Lazy Saturday Reads: Eghazi!!

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Happy Saturday!!

Has any other presidential candidate in history had to fight the corporate media in addition to attacks from the other party and her opponents for the nomination to the extent that Hillary has to? I don’t think so. In just two days, Iowans will head to the caucuses. What “bombshells” will the media find to hype against Hillary before Monday night?

Today it’s “Eghazi” once again. Yesterday, the State Department announced that some of Clinton’s emails have been retroactively deemed to be “top secret.” The emails were not sent by Hillary from her private email server. They were sent to her by other people using the State Departments unclassified email server, because the information was not classified at the time.

Unfortunately, someone in the “intelligence community”–presumably GOP partisan(s)–told the State Department they cannot release these emails, so now the Hillary haters can speculate to their hearts’ content. Some of these withheld emails were exchanges between then Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama! But you know, “Benghazi!!” Eghazi!!

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I’ll post just one corporate media article about this from eminent Clinton hater and Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza: Hillary Clinton’s email defense just hit a major bump in the road. Seriously? Oh, and the article is accompanied by an unflattering photo of Hillary frowning.

For months, Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have stuck to a consistent story line when faced with allegations of classified information on the private server she used exclusively as secretary of state: She was the victim of an overzealous intelligence community bent on categorizing information as top secret or classified when it was, in fact, neither.

That defense hit a major snag on Friday when the State Department announced that it, too, had found “top secret” information on Clinton’s server — 22 emails across seven separate emails chains. The information, the State Department said, was so secret that those emails would never be released to the public.

Suddenly Clinton’s narrative of an overly aggressive intelligence community or a broader squabble between the intelligence world and the State Department didn’t hold water. Or at least held a whole lot less water than it did prior to Friday afternoon.

The Clinton team quickly pivoted. “After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails,” said campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.

Calling for the release of the allegedly top secret emails is a smart gambit by the Clinton folks since it makes them look as if they have nothing to hide while being protected by the near-certainty that the State Department won’t simply change its mind on the release because the Clinton team asked them to.

Still, the timing of the State Department announcement, coming just three days before the pivotal Iowa caucuses, and the nature of that announcement seem likely to further complicate a situation that has already caused Clinton and her campaign huge amounts of agita since the existence of her private email server was revealed almost one year ago to the day.

You can read more Cillizza lies and distortion at the link.

1402956532996.cachedIt’s not likely you’ll see the true story in the corporate media, so here are some calmer responses from people who actually know what they’re talking about. By the way Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon is one of those people. He was previously director of communications for the Department of Justice and dealt with classified material on a daily basis.

Why does the Clinton campaign want the emails released if they are show shocking? Because they’re not.

This from Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

From Hillary:

So what is really happening? As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing new here. It’s all about politics and trying to keep Hillary Clinton from becoming POTUS.

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Max Fisher at Vox: The Hillary Clinton top-secret email controversy, explained.

If it’s top secret, then it must be really sensitive, right?

Not necessarily. A large proportion of documents that our government classifies are not actually that sensitive — more on that below. So the key thing now is to try to figure out: Were these emails classified because they contain highly sensitive information that Clinton never should have emailed in the first place, or because they were largely banal but got scooped up in America’s often absurd classify-everything practices? [….]

According to a statement by the State Department, “These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.”

In other words, they do not contain information that was “born classified,” but rather fall into the vast gray area of things that do not seem obviously secret at the time but are later deemed that way — not always for good reason.

Go over to Vox to read about “America’s problem with overclassification.”

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Big Tent Democrat AKA ArmandoKos at Talk Left: eGhazi: Same BS IC story: different day. Check the links in the post also if you want to know more.

Josh Gerstein and Rachel Bade:

The furor over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account grew more serious for the Democratic presidential front-runner Friday as the State Department designated 22 of the messages from her account “top secret.” [. . .]

These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent [and they weren’t sent by Clinton imo – BTD my emhphasis] ,” Kirby said in a statement.

Sound familiar? It should because it is the same story I’ve been writing about since this nonsense started. See in particular State v. IC classification battles:

Now what does this mean? It means the Intelligence Community, represented here by the IC IG, disagrees with the State Department’s determination on the classification of certain information contained in the Clinton e-mails. In their opinion, the information should have been designated classified and should be so designated now. But State does not agree.

Now what were those “classified documents then? I reviewed some that got through. As you can see, the IC is full of crap.What about this batch? I think we can safely say that the bulk of these are news stories discussing drone strikes.

Gerstein writes:

The messages deemed “secret” also vary widely. One from Feb. 25, 2012, appears to discuss U.S. drone operations in Pakistan.”This is hitting the news, with Taliban or HQN [the Haqqani Network] claiming responsibility,” State policy planning chief Jake Sullivan wrote to Clinton. The message originated with the U.S. Ambassador in In Pakistan, Dick Hoagland. Nearly all the text is deleted, but press reports that day described the crash of a drone in North Waziristan.

U.S. drones in Pakistan are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, but the program is officially covert and therefore classified, even though President Barack Obama has acknowledged it publicly.

In short it is just more crazy crap from IC – news articles are Top Secret!! seems to be the theory.

But leaving aside the overclassification issue, there is just a little problem for those who want to take Clinton down with this nonsense – she didn’t transmit any of the information – just received it. And the issue is not a private server – after all the State’s unsecure email system would not be appropriate for “classified” material either.

As you have heard from me often, if anyone is in trouble, it will be career State officials like the current Ambassador to Bahrain, William Roebuck, Timothy T. Davis and William J Burns.

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Addicting Info: Hillary Clinton Did Not Send ‘Top Secret’ Emails On Private Server.

To summarize:

  1. There are seven emails which the State Department says are now considered classified.
  2. The emails originated from inside the agency’s unclassified system.
  3. They were not marked ‘classified’ or ‘top secret’ when they were sent.
  4. The emails were not sent by Hillary Clinton, but were sent to her, along with a number of other people.
  5. One of the ‘top secret emails’ is likely a published newspaper article.

In other words, this is not the huge scandal republicans were hoping for. Instead, it’s just another baseless right wing attack on Hillary Clinton that falls apart under even the slightest amount of scrutiny.

Sigh . . . I’m already exhausted from this crap and the weekend is just beginning.

I’ll end with two Politico pieces, one on Bernie Sanders and his campaign’s “foreign policy advisers” and another on Sanders’ claims that he is more electable than Clinton.

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Bernie’s foreign policy deficit. ‘I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,’ says one expert cited by his campaign, by Michael Crowley.

Not long after President Barack Obama ordered U.S. airstrikes in Libya in 2011, his national security adviser, Tom Donilon, trekked to Capitol Hill to brief Democratic senators. After a few minutes of discussion about the military operation, Bernie Sanders took the floor.

To talk about the economy.

“Sanders delivered a meandering manifesto about Democratic messaging on the economy,” says a former Senate chief of staff. “It wasn’t that his insights were wrong. It just wasn’t the time or place. Everyone was thinking, ‘Here goes Bernie!’ ”

Current and former Senate aides call the episode typical of Sanders, who on any given day would rather talk about Wall Street profits than about Middle East conflict….

Sanders has yet to give a speech exclusively on foreign policy, and on Friday his campaign backed away from an earlier commitment to deliver one before the Iowa vote. Numerous Democratic foreign policy insiders contacted by POLITICO could not name anyone who regularly advises the Vermont Senator on world affairs — a stark contrast to a Clinton campaign teeming with several hundred foreign policy advisers.

Oddly, the Sanders campaign is claiming to have foreign policy advisers who had no idea they were advising Bernie.

When asked whether Sanders has a full-time campaign staffer who handles foreign policy issues, his campaign did not respond. And several people whom the Sanders campaign has cited as sources of national security advice tell POLITICO they barely know the socialist firebrand.

“Apparently I had a conversation with him last August,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution Middle East scholar, after checking her calendar upon hearing that her name was on a list of people the Sanders campaign said he had consulted in recent months. “My vague recollection is that it was about [the Islamic State] but I don’t really remember any of the details.” Wittes added that she backs Clinton.

“I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations who says he spoke to Sanders once or twice about the Iran nuclear deal at Sanders’ request in mid-2015.

What the hell? But of course Bernie voted against going into Iraq in 2002, so he’s the real foreign policy expert, right?

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Bernie Sanders might have an electability problem, by Stephen Shepard.

“Not only is Bernie Sanders electable in the general election,” insisted Sanders senior adviser Tad Devine, “he’s a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton in the general election.”

Indeed, public pollsters who’ve conducted surveys in both Iowa and New Hampshire caution that the Sanders team might be misreading the data the campaign is relying on to make its case that Sanders would broaden the Democratic electorate and make more states competitive by luring young, more independently minded voters.

Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey, said the independent voters who are backing Sanders in the primary are more liberal in orientation and would be likely to vote for the Democrat in November anyway.

“It’s a big leap of faith to take primary poll data and jump to the general,” added Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which has conducted recent polls for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. “You do ask the questions, and it tells you something: Hillary has a problem with independents, and Bernie doesn’t. Fast forward to September, October and November. The campaigns will change, and that dynamic will be different.”

Duh. Read the rest at the link.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend. 


33 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Eghazi!!”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I’m so sick and tired of those damn emails!

    • NW Luna says:

      I’m with you. There is no legitimate issue with the emails. The media — and anti-Hillary interests — continue to shout Fire! when there’s nothing there.

    • Fannie says:

      It’s a waste of time!

    • joanelle says:

      On this subject, the Republicans remind me of that old story about the kid digging his way through a room full of horse manure; when asked why he was doing that digging he said “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere.”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    One more quote from the Politico article on Bernie’s lack of foreign policy cred:

    After his arrival in Congress in 1991, Sanders began placing far less emphasis on foreign affairs. In a House floor speech opposing the Gulf War he gave as a freshman congressman, he focused on domestic needs: “The two million homeless people in our country … are not going to win this war. There will be no money to house them,” Sanders said.

    Other liberal Democrats with strong domestic views have still left imprints on foreign policy, noted Mieke Eoyang a former national security aide to several liberal members of Congress, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Sanders’s Democratic Senate colleague from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, was a key player in Obama’s restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba and has fought to link U.S. military aid with human rights.

    “There are progressives who have believed deeply that war and peace are crucial issues for the nation,” said Eoyang, now with the centrist think tank Third Way and an informal adviser to the Clinton campaign. “Bernie wasn’t part of that. He was just missing.”

  3. Sweet Sue says:

    Great work, BB.
    I can see you’re on fire!

  4. bostonboomer says:

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  5. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary and Bernie have pretty much agreed to four more debates.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/c2ad35d1011c4fe29c9cb4eb36511a87

  6. jackyt says:

    The Bill Clinton video brought me to tears… wake up America and jump at the chance to elect the most qualified person in living memory at this critical time! And on another bright note… http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/opinion/sunday/hillary-clinton-endorsement.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-top-region&region=opinion-c-col-top-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-top-region

  7. dakinikat says:

    http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-2016/primary-forecast/iowa-democratic/

    According to our latest polls-plus forecast, Hillary Clinton has a 79% chance of winning the Iowa caucuses.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Media Matters:

    What Polling Data Actually Shows About Hillary Clinton’s Support Among Boomer Women

    http://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2016/01/29/what-polling-data-actually-shows-about-hillary/208277

  9. bostonboomer says:

    More than half of the African American ministers Hillary met with in Philadelphia have already endorsed her, with more endorsements coming.

    NBC News: Clinton Builds Support from Black Ministers

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/clinton-builds-support-black-ministers-n507631

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Des Moines Register poll results:

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    • bostonboomer says:

      Margin of error: +/- 4

    • bostonboomer says:

      Nine percent of caucusgoers are undecided or not committed to a candidate, compared with 14 percent earlier this month. They are part of a larger group of 30 percent who are up for grabs, both those without a first choice and those with a first choice who could still be persuaded to move to another candidate.

      Selzer said the data suggest Clinton’s support is more solid than Sanders’.

      The poll shows 83 percent of Clinton’s caucus supporters have made up their minds going into Monday’s vote, up from 69 percent earlier this month.

      “That’s huge,” Selzer said. “That’s a number any candidate would like to see.”

      Sixty-nine percent of Sanders’ supporters are firmly behind him coming into the caucuses, about the same as earlier this month.

      http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2016/01/30/clinton-keeps-slim-edge-over-sanders-latest-iowa-poll/79537020/

  11. William says:

    Excellent work on giving an overview of the email story. This kind of thing never ends where Clintons are concerned. At about this time in 1992, we were being treated to daily stories about what exactly Bill Clinton had done with regard to his draft status in Arkansas. And how telling that these same email aspects are dressed up as something new, and widely covered on television, with alarming headlines, right before the first caucus event.

    I do hope that Hillary can pull out some kind of victory in Iowa, to quell the media onslaught, if nothing else. With these caucuses, no one can be quite sure how the votes will shake out.

    Sanders may poll better than Hillary in some polls against Republicans, because: 1) Republicans are deliberately skewing the polls, hoping that Sanders somehow gets nominated; 2) The Republicans have attacked Hillary for the last year, while not saying one thing negatve about Sanders, as they desperately want Sanders to be nominated, at which time they will mercilessly attack him as a Socialist, among other things; 3) The general public does not know very much about Sanders, so for them he is a fantasy projection canddiate, which will of course change. The idea that Sanders would fare better in a general election, is intutively ridiculous, and would be, to anyone but the Sanders campaign, and the ever-eager Hillary hating media.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Bernie put a blurb on an anti-Obama book.

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