspec­tor gen­er­al has told top law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill that two of those four clas­si­fied emails from Hillary Clin­ton’s per­son­al serv­er were top secret in nature. And they’re still study­ing the oth­er two to fig­ure out what the rel­e­vant clas­si­fi­ca­tion should be. Bret?

BRET BAIER: ‘Top secret’ marked on the emails. FBI inquiry obvi­ous­ly already ongo­ing to clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion improp­er­ly stored, they said, on her pri­vate serv­er. And also, Mike, a thumb dri­ve held by her attor­ney?

EMANUEL: Well that’s absolute­ly cor­rect. All of her emails have been stored by her per­son­al attor­ney. And a lot of folks on Capi­tol Hill have been ask­ing, why is that still out there? Why is that not con­trolled by the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty or by the State depart­ment, this exist­ing in the pos­ses­sion of a per­son­al attor­ney. And so lots more ques­tions on Capi­tol Hill and through­out the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty this evening. [Fox News, Spe­cial Report8/11/15 [26]]

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: ICIG “Con­tra­dict­ed Clin­ton’s Repeat­ed Claim That Noth­ing On Those Pri­vate Emails Was Clas­si­fied.” On the August 12 edi­tion of NBC’s Today, Andrea Mitchell argued that the ICIG’s state­ment “con­tra­dict­ed” Clin­ton’s “repeat­ed past denials”:

ANDREA MITCHELL: More con­tro­ver­sy for Hillary Clin­ton today indeed. Despite her repeat­ed past denials, the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s Inspec­tor Gen­er­al now says two of her emails should have been clas­si­fied ‘top secret,’ the high­est lev­el of U.S. intel­li­gence, even as the FBI is final­ly get­ting con­trol of that pri­vate serv­er.

VOICEOVER OF MITCHELL: Hillary Clin­ton, in New Hamp­shire Tues­day, has aides con­firm she has turned over her pri­vate serv­er to the FBI. In addi­tion, her attor­ney David Kendall gave the FBI two thumb dri­ves con­tain­ing her emails.  All of this, as the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s watch­dog con­tra­dict­ed Clin­ton’s repeat­ed claim that noth­ing on those pri­vate emails was clas­si­fied.

[CLIP OF HILLARY CLINTON: I did not email any clas­si­fied mate­r­i­al to any­one on my email. There is no clas­si­fied mate­ri­als.]

MITCHELL: Clin­ton has said there was no clas­si­fied mark­ings on any of her emails.

[CLIP OF CLINTON: I am con­fi­dent that I have nev­er sent nor received any infor­ma­tion that was clas­si­fied at the time it was sent and received.]

MITCHELL: But the Inspec­tor Gen­er­al has now told Con­gress two of Clin­ton’s emails should have been clas­si­fied ‘top secret,’ with code words indi­cat­ing elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping from satel­lites, so sen­si­tive it could not be shared with for­eign allies. [NBC, Today8/12/15 [27]]

FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clinton Were Labeled As “Classified” Or “Top Secret”

Gov­ern­ment Offi­cials: None Of The Emails Were Marked As “Clas­si­fied” When They Were Sent.The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed that when the ICIG first “found infor­ma­tion that should have been des­ig­nat­ed as clas­si­fied” in four emails from Clin­ton’s serv­er — two of which he now says con­tain “top secret” infor­ma­tion — gov­ern­ment offi­cials acknowl­edged that the emails were not marked as clas­si­fied when they were sent (empha­sis added):

The Jus­tice Depart­ment said Fri­day that it has been noti­fied of a poten­tial com­pro­mise of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion in con­nec­tion with the pri­vate e‑mail account that Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton used while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state.

A Jus­tice offi­cial said the depart­ment had received a “refer­ral” on the mat­ter, which the inspec­tor gen­er­al of the intel­li­gence agen­cies lat­er acknowl­edged came from him.

The inspec­tor gen­er­al, I. Charles McCul­lough III, said in a sep­a­rate state­ment that he had found infor­ma­tion that should have been des­ig­nat­ed as clas­si­fied in four e‑mails out of a “lim­it­ed sam­ple” of 40 that his agency reviewed. As a result, he said, he made the “secu­ri­ty refer­ral,” act­ing under a fed­er­al law that requires alert­ing the FBI to any poten­tial com­pro­mis­es of nation­al secu­ri­ty infor­ma­tion.

[...]

Offi­cials acknowl­edged that none of the e‑mails reviewed so far con­tain infor­ma­tion that was marked clas­si­fied when they were sent. But a new inquiry would pro­long the polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy Clin­ton is fac­ing over her un­or­tho­dox e‑mail sys­tem. [The Wash­ing­ton Post7/24/15 [28]]

IG Memo On Clas­si­fied Infor­ma­tion In Emails: “None Of The Emails ... Had Clas­si­fi­ca­tion Or Dis­sem­i­na­tion Mark­ings.” A memo from the ICIG clear­ly stat­ed that “none of the emails we reviewed had clas­si­fi­ca­tion or dis­sem­i­na­tion mark­ings”:

Since the ref­er­enced 25 June 2015 noti­fi­ca­tion, we were informed by State FOIA offi­cials that there are poten­tial­ly hun­dreds of clas­si­fied emails with­in the approx­i­mate­ly 30,000 pro­vid­ed by for­mer Sec­re­tary Clin­ton.  We note that none of the emails we reviewed had clas­si­fi­ca­tion or dis­sem­i­na­tion mark­ings, but some includ­ed IC-derived clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion and should have been han­dled as clas­si­fied, appro­pri­ate­ly marked, and trans­mit­ted via a secure net­work.  Fur­ther, my office’s lim­it­ed sam­pling of 40 of the emails revealed four con­tained clas­si­fied IC infor­ma­tion which should have been marked and han­dled at a SECRET lev­el. [Inspec­tor Gen­er­al of the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty, 7/23/15 [29]]

MYTH: Emails Weren’t Marked As “Classified” Because Clinton Used A Private Server Instead Of State Dept. Email

Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy: Emails “Were Nev­er Clas­si­fied” Because Clin­ton Used A Pri­vate Serv­er Rather Than The State Depart­men­t’s Email Sys­tem. Through­out the August 12 edi­tion of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy repeat­ed­ly blamed the lack of clas­si­fi­ca­tion on Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate serv­er instead of “the State Depart­ment email sys­tem,” argu­ing the emails “were nev­er clas­si­fied because she nev­er sub­mit­ted it” (empha­sis added):

STEVE DOOCY: The prob­lem here is the fact that she did­n’t want her boss­es at the White House to know what she was writ­ing about, it is per­ceived.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO: She also did­n’t want her col­leagues in the State Depart­ment to know.

DOOCY: Right. So she had her own serv­er, which is, you know, against pro­to­col. Her spokes­peo­ple, and she her­self has said, you know, it was­n’t clas­si­fied at the time. But that ignores how the process works. The rea­son you use the State Depart­ment email sys­tem is so that it is clas­sif — it is vet­ted before you hit ‘send.’

NAPOLITANO: She is prob­a­bly going to argue that because the phrase, boom, ‘top secret’ was not stamped on each doc­u­ment, it was­n’t top secret. That’s not what the law says. Before every per­son in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, from the pres­i­dent to a file clerk, gets a nation­al secu­ri­ty clear­ance, they have a 30 minute in-per­son inter­view with an FBI agent who explains, if there’s doubt about whether it’s clas­si­fied or not, it’s clas­si­fied.

DOOCY: Let me just add this one thing. It was nev­er clas­si­fied because she nev­er sub­mit­ted it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/12/15 [30]]

FACT: Emails Originated In State Dept. System And Questions About Retroactive Classification Would Have Occurred Regardless Of Clinton’s Server Use

Emails Orig­i­nat­ed With State Depart­ment Employ­ees And Were For­ward­ed To Clin­ton. The State Depart­men­t’s state­ment on the retroac­tive “top secret” des­ig­na­tion made clear that the emails at issue orig­i­nat­ed with State Depart­ment employ­ees, not Clin­ton her­self:

The fol­low­ing is attrib­ut­able to Spokesper­son John Kir­by:

“The State Depart­ment takes seri­ous­ly its oblig­a­tions to pro­tect sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion, hold­ing its employ­ees to a high stan­dard of com­pli­ance with reg­u­la­tions and pro­ce­dures.

“The Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty has rec­om­mend­ed that por­tions of two of the four emails iden­ti­fied by the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty’s Inspec­tor Gen­er­al should be upgrad­ed to the Top Secret lev­el. Depart­ment employ­ees cir­cu­lat­ed these emails on unclas­si­fied sys­tems in 2009 and 2011 and ulti­mate­ly some were for­ward­ed to Sec­re­tary Clin­ton.  They were not marked as clas­si­fied.

“These emails have not been released to the pub­lic. While we work with the Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence to resolve whether, in fact, this mate­r­i­al is actu­al­ly clas­si­fied, we are tak­ing steps to ensure the infor­ma­tion is pro­tect­ed and stored appro­pri­ate­ly.” [Twitter.com, 8/11/15 [31]]

Clin­ton Cam­paign: Emails Orig­i­nat­ed From “Unclas­si­fied .Gov Email Sys­tem.” A fact sheet released by the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign for the for­mer sec­re­tary of state explains that the emails at issue orig­i­nat­ed on “the unclas­si­fied .gov email sys­tem”:

Would this issue not have arisen if she used a state.gov [32] email address?

Even if Clin­ton’s emails had been on a gov­ern­ment email address and gov­ern­ment device, these ques­tions would be raised pri­or to pub­lic release.

While State Depart­men­t’s review of her 55,000 emails brought the issue to the Inspec­tors Gen­er­als’ atten­tions, the four emails were on the unclas­si­fied .gov email sys­tem. They were not on the sep­a­rate, closed sys­tem used by State Depart­ment for han­dling clas­si­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tions. [hillaryclinton.com [33], “Updat­ed: The Facts About Hillary Clin­ton’s Emails,” accessed 8/12/15 [34]]

Vox: Whether Or Not Emails Should Have Been Marked Clas­si­fied Is Part Of “Bureau­crat­ic Turf War.” Vox point­ed out how the intra-agency dis­agree­ment over whether the emails were appro­pri­ate­ly cat­e­go­rized “is a bureau­crat­ic fight about how the State Depart­ment has han­dled the emails, not about Hillary Clin­ton” (empha­sis added):

The State Depart­ment has been ordered by a fed­er­al judge to make pub­lic the 55,000 pages of emails Clin­ton turned over to the agency. So the State Depart­ment has Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act experts sift­ing through the doc­u­ments to make sure that no infor­ma­tion will be released that is either clas­si­fied or sen­si­tive (mean­ing not tech­ni­cal­ly clas­si­fied but also not cov­er­ing mate­r­i­al that the gov­ern­ment does­n’t want in the pub­lic domain).

This has caused a bureau­crat­ic turf war between the depart­ment and the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, which believes at least one email that’s already been released con­tains clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion and that hun­dreds of oth­ers in the full set may also have mate­r­i­al that’s not ready for pub­lic con­sump­tion. For a cou­ple of months, the inspec­tors gen­er­al of the State Depart­ment and the com­bined intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty agen­cies have been bat­tling Patrick Kennedy, the lead State Depart­ment offi­cial, over who has access to the doc­u­ments and the author­i­ty to release or with­hold them.

Now, accord­ing to the Times and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions, the IG team is ask­ing the Jus­tice Depart­ment to get involved in review­ing whether State has mis­han­dled the emails. If Clin­ton was send­ing infor­ma­tion that was, or should have been, clas­si­fied — and knew that it was, or should have been, clas­si­fied — that’s a prob­lem. But no one has accused her of that so far. Giv­en the ano­dyne nature of what she sent in the emails we’ve already seen, it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble, per­haps even like­ly, that any sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion was sent to Clin­ton, not by her (though it’s not clear whether for­ward­ing such emails would con­sti­tute a legal issue for her). [Vox, 7/28/15 [35]]

MYTH: Hillary Clinton’s Email Use Is Comparable To David Petraeus’ Crimes

Doocy: Clin­ton’s Email Use Is “The Same Thing That David Petraeus Plead­ed Guilty To.” On the August 12 edi­tion of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Doocy hyped the debunked claim that Clin­ton’s email use was sim­i­lar to Gen. David Petraeus’ ille­gal mis­han­dling of con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion:

DOOCY: Big ques­tion is — Will this Depart­ment of Jus­tice go ahead and ful­ly pros­e­cute? Because, keep in mind, she had unau­tho­rized, for a home serv­er, top secret doc­u­ments, which was a direct vio­la­tion of the U.S. laws. It’s the same that David Petraeus plead­ed guilty to. He had the same stuff at his house. She had at it at her house. He got, you know, they ran him up the flag pole, will they do the same for her? [Fox News, Fox & Friends,8/12/15 [36]]

Fox Judi­cial Ana­lyst Implies Clin­ton’s Email Use Is Worse Than Petraeus’ Crimes. Appear­ing on the August 12 edi­tion of Fox & Friends, senior judi­cial ana­lyst Andrew Napoli­tano claimed “it’s a grave sit­u­a­tion” for Hillary Clin­ton, argu­ing that Gen. Petraeus only had “the low­est lev­el mate­ri­als in a desk draw­er” while Clin­ton “had top secret mate­ri­als in the serv­er in her barn”:

NAPOLITANO: Here’s why it’s a grave sit­u­a­tion. A fed­er­al judge ordered the State Depart­ment to reveal — to make pub­lic — emails she had giv­en back to the State Depart­ment. The recip­i­ents of those e‑mails was the inspec­tors gen­er­al of State Depart­ment and  of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. They ran­dom­ly sam­pled 40 of them. Among the 40, they found four that were clas­si­fied.

[...]

They then revealed that they then sent that to FBI to com­mence either a crim­i­nal or a nation­al secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tion, and they sent it to the Sen­ate and House Intel­li­gence and Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tees. Last night they revealed that two of the four were top secret. What does top secret mean? The gov­ern­ment has three clas­si­fi­ca­tions — the high­est is top secret. Mean­ing if it’s revealed, it could cause grave harm to nation­al secu­ri­ty. The mid­dle is secret, mean­ing if it’s revealed, it could cause seri­ous harm to nation­al secu­ri­ty. The bot­tom is con­fi­den­tial, mean­ing if it’s revealed, it could cause some hard to nation­al secu­ri­ty. Gen­er­al Patreaus was indict­ed, pros­e­cut­ed, and con­vict­ed for hav­ing con­fi­den­tial, the low­est lev­el mate­ri­als in a desk draw­er in his house. Mrs. Clin­ton, it has now been revealed, had top secret mate­ri­als in the serv­er in her barn at Chap­paqua. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/12/15 [30]]

FACT: Experts Have Debunked The Comparison — Petraeus Knowingly Mishandled Classified Documents, Whereas Clinton Had Authorization To Use Private Email, And There’s No Evidence She Knowingly Emailed Classified Information

Petraeus Pled Guilty To Vio­lat­ing 18 U.S.C. § 1924, “Unlaw­ful­ly And Know­ing­ly” Mov­ing Clas­si­fied Mate­ri­als “With Intent To Retain Such Doc­u­ments ... At Unau­tho­rized Loca­tions.” Petraeus pled guilty to one count of vio­lat­ing Title 18, Unit­ed States Code, Sec­tion 1924:

Between in or about August 2011 and on or about April 5, 2013, defen­dant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS, being an employ­ee of the Unit­ed States, and by virtue of his employ­ment, became pos­sessed of doc­u­ments and mate­ri­als con­tain­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion of the Unit­ed States, and did unlaw­ful­ly and know­ing­ly remove such doc­u­ments and mate­ri­als with­out author­i­ty and with the intent to retain such doc­u­ments and mate­ri­als at unau­tho­rized loca­tions, aware that these loca­tions were unau­tho­rized for the stor­age and reten­tion of such clas­si­fied doc­u­ments and mate­ri­als;

All in vio­la­tion of Title 18, Unit­ed States Code, Sec­tion 1924. [U.S. v. Petraeus, Bill of Infor­ma­tion, 3/3/15 [37]]

NY Times: “There Has Nev­er Been Any Legal Pro­hi­bi­tion Against” Using Per­son­al Email Accounts. Despite hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly scan­dal­ized Clin­ton’s use of pri­vate emails as “alarm­ing,” the Times lat­er clar­i­fied that “there has nev­er been any legal pro­hi­bi­tion” against the prac­tice and that “[m]embers of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s cab­i­net” use a “wide vari­ety of strate­gies” to han­dle their emails:

Mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s cab­i­net have a wide vari­ety of strate­gies, short­cuts and tricks for han­dling their email, and until three months ago there was no law set­ting out pre­cise­ly what they had to do with it, and when. And while the major­i­ty of Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials use gov­ern­ment email to con­duct their busi­ness, there has nev­er been any legal pro­hi­bi­tion against using a per­son­al account. [The New York Times3/13/15 [38]]

State Dept: Clin­ton Pre­served And Pro­vid­ed Emails In Line With 2009 Reg­u­la­tion And How We Han­dled Records At The Time. At the March 3 dai­ly press brief­ing, State Depart­ment deputy spokesper­son Marie Harf explained that Clin­ton turned over 55,000 pages of doc­u­ments as part of the State Depart­men­t’s “process of updat­ing our records man­age­ment” and empha­sized that Clin­ton is the only for­mer sec­re­tary of state to have done so. From Har­f’s brief­ing:

HARF: When in the process of updat­ing our records man­age­ment — this is some­thing that’s sort of ongo­ing giv­en tech­nol­o­gy and the changes — we reached out to all of the for­mer sec­re­taries of state to ask them to pro­vide any records they had. Sec­re­tary Clin­ton sent back 55,000 pages of doc­u­ments to the State Depart­ment very short­ly after we sent the let­ter to her. She was the only for­mer Sec­re­tary of State who sent doc­u­ments back in to this request. These 55,000 pages cov­ered her time, the breadth of her time at the State Depart­ment. [State Depart­ment Dai­ly Press Brief­ing,3/3/15 [39]]

Clin­ton: “I Am Con­fi­dent That I Nev­er Sent Or Received Any Infor­ma­tion That Was Clas­si­fied At The Time.” Clin­ton told reporters on July 26 that she nev­er sent or received infor­ma­tion that she knew was clas­si­fied at the time:

Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton said she nev­er know­ing­ly sent or received clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion using her pri­vate email serv­er and did not know what mes­sages were being cit­ed by intel­li­gence inves­ti­ga­tors as exam­ples of emails con­tain­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion.

[...]

“I am con­fi­dent that I nev­er sent or received any infor­ma­tion that was clas­si­fied at the time it was sent and received. What I think you’re see­ing here is a very typ­i­cal kind of dis­cus­sion, to some extent dis­agree­ment among var­i­ous parts of the gov­ern­ment, over what should or should not be pub­licly released,” she said. [Asso­ci­at­ed Press, 7/26/15 [40]]

Direc­tor Of Project On Gov­ern­ment Secre­cy: “There’s No Com­par­i­son Between The Clin­ton Email Issue And The Petraeus Case.” Steven After­good told The Wash­ing­ton Times that “[e]veryone agrees that there was no infor­ma­tion in the Clin­ton emails that was marked as clas­si­fied,” and there­fore Clin­ton’s actions bear no resem­blance to Petraeus’s:

While offi­cials comb­ing tens of thou­sands of emails that moved through Mrs. Clin­ton’s serv­er have point­ed to the pres­ence of “hun­dreds” of pieces of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion — appar­ent­ly none of the mes­sages had any offi­cial clas­si­fi­ca­tion mark­ings on them.

It’s a sit­u­a­tion that has trig­gered heat­ed debate over the extent to which such infor­ma­tion was­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly clas­si­fied at the time Mrs. Clin­ton was email­ing it.

“To the best of my under­stand­ing, there is no com­par­i­son between the Clin­ton email issue and the Petraeus case,” says Steven After­good, who heads the Project on Gov­ern­ment Secre­cy at the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Sci­en­tists. “Every­one agrees that there was no infor­ma­tion in the Clin­ton emails that was marked as clas­si­fied. So it would be dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble to show that those who sent or received the emails know­ing­ly or neg­li­gent­ly mis­han­dled clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion.” [The Wash­ing­ton Times8/2/15 [41]]

Gov­ern­ment Secre­cy Expert: “There’s No Case” Against Clin­ton If She Did­n’t Know­ing­ly Mis­use Clas­si­fied Infor­ma­tion. William Jef­fress, an attor­ney who has han­dled gov­ern­ment secre­cy cas­es, told Time:

Legal­ly, the ques­tion is pret­ty clear-cut. If Clin­ton know­ing­ly used her pri­vate serv­er to han­dle clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion she could have a prob­lem. But if she did­n’t know the mate­r­i­al was clas­si­fied when she sent or received it she’s safe.

[...]

Clin­ton has explic­it­ly and repeat­ed­ly said she did­n’t know­ing­ly send or receive any clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. “The facts are pret­ty clear,” she said last week­end in Iowa, “I did not send nor receive any­thing that was clas­si­fied at the time.” Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Inspec­tor Gen­er­al I. Charles McCul­lough III, dis­agrees, say­ing some of the mate­r­i­al was in fact clas­si­fied at the time it was sent. But in his let­ter last week to Con­gres­sion­al intel­li­gence com­mit­tee lead­ers, McCul­lough report­ed that, “None of the emails we reviewed had clas­si­fi­ca­tion or dis­sem­i­na­tion mark­ings.” And there has been no indi­ca­tion Clin­ton knew she was send­ing and receiv­ing any­thing clas­si­fied.

The pub­lic does­n’t yet know the con­tent of the clas­si­fied emails, and the State Depart­ment and the inspec­tors gen­er­al have tens of thou­sands still to review. If evi­dence emerges that Clin­ton knew she was han­dling secrets on her pri­vate serv­er, “She could have a prob­lem,” says William Jef­fress, a lead­ing crim­i­nal tri­al lawyer at Bak­er Botts who has rep­re­sent­ed gov­ern­ment offi­cials in secre­cy cas­es. Bar­ring that, says Jef­fress, “there’s no way in the world [pros­e­cu­tors] could ever make a case” against her. [Time7/29/15 [38]]

MYTH: Clinton Is The Subject Of A Federal Criminal Investigation

Fox’s Chris Stire­walt: Clin­ton Might Be “The Sub­ject Of A Fed­er­al Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion.” On the August 12 edi­tion of Fox News’ Amer­i­ca’s News­room, dig­i­tal edi­tor Chris Stire­walt claimed that Clin­ton might become “the first major par­ty nom­i­nee that is the sub­ject of a fed­er­al crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion.” [Fox News, Amer­i­ca’s News­room8/12/15 [42]]

FACT: IG Referral To Justice Department Was Not Criminal, And FBI Isn’t Targeting Clinton Herself

Reuters: Inspec­tor Gen­er­al Refer­ral Is Not Crim­i­nal. Reuters report­ed on July 24 that there was “no crim­i­nal refer­ral over [the] Clin­ton emails”:

The Jus­tice Depart­ment said Fri­day it has received a request to exam­ine the han­dling of clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion relat­ed to the pri­vate emails from Hillary Clin­ton dur­ing her time as sec­re­tary of state, but it is not a crim­i­nal refer­ral. [Reuters, 7/24/15 [43]]

AP: U.S. Offi­cial Said That Request Of DOJ “Does­n’t Sug­gest Wrong­do­ing By Clin­ton Her­self.” The Asso­ci­at­ed Press quot­ed an anony­mous U.S. offi­cial who not­ed that the refer­ral did not impli­cate Clin­ton in any wrong­do­ing:

The New York Times first report­ed the refer­ral. The Clin­ton cam­paign said Fri­day that she “fol­lowed appro­pri­ate prac­tices in deal­ing with clas­si­fied mate­ri­als.” Spokesman Nick Mer­rill said emails deemed clas­si­fied by the admin­is­tra­tion were done so after the fact, not when they were sent.

One U.S. offi­cial said it was unclear whether clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion was mis­han­dled and the refer­ral does­n’t sug­gest wrong­do­ing by Clin­ton her­self. [Asso­ci­at­ed Press, 7/24/15 [44]]

Wash. Post: Offi­cials Say Clin­ton “Is Not A Tar­get” Of FBI Probe. The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed that gov­ern­ment offi­cials said Clin­ton is “not a tar­get” of the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion:

Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s attor­ney has agreed to pro­vide the FBI with the pri­vate serv­er that housed her e‑mail dur­ing her four years as sec­re­tary of state, Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign said Tues­day.

[...]

The inquiry by the FBI is con­sid­ered pre­lim­i­nary and appears to be focused on ensur­ing the prop­er han­dling of clas­si­fied mate­r­i­al. Offi­cials have said that Clin­ton, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner, is not a tar­get.

The FBI’s efforts have includ­ed con­tact­ing the Den­ver-based tech­nol­o­gy firm that helped man­age the Clin­tons’ unusu­al pri­vate ­e‑mail sys­tem. [The Wash­ing­ton Post8/11/15 [45]]

 

2. A piece by long­time polit­i­cal crit­ic Nor­man Orn­stein high­lights The New York Times’ cov­er­age of Hillary Clin­ton.

The New York Times’ Botched Sto­ry on Hillary Clin­ton” by Norm Orn­stein; The Atlantic; 7/28/2015. [15]

I have read The New York Times since I was a teenag­er as the news­pa­per to be trust­ed, the paper of record, the defin­i­tive account. But the huge embar­rass­ment over the sto­ry claim­ing a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion of Hillary Clin­ton for her emails—leading the web­page, promi­nent on the front page, before being cor­rect­ed in the usu­al, cringe­wor­thy fash­ion of jour­nal­ists who stonewall any alleged errors and then down­play the real ones—is a direct chal­lenge to its fun­da­men­tal cred­i­bil­i­ty. And the paper’s response since the ini­tial huge error was uncov­ered has not been ade­quate or accept­able.

This is not some minor mis­take. Sto­ries, once pub­lished, take on a life of their own. If they rein­force exist­ing views or stereo­types, they fit per­fect­ly into Mark Twain’s obser­va­tion, “A lie can trav­el halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” (Or per­haps Twain nev­er said it [46], in which case the ubiq­ui­ty of that attri­bu­tion serves to val­i­date the point.) And a dis­tort­ed and inac­cu­rate sto­ry about a promi­nent polit­i­cal fig­ure run­ning for pres­i­dent is espe­cial­ly dam­ag­ing and uncon­scionable.

I give kudos to the paper for hav­ing a pub­lic edi­tor. Mar­garet Sullivan’s long analy­sis of the mul­ti­ple mis­cues was itself hon­est and straight­for­ward. But it raised its own ques­tions, for me at least, espe­cial­ly sur­round­ing the sourc­ing. Here is what top edi­tor Matt Pur­dy said about the story’s sources: They were “mul­ti­ple, reli­able, high­ly placed” and includ­ed some “in law enforce­ment.” What does that mean? First, it means that some of the sources were not in law enforce­ment. If they were from Con­gress, and, per­haps from Trey Gowdy’s spe­cial com­mit­tee on Beng­hazi, it would not be the first time that com­mit­tee has been a like­ly source for a front-page Times sto­ry on Clin­ton.

“We got it wrong because our very good sources got it wrong,” Pur­dy said. Excuse me—how are these “very good sources” if they mis­lead reporters about the fun­da­men­tal facts? Were the con­gres­sion­al sources—no doubt “very good” because they are eager­ly acces­si­ble to the reporters—careless in read­ing the refer­ral doc­u­ments, or delib­er­ate­ly mis­lead­ing the reporters? We know that a very good reporter for­mer­ly with The Times, Kurt Eichen­wald, read the mem­os [47] from the inspec­tors gen­er­al about the Clin­ton emails and quite read­i­ly came to the con­clu­sion that this had noth­ing to do with a crim­i­nal refer­ral, but instead reflect­ed a fair­ly com­mon con­cern regard­ing the recent release of par­tic­u­lar doc­u­ments under Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, FOIA, long after Clin­ton left the State Depart­ment.

Dean Baquet, the exec­u­tive edi­tor of The Times, does not fault his reporters. “You had the gov­ern­ment con­firm­ing that it was a crim­i­nal refer­ral,” he said. That raised anoth­er ques­tion. What is “the gov­ern­ment?” Is any employ­ee of the Jus­tice Depart­ment con­sid­ered the gov­ern­ment? Was it an offi­cial spokesper­son? A career employ­ee? A pol­i­cy-lev­el per­son, such as an assis­tant attor­ney gen­er­al or deputy assis­tant attor­ney gen­er­al? One defin­i­tive­ly with­out an ax to grind? Did the DOJ offi­cial tell the reporters it was a crim­i­nal refer­ral involv­ing Clin­ton, or a more gen­er­al crim­i­nal refer­ral? And if this was a mis­take made by an offi­cial spokesper­son, why not iden­ti­fy the offi­cial who screwed up big­time?

When very good sources get a big sto­ry wrong, and reporters, with­out see­ing the doc­u­ments, accept their char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the facts and put it on the front page, they have an oblig­a­tion to tell read­ers more about who those sources were and about why they got it wrong. And as Eichen­wald notes, the sub­ject of whether the doc­u­ments were a crim­i­nal refer­ral, and whether they involved Hillary Clin­ton direct­ly, were not the only major errors in the story—for exam­ple, the Times sto­ry inac­cu­rate­ly says that the pri­vate Clin­ton email account was not sub­ject to the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act. A com­bi­na­tion of errors on a huge, front-page story—and there is no fault on the part of the reporters? Hmmm.

This sto­ry, of course, also has a larg­er con­text. Michael Schmidt’s March sto­ry, the first on the pri­vate Clin­ton email serv­er, was itself “not with­out fault [48],” The Times’ pub­lic edi­tor con­clud­ed.* [49] And The Times, going back to the mul­ti­ple, front page sto­ries on White­wa­ter in the 1990s—claiming mas­sive malfea­sance that was seri­ous­ly exaggerated—has raised many eye­brows over its decades-long treat­ment of the Clin­tons, in news pages and columns.

One might argue that this should make the paper and its edi­tors espe­cial­ly sen­si­tive to avoid­ing over­reach and inac­cu­ra­cies in sto­ries about the Clin­tons. I won’t make that claim. Rather, the paper of record needs to be deeply sen­si­tive at all times to inac­cu­rate report­ing and needs to respond with more than the usu­al buried cor­rec­tions. The Times’ edi­to­r­i­al page right­ly holds pub­lic fig­ures account­able for malfea­sance and mis­fea­sance. The same stan­dards should apply to The Times. This sto­ry demands more than a promise to do bet­ter the next time, and more than a shrug, as Matt Pur­dy and Dean Baquet gave, with Pur­dy blam­ing the sources and Baquet say­ing of his reporters, “I am not sure what they could have done dif­fer­ent­ly on that.”

I am. Hold­ing a sto­ry until you are sure you have the facts—as oth­er reporters did, with, it seems, “gov­ern­ment offi­cials” shop­ping the sto­ry around—or wait­ing until you can actu­al­ly read the doc­u­ments instead of rely­ing on your good sources, so to speak, pro­vid­ing mis­lead­ing and slant­ed details, is what they could have done dif­fer­ent­ly. If reporters are hot to pub­lish their scoops, it is up to edi­tors, in Wash­ing­ton and New York, to put the brakes on. And that is espe­cial­ly true if reporters have pre­vi­ous­ly made mis­takes and over­reached on sto­ries. Some­one should be held account­able here, with sus­pen­sion or oth­er action that fits the grav­i­ty of the offense. I want, and need, the old New York Times, the leader of respon­si­ble jour­nal­ism, the paper of record back.

3. Fox News, The New York Times, and The Wash­ing­ton Post have all signed a con­tract for exclu­sive agree­ments with the author of an upcom­ing book about Hillary Clin­ton and the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion. It wasn’t sur­pris­ing that Fox signed up for the deal since the author, Peter Schweiz­er, runs a right-wing knock off of the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Office (called the “Gov­ern­ment Account­abiltiy Insti­tute”) and pre­vi­ously served as an advis­er to Sarah Palin. For the New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post, the deci­sion raised a few eye­brows: [16]

“. . . . Still oth­ers defend­ed the agree­ment, not­ing that it was no dif­fer­ent from using a campaign’s oppo­si­tion research to inform one’s report­ing — so long as that research is fact-checked and vet­ted. A spokesper­son for the Times did not pro­vide com­ment by press time. . . . ” LOL [50].

So with the New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post also jump­ing on board with this book, the ques­tion is raised of whether or not we’re about to see a full blown zom­bie ideas apoc­a­lypse [51] of Clin­ton-era con­spir­acy the­o­ries already or if this is just a teas­er for the 2016 zom­bie inva­sion?

After all, one of the biggest threats to Hillary Clinton’s can­di­dacy is prob­a­bly some sort of dor­mant 1990’s PTSD man­i­fest­ing itself as a vague ‘Clin­ton Fatigue’. But ‘Clin­ton Fatigue’ is just not very like­ly [52] to be a major fac­tor unless the GOP scan­dal machine can cre­ate a new scan­dal that has some legs (which is what this new book seems to be attempt­ing). But if they can’t dig up a new scan­dal with teeth, the obvi­ous back up plan is to just throw­ing every­thing at the fan and hope the splat­ter ends up mak­ing Hillary une­lec­table and that’s obvi­ously going to include a big rehash­ing of the scan­dals, real and oth­er­wise, from the 90’s. Will The New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post be on board for a full fledged 90’s rehash? Based on sign­ing up for exclu­sive deals with a for­mer Palin advis­er it seems like the answer is a ‘maybe’.

But just throw­ing old s@#t at the Hillary-fan doesn’t come with­out enor­mous risks that don’t exist for most oth­er politi­cians. Why? Because the oth­er side of a sto­ry from the 90’s, the Clin­tons’ side, is that a vast right-wing con­spir­acy spent eight years doing every­thing they could to destroy the Clin­tons and it didn’t work. And it’s not some casu­al risk for the GOP that the ‘right-wing con­spir­acy’ his­tor­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion wins the day because we’ve just spent the eight years watch­ing the GOP go even cra­zier than they were were in the 90’s while oper­at­ing in ‘Tal­iban’ mode [53].

That’s all why, in a strange way, Hillary Clin­ton is a kind of night­mare can­di­date for the con­tem­po­rary GOP specif­i­cally because get­ting attacked by a vast right-wing con­spir­acy is sort of her ‘brand’ at this point and the GOP has spent the last 6 1/2 years bla­tantly behav­ing like a vast right-wing con­spir­acy against Barack Oba­ma. Grant­ed, it was pret­ty bla­tant in the 90’s too, but this is now fresh in people’s minds. And don’t for­get: the GOP’s crazy far right “firebrand“s from from the 90’s [54] are now the mod­er­ates of a par­ty that pub­licly acts like a vast right-wing con­spir­acy. The par­ty has just got­ten so much cra­zier over the past two decades and any­one like Hillary that prompts a ‘then and now’ com­par­i­son of the 90’s GOP with today’s GOP just invites a very unfa­vor­able com­par­i­son because the GOP of the 90’s was total­ly insane by objec­tive stan­dards and yet so much more sane then than it is today.

So, the way the polit­i­cal chess board is set at this point, just as the Clin­ton-era 90’s scan­dals are bound to be tar­gets of media focus, the ‘vast right-wing con­spir­acy’ itself, which was always in part a media-based phe­nom­ena [55], is also guar­an­teed to be part of the dis­cus­sion. It’s real­ly just a ques­tion of whether or not Fox News and the tra­di­tional right-wing medi­a­s­phere com­pro­mise the bulk of the vast right-wing con­spir­acy this time around or whether or not the main­stream media insti­tu­tions like The New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post decide to jump on board too. This recent deci­sion by the New York Times and Wash­ing­ton Post may not bode well but there’s a lot of time between now and the 2016 elec­tions with many, many more zom­bie ideas that they’ll get to choose to pro­mote or ignore. A Clin­ton-con­spir­a­cy zom­bie apoc­a­lypse takes a while to play out. Whether it involves or few mis­steps or one long sham­ble [56] remains to be seen.

“New York Times, Wash­ing­ton Post, Fox News Strike Deals for Anti-Clin­ton Research” by Dylan ByerPoliti­co [16] [16]4/20/15. [16]

 The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post and Fox News have made exclu­sive agree­ments with a con­ser­v­a­tive author for ear­ly access to his oppo­si­tion research on Hillary Clin­ton, a move that has con­founded mem­bers of the Clin­ton cam­paign and some reporters, the On Media blog has con­firmed.

“Clin­ton Cash: The Untold Sto­ry of How and Why For­eign Gov­ern­ments and Busi­nesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will debut on May 5. But the Times, the Post and Fox have already made arrange­ments with author Peter Schweiz­er to pur­sue some of the mate­r­ial includ­ed in his book, which seeks to draw con­nec­tions between Clin­ton Foun­da­tion dona­tions and speak­ing fees and Hillary Clinton’s actions as sec­re­tary of state. Schweiz­er is the pres­i­dent of the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive research group, and pre­vi­ously served as an advis­er to Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Sarah Palin.

Fox News’ use of Schweizer’s book has sur­prised no one. The bulk of the network’s pro­gram­ming is con­ser­v­a­tive, and the book’s pub­lisher, Harper­Collins, is owned by News Cor­po­ra­tion. But the Times and Post’s deci­sion to part­ner with a par­ti­san researcher has raised a few eye­brows. Some Times reporters view the agree­ment as unusu­al, sources there said. Still oth­ers defend­ed the agree­ment, not­ing that it was no dif­fer­ent from using a campaign’s oppo­si­tion research to inform one’s report­ing — so long as that research is fact-checked and vet­ted. A spokesper­son for the Times did not pro­vide com­ment by press time.

In an arti­cle [57] about the book on Mon­day, the Times said “Clin­ton Cash” was “poten­tially more unset­tling” than oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive books about Clin­ton “both because of its focused report­ing and because major news orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing The Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post and Fox News have exclu­sive agree­ments with the author to pur­sue the sto­ry lines found in the book.”

Both the Times and the Post ini­tially did not respond to requests for com­ment on Mon­day. How­ever, at 2 p.m., hours after the ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion of this item, spokes­peo­ple from both news­pa­pers sent state­ments in which edi­tors defend­ed the deci­sions to work with Schweiz­er.

“We had access to some mate­r­ial in the book, but we want­ed to do our own report­ing,” Times Wash­ing­ton bureau chief and polit­i­cal direc­tor Car­olyn Ryan said.

“We made an arrange­ment with Peter Schweizer’s pub­lisher so we could read his book before pub­li­ca­tion because we are always will­ing to look at new infor­ma­tion that could inform our cov­er­age,” said Post Nation­al Edi­tor Cameron Barr. “Mr. Schweizer’s back­ground and his point of view are rel­e­vant fac­tors, but not dis­qual­i­fy­ing ones. What inter­ests us more are his facts and whether they can be the basis for fur­ther report­ing by our own staff that would be com­pelling to our read­ers. There is no finan­cial aspect to this arrange­ment.”

On Mon­day, a source with knowl­edge of the arrange­ments told the On Media blog that CBS’ “60 Min­utes” and ABC News turned down offers for sim­i­lar exclu­sive access to por­tions of the book’s con­tents. A “60 Min­utes” spokesper­son said only, “We do not dis­cuss the sto­ries we are work­ing on.” An ABC News spokesper­son did not respond to a request for com­ment.

Harper­Collins is mar­ket­ing “Clin­ton Cash” as a “metic­u­lously researched” book that “rais­es seri­ous ques­tions of judg­ment, of pos­si­ble indebt­ed­ness to an array of for­eign inter­ests, and ulti­mately, of fit­ness for high pub­lic office.” In it, Schweiz­er seeks to show how dona­tions to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion and speak­ing fees paid to for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton may have influ­enced Hillary Clinton’s deci­sions at the State Depart­ment.

Clinton’s defend­ers are already slam­ming the book. Media Mat­ters For Amer­ica, the lib­eral watch­dog group found­ed by Clin­ton ally David Brock, pub­lished a report [58] on Mon­day detail­ing “ten inci­dents of sig­nif­i­cant errors, retrac­tions, or ques­tion­able sourc­ing by Schweiz­er.”

“Schweiz­er is a par­ti­san right-wing activist whose writ­ings have been marked with false­hoods and retrac­tions, with numer­ous reporters exco­ri­at­ing him for facts that ‘do not check out,’ sources that ‘do not exist,’ and a basic fail­ure to prac­tice ‘Jour­nal­ism 101,’” Brock said in a state­ment. “Buy­ers should beware and con­sider the source.”

...

 

4. Guess where Peter Schweiz­er, author of “Clin­ton Cash”, gave one of the fea­tured speech­es last sum­mer. Hint: the folks putting on the event are just a pair of cit­i­zens that plan to spend almost a bil­lion dol­lars from their per­sonal cash piles on unit­ing the coun­try in 2016 [59]. It’s a pret­ty big hint [17]:

Cit­i­zens Unit­ed goes all the way back to White­wa­ter [18]. As the say­ing goes, his­tory [60] doesn’t repeat itself, but [61] it [62] does [63] rhyme [64].
“Look Who Was Fea­tured Speak­er at the Koch Sum­mit”  [17]by dig­by; Hul­la­baloo [17] [17]5/01/2015. [17]

Peter Schweiz­er author of “Clin­ton Cash”, who they humor­ously call a “researcher.” And there’s audio of it: [65]

[A]ccording to audio obtained by The Under­cur­rent and Lady Lib­er­tine from a source who was present, Schweiz­er spoke at a polit­i­cal strat­egy sum­mit for the Koch broth­ers last sum­mer, urg­ing donors to relent­lessly pur­sue the left and ral­ly­ing them ahead of a big fundrais­ing pitch. His own orga­ni­za­tion, the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­ity Insti­tute receives fund­ing from Koch-fund­ed groups.

Schweiz­er told the crowd:

That debate is going to come down to the ques­tion of inde­pen­dence ver­sus depen­dence… The left and the aca­d­e­mic sphere is not going to let up. The ques­tion is, are we going to let up? And I would con­tend to you that we can­not let up.

Asked if “Clin­ton Cash” was moti­vated by this strat­egy of relent­less pur­suit, Kurt Bardel­la, whose firm, Endeav­or Strate­gies, rep­re­sents Schweiz­er, said:

As he has in sev­eral speech­es as a life­long con­ser­v­a­tive, Schweiz­er was espous­ing his view that con­ser­v­a­tives should be informed, engaged, and active.

Kevin Gen­try, the emcee and a vice pres­i­dent of the Charles Koch Foun­da­tion, lat­er named “com­pet­i­tive intel­li­gence,” the busi­ness ter­mi­nol­ogy equiv­a­lent of oppo­si­tion research, as one of the enu­mer­ated Koch polit­i­cal invest­ment areas.

...

You can find a tran­script at the link [65]

He’s a Koch hit­man:

Schweizer’s speech, enti­tled “The Stakes: Who Will Define the Amer­i­can Dream,” teed up the Kochs’ appeal to raise $290 mil­lion in dona­tions for their fundrais­ing hub, Free­dom Part­ners, its affil­i­ated net­work of non-prof­its, and a new­ly cre­ated super-PAC called Free­dom Part­ners Action Fund. Bardel­la declined to answer whether Schweiz­er was speak­ing in a fundrais­ing capac­ity for GAI, or whether Schweiz­er or GAI received any funds from Koch-affil­i­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

Stephen Ban­non, the direc­tor of con­ser­v­a­tive pro­pa­ganda films like the Sarah Palin biopic “The Unde­feated” and a fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor with Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions, chairs GAI’s board. Anoth­er GAI board mem­ber is Ron Robin­son, who also sits on the boards of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Foun­da­tion.

Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions was the plain­tiff in the Supreme Court case Cit­i­zens Unit­ed v. Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion – the deci­sion that rolled back sig­nif­i­cant cam­paign finance law per­tain­ing to inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures. At the cen­ter of that land­mark case was a polit­i­cal doc­u­men­tary-cum-attack ad on Hillary Clin­ton called “Hillary: The Movie,” released ahead of the 2008 pri­mary. Now near­ly eight years lat­er ahead of the 2016 pri­mary, Schweitzer has pub­lished what could be con­sid­ered the fol­low-up, Hillary: The Book.

 

5. Giv­en the alarm­ing lev­els of Hillary Derange­ment Syn­drome [20] already afflict­ing [15] much of the US media estab­lish­ment, you have to won­der if Steve Burke, the Com­cast exec­u­tive who over­sees the NBCU­ni­ver­sal TV and enter­tain­ment unit (and who also hap­pens to have been a major George W. Bush fundrais­er [21]), is in any way try­ing to ensure stuff like this hap­pens.


“MSNBC’s Morn­ing Joe Edits Out David Ignatius’ Debunk­ing Of Clin­ton Email ‘Scan­dal’ ” by Craig Har­ring­ton and Tim­o­thy John­son; Media Mat­ters;
9/4/2015. [12]

Ignatius: “I Couldn’t Find A Case Where This Kind Of Activ­ity Had Been Pros­e­cuted... Legal­ly There Is No Dif­fer­ence Between [Clin­ton] Using Her Pri­vate Serv­er And If She’d Used State.gov”

Dur­ing an appear­ance on MSNBC’s Morn­ing Joe, Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist David Ignatius thor­oughly debunked argu­ments that Hillary Clin­ton should be charged with a crime as a result of her use of a pri­vate email sys­tem while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state. When MSNBC re-aired the first hour of its pro­gram lat­er in the morn­ing, the bulk of Ignatius’ debunk­ing had been edit­ed out.

On the Sep­tem­ber 4 edi­tion of Morn­ing Joe, co-hosts Joe Scar­bor­ough and Mika Brzezin­ski con­tin­ued their efforts to stoke con­tro­versy around Hillary Clinton’s email prac­tices while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state. Both Scar­bor­ough and Brzezin­ski sug­gested that guest David Ignatius was sim­ply “get­ting tired” of the wall-to-wall media cov­er­age direct­ed at Clin­ton after the colum­nist authored an August 28 op-ed in The Wash­ing­ton Post argu­ing that “this ‘scan­dal’ is over­stated.” Ignatius respond­ed by explain­ing that experts he spoke with dis­missed as far-fetched claims Clin­ton com­mit­ted a crim­i­nal offense.

But dur­ing the rebroad­cast of the seg­ment, Morn­ing Joe cut away from Ignatius’ expla­na­tion mid-sen­tence. Dur­ing the ini­tial broad­cast, Ignatius said (empha­sis added), “As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, where peo­ple infor­mally and inad­ver­tently draw clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion into their phone con­ver­sa­tions or their unclas­si­fied serv­er con­ver­sa­tions, where there had been a pros­e­cu­tion.”

When the seg­ment re-aired, Ignatius is heard say­ing, “As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this,” before the show skipped for­ward to a remark by co-host Mika Brzezin­ski about Clin­ton aide Cheryl Mills.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the rebroad­cast failed to include the con­clu­sion of Ignatius’ thought, which is that Clinton’s email prac­tices do not amount to a pros­e­cutable offense, accord­ing to sev­eral expert attor­neys he talked to. Here are Ignatius’ unedit­ed remarks (empha­sis added):
[see video of full [12]]

JOE SCARBOROUGH: David, so you have over the past week or two turned a bit in some of your edi­to­r­ial, in some of your op-eds, you’ve said you would rather hear Hillary’s pol­icy posi­tions than more talk about the servers, you said you don’t think she faces any crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion. You haven’t exact­ly said noth­ing is here, move along, move along, but you’ve cer­tain­ly –

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Get­ting tired of it, which is what they’re hop­ing.

SCARBOROUGH: — Yeah, I mean aren’t you play­ing into what the Clin­ton sort of scan­dal response team wants, which is so much stuff comes at you that at some point you just say, “Come on, let’s just move on.”

DAVID IGNATIUS: Joe, I’ve tried to respond as a jour­nal­ist but in par­tic­u­lar I’ve tried to look at what is a real pros­e­cutable offense here. There are vio­la­tions clear­ly both of admin­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dure and prob­a­bly tech­ni­cally of law and how clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion was han­dled. As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, where peo­ple infor­mally and inad­ver­tently draw clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion into their phone con­ver­sa­tions or their unclas­si­fied serv­er con­ver­sa­tions, where there had been a pros­e­cu­tion.

[CROSS TALK]

SCARBOROUGH: But this isn’t hap­pen­stance. This is a very cal­cu­lated move to say if you want to com­mu­ni­cate with the Sec­re­tary of State, as Edwards Snow­den said, whether you are a for­eign diplo­mat or a spy chief from anoth­er coun­try or a leader of anoth­er coun­try, which they all did, you’ve got to come to this unse­cured serv­er, whether it is in Col­orado or wher­ever it is, and there is a stan­dard in the U.S. Code under pros­e­cu­tions for this sort of thing which is gross neg­li­gence. It’s not a know or should have known -

[...]

IGNATIUS: This issue comes up sur­pris­ingly often because there is an admin­is­tra­tive prob­lem where peo­ple do these things and their secu­rity offi­cers sum­mon them and warn them and issue rep­ri­mands and it goes in their file and it’s a seri­ous per­son­nel admin­is­tra­tive prob­lem. My only point is I couldn’t find a case where this kind of activ­ity had been pros­e­cuted and that’s just worth not­ing as we assem­ble our Clin­ton e‑mail — and more thing, Joe, legal­ly there is no dif­fer­ence between her using her pri­vate serv­er and if she’d used State.gov, which is also not a clas­si­fied sys­tem. The idea that, oh this would have been fine if she used State.gov, not legal­ly, no dif­fer­ence.

Here is how Morn­ing Joe re-aired the seg­ment:

[see replayed video of above seg­ment where where every­thing after “As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this” is edit­ed out [12]]

Scar­bor­ough, a for­mer Repub­li­can mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, has a long his­tory of hyp­ing the sup­posed Clin­ton email “scan­dal” [13]despite all evi­dence to the con­trary [14]. He recent­ly claimed that Clin­ton inten­tion­ally timed a press con­fer­ence to coin­cide with a mass-shoot­ing in Vir­ginia [66] and false­ly claimed that Clin­ton white­washed a for­eign country’s ties to inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism in exchange for a char­i­ta­ble dona­tion [67] to her fam­ily foun­da­tion. As I talked to a half dozen of lawyers who do noth­ing but this kind of work, they said they couldn’t remem­ber a case like this, where peo­ple infor­mally and inad­ver­tently draw clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion into their phone con­ver­sa­tions or their unclas­si­fied serv­er con­ver­sa­tions, where there had been a pros­e­cu­tion. . . .

6. Repub­li­can James Comey–a Mitt Rom­ney sup­port­er in 2012–is tak­ing actions that are caus­ing seri­ous prob­lems for the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and for the Hillary Clin­ton can­di­da­cy. In par­tic­u­lar, the e‑mail scan­dal appears to have been Comey’s baby.

He has also ruf­fled feath­ers with the alto­geth­er com­pli­cat­ed Apple “ISIS­pho­ne” con­tro­ver­sy. That con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant case, Byzan­tine in its com­plex­i­ty and mul­ti-dimen­sion­al­i­ty (to coin a term) will be dealt with in a future pro­gram.

Comey was pre­vi­ous­ly the gen­er­al coun­sel for Bridge­wa­ter Asso­ciates [68], a hedge fund that helped cap­i­tal­ize Palan­tir, which (their dis­claimers to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing) makes the Prism soft­ware that is at the epi­cen­ter of “L’Af­faire Snow­den.” (CORRECTION: In past pro­grams and posts, we incor­rect­ly iden­ti­fied Comey as gen­er­al coun­sel for Palan­tir, not Bridge­wa­ter.)

The Bridgewater/Palantir/Comey nexus is inter­est­ing, nonethe­less. Palan­tir’s top stock­hold­er [69] is Peter Thiel, a backer of Ted Cruz [70] and the man who pro­vid­ed most of the cap­i­tal for Ron Paul’s 2012 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Ron Paul’s Super PAC was in–of all places–Provo Utah, Rom­ney coun­try. Paul is from Texas. The alleged mav­er­ick Paul was, in fact, close to Rom­ney [71].

Recall that “Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” [72] is a big Ron Paul fan and Bruce Fein, Snow­den’s first attor­ney and the coun­sel for the Snow­den fam­i­ly, was the chief legal coun­sel for Ron Paul’s cam­paign.

The pos­si­ble impli­ca­tions of these rela­tion­ships are worth con­tem­plat­ing and will be dis­cussed at greater length in future pro­grams.

“Comey’s FBI Makes Waves” by Cory Ben­nett and Julian Hat­tem; The Hill; 3/09/2016 [19].

The aggres­sive pos­ture of the FBI under Direc­tor James Comey is becom­ing a polit­i­cal prob­lem for the White House.

The FBI’s demand that Apple help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardi­no killers has out­raged Sil­i­con Val­ley, a sig­nif­i­cant source of polit­i­cal sup­port for Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Democ­rats.

Comey, mean­while, has stirred ten­sions by link­ing ris­ing vio­lent crime rates to the Black Lives Mat­ter movement’s focus on police vio­lence and by warn­ing about “gaps” in the screen­ing process for Syr­i­an refugees.

Then there’s the biggest issue of all: the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the pri­vate email serv­er used by Hillary Clin­ton, Obama’s for­mer sec­re­tary of State and the lead­ing con­tender to win the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

A deci­sion by the FBI to charge Clin­ton or her top aides for mis­han­dling clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion would be a shock to the polit­i­cal sys­tem.

In these cas­es and more, Comey — a Repub­li­can who donat­ed in 2012 to Mitt Rom­ney — has proved he is “not attached to the strings of the White House,” said Ron Hosko, the for­mer head of the FBI’s crim­i­nal inves­tiga­tive divi­sion and a crit­ic of Obama’s law enforce­ment strate­gies.

Pub­licly, admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials have not betrayed any wor­ry about the Clin­ton probe. They have also down­played any dif­fer­ences of opin­ion on Apple.

But for­mer offi­cials say the FBI’s moves are clear­ly ruf­fling feath­ers with­in the admin­is­tra­tion.

With regards to the Apple stand­off, “It’s just not clear [Comey] is speak­ing for the admin­is­tra­tion,” said Richard Clarke, a for­mer White House coun­tert­er­ror­ism and cyber­se­cu­ri­ty chief. “We know there have been admin­is­tra­tion meet­ings on this for months. The pro­pos­al that Comey had made on encryp­tion was reject­ed by the admin­is­tra­tion.”

Comey has a rep­u­ta­tion for speak­ing truth to pow­er, dat­ing back to a dra­mat­ic con­fronta­tion in 2004 when he rushed to a hos­pi­tal to stop the Bush White House from renew­ing a war­rant­less wire­tap­ping pro­gram while Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft was grave­ly ill. Comey was Ashcroft’s deputy at the time.

That show­down won Comey plau­dits from both sides of the aisle and made him an attrac­tive pick to lead the FBI. But now that he’s in charge of the agency, the pres­i­dent might be get­ting more than he bar­gained for.

“Part of his role is to not nec­es­sar­i­ly be in lock step with the White House,” said Mitch Sil­ber, a for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cial with the New York City Police Depart­ment and cur­rent senior man­ag­ing direc­tor at FTI Con­sult­ing.

“He takes very seri­ous­ly the fact that he works for the exec­u­tive branch,” added Leo Tad­deo, a for­mer agent in the FBI’s cyber divi­sion. “But he also under­stands the impor­tance of main­tain­ing his inde­pen­dence as a law enforce­ment agency that needs to give not just the appear­ance of inde­pen­dence but the real­i­ty of it.”

The split over Clinton’s email serv­er is the most polit­i­cal­ly charged issue fac­ing the FBI, with noth­ing less than the race for the White House poten­tial­ly at stake.

Oba­ma has pub­licly defend­ed Clin­ton, say­ing that while she “made a mis­take” with her email set­up, it was “not a sit­u­a­tion in which America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty was endan­gered.”

But the FBI direc­tor has bris­tled at that state­ment, say­ing the pres­i­dent would not have any knowl­edge of the inves­ti­ga­tion. Comey, mean­while, told law­mak­ers last week that he is “very close, per­son­al­ly,” to the probe.

Obama’s com­ments reflect­ed a pat­tern, sev­er­al for­mer agents said, of the pres­i­dent mak­ing improp­er com­ments about FBI inves­ti­ga­tions. In 2012, he made sim­i­lar­ly dis­mis­sive com­ments about a pend­ing inquiry into then-CIA Direc­tor David Petraeus, who lat­er plead­ed guilty to a mis­de­meanor charge for giv­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion to his mis­tress and biog­ra­ph­er, Paula Broad­well.

“It serves no one in the Unit­ed States for the pres­i­dent to com­ment on ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tions,” Tad­deo said. “I just don’t see a pur­pose.”

Hosko sug­gest­ed that a show­down over poten­tial crim­i­nal charges for Clin­ton could lead to a reprise of the famous 2004 hos­pi­tal scene, when Comey threat­ened to resign.

“He has that man­tle,” Hosko said. “I think now there’s this expec­ta­tion — I hope it’s a fair one — that he’ll do it again if he has to.”

Comey’s inde­pen­dent streak has also been on dis­play in the Apple fight, when his bureau decid­ed to seek a court order demand­ing that the tech giant cre­ate new soft­ware to bypass secu­ri­ty tools on an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two ter­ror­ist attack­ers in San Bernardi­no, Calif.

Many observers ques­tioned whether the FBI was mak­ing an end-run around the White House, which had pre­vi­ous­ly dis­missed a series of pro­pos­als that would force com­pa­nies to decrypt data upon gov­ern­ment request.

“I think there’s actu­al­ly some peo­ple that don’t think with one mind­set on this issue with­in the admin­is­tra­tion,” said Sen. Tom Carp­er (D‑Del.), the Sen­ate Home­land Secu­ri­ty Committee’s top Demo­c­rat, at a Tues­day hear­ing. “It’s a tough issue.”

While the White House has repeat­ed­ly backed the FBI’s deci­sion, it has not ful­ly endorsed the poten­tial pol­i­cy ram­i­fi­ca­tions, leav­ing some to think a gap might devel­op as sim­i­lar cas­es pop up. The White House is poised to soon issue its own pol­i­cy paper on the sub­ject of data encryp­tion.

“The posi­tion tak­en by the FBI is at odds with the con­cerns expressed by indi­vid­u­als [in the White House] who were look­ing into the encryp­tion issue,” said Neema Singh Guliani, a leg­isla­tive coun­sel with the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union (ACLU).

This week, White House home­land secu­ri­ty advis­er Lisa Mona­co tried to down­play the dif­fer­ences between the two sides. The White House and FBI are both grap­pling with the same prob­lems, she said in a dis­cus­sion at the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions.

“There is a recog­ni­tion across the admin­is­tra­tion that the virtues of strong encryp­tion are with­out a doubt,” Mona­co said on Mon­day. “There is also uni­for­mi­ty about the recog­ni­tion that strong encryp­tion pos­es real chal­lenges.”

7. The so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor con­tin­ues to par­rot the dis­in­for­ma­tion about Clin­ton being “GOP-lite.” How many of you knew this?: ” . . . . Indeed, when Clin­ton served in the Sen­ate, she was con­sid­ered the 11th most lib­er­al sen­a­tor [7]. That’s basi­cal­ly in the top 20 per­centile in terms of lib­er­al votes. That’s lightyears away from being a DINO. . . .”

“Ready for Hillary Derange­ment Syn­drome” by Bob Cesca; The Dai­ly Ban­ter; 4/13/2015. [20]

. . . . One thing that has­n’t changed, how­ev­er, is the per­va­sive­ness of Hillary Derange­ment Syn­drome, from both the left and the right (though as you’ll see, the right’s derange­ment is far worse). Sun­day’s Polit­i­cal Twit­ter turned in it’s most insuf­fer­able day since the tan suit deba­cle last Labor Day — every­one weigh­ing in with both recy­cled old boil­er­plate crit­i­cisms of Clin­ton, as well as some tru­ly despi­ca­ble new ones. Let’s begin with the left.

Hillary is Repub­li­can-lite.

No, no she’s not, actu­al­ly. Admit­ted­ly, she’s not Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑VT) either. Then again, Bernie Sanders would be une­lec­table nation­al­ly. Nev­er­the­less, this car­i­ca­ture of Clin­ton main­ly has to do with her for­eign pol­i­cy posi­tions — at least the ones we know of. And oth­er than her 2002 vote in sup­port of the Iraq Autho­riza­tion for Use of Force (AUMF), she’s large­ly in line with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma on preda­tor drones, inter­ven­tion, NSA oper­a­tions and so forth.

That aside, watch care­ful­ly to see if any Repub­li­cans release a video favor­ably show­ing two men hold­ing hands. Else­where, Clin­ton will like­ly appoint cen­ter-left jus­tices to the Supreme Court; she’ll veto any leg­is­la­tion to repeal Oba­macare; and she’ll con­tin­ue the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s approach to the cli­mate cri­sis. All of that aside, the whole “GOP-lite” meme is just anoth­er ver­sion of the “both par­ties are the same” meme — it’s good for some RTs on Twit­ter, but makes lit­tle sense in terms of a break-down of Clin­ton’s posi­tions on the issues. Indeed, when Clin­ton served in the Sen­ate, she was con­sid­ered the 11th most lib­er­al sen­a­tor [7]. That’s basi­cal­ly in the top 20 per­centile in terms of lib­er­al votes. That’s lightyears away from being a DINO. . . .