There are so many things to talk about this day. I have to divvy them up and dedicate some time to each of them over the next few days. So much to say and comment on.
The first I want to go over is Donald Trump’s assertion during the second debate that Hillary Clinton should be in jail for the way – the criminal way – she mishandled national security emails, including by her placement of them on a private computer server.
Hillary said that Trump’s assertion was false, indicating there was nothing true to his claim that she could be successfully prosecuted, i.e., that she had done no thing criminal.
Is Trump correct? Is Hillary correct?
To answer that question, we have to ask, “What was the legal standard for the handling of classified and national security material” and “Did Hillary Clinton violate that standard”.
(As a side note to those who may check my grammar, etc., sentences which do not ask a question but talk about asking a question are sentences that end in a period. Such sentences can give the writer and the reader an odd feel when the question mark is missing, but in the end, they are actually declarative sentences.)
To this end, we must distinguish between the protocols established by the state department and the president and the requirements of the law of the land, both which relate to the handling of classified material and for the communication of national security information. Without question, Hillary violated her own state department protocols and the mandate of the president. Those violations, while reckless, selfish, and mulish, are not criminal in nature, though they do carry penalties, none of which were applied to her.
A number of federal sections deal with classified information handling, including 18 US Code Section 798, 18 US Code Section 1924, and 50 US Code Section 435a. The section that applies to her best is §1924, which reads in part:
“(a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”
Q1. Was Hillary Clinton an officer of the government?
A1. Yes, as secretary of state, a cabinet member and agency head, Hillary Clinton was an officer of the government.
Q2. Did Hillary “become possessed of materials containing classified information?
A2. Yes, emails that she originated, and which belonged to the U.S. Government’s Department of State, and emails which came to her from the Department of State and its sources, she stored on her personal server. Her statements to the contrary were lies, and FBI Director James Comey said as much.
Q3. Did Hillary knowingly remove such materials “without authority”?
A3. Yes. Hillary has repeatedly stated that they were authorized, using the passive voice to indicate someone other than herself gave that authorization. At other times she stated that it was allowed. Neither the director of Central Intelligence, the head of oversight of classified material, nor the president authorized her to remove such materials or said she was allowed to do so. In fact, President Obama’s Executive Order 13526, issued in 2009 and which covered most if not all of her time as SoS, prohibits such removal. All the varieties of Hillary’s statements to the contrary were lies, and FBI Director James Comey said so.
Q4. Did Hillary have “the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location”?
A4. Yes, Hillary had the intent to retain such materials at an unauthorized location. How do we know that? We know because the one thing she did tell the truth about was that she wanted to merge her professional and private email accounts on one server for her convenience and that she chose to do so on a personal server she kept at her home in Chappaqua, New York.
Q5. Was Hillary’s personal server at her home in Chappaqua an unauthorized location?
A5. Yes, Hillary’s personal server at her home in Chappaqua was an unauthorized location. How do we know? First, no one authorized her to keep classified material at her home on a personal server. Hillary cannot produce and has not produced any document authorizing her action, nor has she named any person who authorized it. Second, official protocols and practice call for material to be kept and locked up at the State Department or an equivalent action for digital classified material. Third, others, such as General Petraeus and Bryan Nishimura, who were prosecuted and punished under this section, kept hard copies and/or digitized copies of classified material at their houses and, in the case of Nishimura, on his personal, electronic devices at home. Hillary’s action is the same or equivalent (storing, sending, and receiving classified material on her personal server outside the State Department).
Q6. What kind of crimes are violations of this section?
A6. Misdemeanors, it appears, based on the potential for fines and up to one year in prison, or both. Courts fined both Petraeus and Nishimura and both suffered additional penalties, but not prison.
The government could have pursued charges against Hillary under one or more other sections, charges that would have been more serious.
So who was correct? Who was truthful? Donald Trump was.
Hillary lied to you. Again. She will always lie to you, because she will always do things that she needs to lie to you about.
Vote for the person who has been telling you the truth, the person who is tough enough and honest enough to tell you, “I screwed up” and to apologize to you for it on national television.
Don’t vote for the pompous crone that thinks you are too stupid to catch on!