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Communications Government

State Dept. Releases 5,500 Hillary Clinton Emails, 275 Retroactively Classified (nbcnews.com) 261

An anonymous reader sends this report from NBC News: The State Department on Thursday released 5,500 more pages of Hillary Clinton's emails, but fell short of meeting a court-ordered target of making 82 percent of the former secretary of state's messages public by the end of 2015. The email dump is the latest release from the private server Clinton used during her time as America's top diplomat. The State Department said it failed to meet the court's goal because of "the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule." Portions of 275 documents in the batch were upgraded to classified, though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email, according to the State Department. In total, 1,274 of her emails were retroactively classified by the government before their release.
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State Dept. Releases 5,500 Hillary Clinton Emails, 275 Retroactively Classified

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  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:48PM (#51222761)

    "though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email"

    Legally, it doesn't matter that the emails weren't classified at the time they were sent. Classification doesn't depend on markings, classification depends on content. If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

    These sort of things are too complicated for the public and press to understand, which is why the State Department and Clintons keep saying them. As the Secretary of State, Clinton should be aware of, say, the rules behind classified information.

    If she was anyone else she'd be nailed to the wall already.

    • by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @03:58PM (#51222797)

      Exactly. I've held a Secret clearance for 38 years, and the rules covering this sort of thing are very clear. The penalties include a huge fine and very serious federal prison time.

      • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:20PM (#51222919) Homepage

        Exactly. I've held a Secret clearance for 38 years, and the rules covering this sort of thing are very clear. The penalties include a huge fine and very serious federal prison time.

        Yeah, for you. Too bad your last name isn't "Clinton", eh?

      • Exactly. I've held a Secret clearance for 38 years, and the rules covering this sort of thing are very clear. The penalties include a huge fine and very serious federal prison time.

        When my father got his Top Secret Squirrel clearance, he was a Canadian citizen. Part of the deal was that he needed to become an American citizen. The spooks told him that this was necessary, because if he gave any secrets to the Ruskies, they wanted to be able to hang him. As a Canadian citizen, this would not be possible . . . but as an American citizen, they could.

        He never told me his whole life what he worked on. Only after he died recently, my mother told me, that he helped create the DEW line .

        • by rfengr ( 910026 )

          Only after he died recently, my mother told me, that he helped create the DEW line . . . if anyone is old enough to know what that was.

          Distant Early Warning, a line of radars above the arctic circle to look for Soviet bombers.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @06:16PM (#51223585)

        I've held a Secret clearance for 38 years, and the rules covering this sort of thing are very clear. The penalties include a huge fine and very serious federal prison time.

        I held a secret clearance for 20 years, as a military officer, and while working on defense contracts. The spooks would hold security sweeps about once a month, checking desk drawers, file cabinets, computer drives. The ALWAYS found violations, and the worst consequences were verbal reprimands and mandatory remedial training. No one was ever fired or demoted or paid a fine. Certainly no one went to federal prison.

        • No one was ever fired or demoted or paid a fine.

          I have seen people fired for simple mistakes that did not result in disclosure. Perhaps where the spooks would hold security sweeps was an open secret container -- and therefore not as sever.

          I voted for Hillary in 2008. I won't be voting for her again.

        • Were any of the violations you saw as serious as setting up a personal server for all email? (Thank you for adding some perspective to this regardless)

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          The ALWAYS found violations

          How serious were these violations again? What again would have been a punishment for setting up your own private email server out of the office, bypassing a huge amount of security in the process, and funneling classified information to that server? Would it have been a reprimand or something a bit more serious like huge fines and serious prison time.

        • What would have happened if you emailed satellite imagery to your personal gmail account?
    • If she was anyone else she'd be nailed to the wall already.

      Agreed. However, if the information in those messages wasn't classified when it was sent or when she read them, she wasn't breaking any laws by leaving them on her server. And, to be fair, she wouldn't have had any reason to clear them off the server unless she learned later that somebody had decided that the information should be classified. I'm no fan of hers, and can't imagine any circumstances that would make me want to vote for her but I'
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        However, if the information in those messages wasn't classified when it was sent or when she read them, she wasn't breaking any laws by leaving them on her server. And, to be fair, she wouldn't have had any reason to clear them off the server unless she learned later that somebody had decided that the information should be classified. I'm no fan of hers, and can't imagine any circumstances that would make me want to vote for her but I'm not going to blame her for this. If you want a scapegoat, look at whoever sent those emails and didn't bother to let her know about the change in status.

        Of course she was breaking the laws. Who do you think classifies information? She was not some Joe off the street she was the Secretary of State. She was in a position to know how to classify information and she should have known better AND she should have classified them herself. So 1,274 retroactively classified emails tells me 1,274 times the country was put at risk.

        • Who do you think classifies information?

          Who do YOU think classifies information?

        • Who do you think classifies information?

          Usually some asshole who did something to embarrass himself and doesn't want anyone to know about it.

        • So 1,274 retroactively classified emails tells me 1,274 times the country was put at risk.

          Have you ever had a clearance? 99% of classified material is stuff that was in the newspapers two weeks earlier or other silly nonsense. I remember getting a document once a week that was an English translation done by the CIA of a Ukrainian newspaper. Despite being openly published information, it was always classified "secret". The only reason that I can see, was to make the translator feel like he was doing something important.

      • Had the messages been contained on a secure server, subsequent classification could occur while the entire cache of message was still contained. Residing on a hard drive makes the that a bit difficult.

        Classifying something retroactively seems a bit odd though. If they were on her personal server, not the "official" one, then the messages were already "out in the wild" with no chain of custody. Then again, a previously non-classified message could have been printed and distributed to someone who wouldn't

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Classifying something retroactively seems a bit odd though.

          Yes indeed. My best guess is that whoever went through that email looking for classified stuff ran across things that should have been classified all along and did the retroactive classification bit to keep them from getting out.
        • The headline is misleading. Obviously, reading a document aloud or taking a picture of it doesn't make the information no longer classified. Why? Because it's the INFORMATION that's classified, not the document in it is in. The document may be MARKED "contains classified information ", but it's the information that's secret.

          Most (but not all) classified information is classified based on its source. For example, all photos from spy satellites are classified, so the classification is decided before a part

      • by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas AT dsminc-corp DOT com> on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:22PM (#51222935) Homepage

        You do not understand how classified etc works. It's not about the markings it's about the content. If you can legitimately mark it as classified later it always was classified and she was instructed how to understand this. The corner case is something that seems entirely unrelated to anything and then turns out to be part of a state secret, as in you need other knowledge to know that this is classified. All the markings do it make it entirely unambiguous.

        It realy does not matter if they were or were not classified, 2009 Federal Records Act requires all emails that are part of official business be preserved by the federal government. The Classified not classified bit is political spin to keep the discussion on that not the much broader law she violated.

        • You do not understand how classified etc works. It's not about the markings it's about the content.

          I beg to differ. Back when I was in the USN, I had a Secret clearance, and if it's been pulled, I've never been notified. (It certainly should have been by now, as I got out in early '73.) I never had access to the type of classified information we're talking about here, but I do know that for most people, if a document isn't marked as Classified, the default assumption is that it isn't.
          • by cirby ( 2599 )

            You do not understand how classified etc works. It's not about the markings it's about the content.

            I beg to differ. Back when I was in the USN, I had a Secret clearance, and if it's been pulled, I've never been notified. (It certainly should have been by now, as I got out in early '73.) I never had access to the type of classified information we're talking about here, but I do know that for most people, if a document isn't marked as Classified, the default assumption is that it isn't.

            If you had a Secret clearance back then, it was changed to "inactive" when you left the service. There's almost certainly a piece of paper that you signed when you got out. It's possible to reinstate that clearance within 24 months, but after that time lapses without an active clearance, you have to be re-cleared.

            Most people may believe that part about "if it wasn't marked, it's not classified," but it's a false assumption, and when they gave you the initial briefings for that clearance way back when, they

            • If you had a Secret clearance back then, it was changed to "inactive" when you left the service.

              Good. I may have known that back then, but I recycled those neurons decades ago. And, some of that Secret material was automatically declassified after (I think.) seven years, meaning long enough for everybody who knew it to have forgotten the details.

              More to the point, a lot of the information in the Clinton emails was initially classified and marked as such - but someone took the markings off when they s
              • Not sure about the early 70's but in the mid 90's when I no longer had a need for clearance I no longer had it and had to sign a bunch of paperwork to that effect.

                That clown would be her.

      • It was classified. It just wasn't marked classified, which was the responsibility of the creators who had security clearance. ie. Clinton and staff. To think that you can do whatever you want with sensitive information until some bureaucrat marks it classified is ridiculous, and reeks of willful ignorance.
    • by Nkwe ( 604125 )

      Legally, it doesn't matter that the emails weren't classified at the time they were sent. Classification doesn't depend on markings, classification depends on content. If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

      So was the content classified when the emails were originally sent, or was the content later re-categorized as classified? By "content" I mean the information conveyed by the text, not the specific text itself.

      I have not idea what the answer is, but I believe it is the question that should be asked and reported on.

      • That is a good question. But it's irrelevant, in that we've already seen examples of email she kept on her server that DID have born-classified payloads at the time she received it. Never mind that she let her personally employed foundation subordinates sift through it later, or that she put copies of it on thumb drives for her not-cleared lawyer to also keep in his own offices. Truly, any other person would be out of a job and looking for an easy-going thing to confess to, months or years ago.
        • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:22PM (#51222933) Homepage

          That is a good question. But it's irrelevant, in that we've already seen examples of email she kept on her server that DID have born-classified payloads at the time she received it. Never mind that she let her personally employed foundation subordinates sift through it later, or that she put copies of it on thumb drives for her not-cleared lawyer to also keep in his own offices. Truly, any other person would be out of a job and looking for an easy-going thing to confess to, months or years ago.

          Technically, she is out of a job, but that doesn't matter when foreign governments and rich people give you millions of dollars.

    • If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

      Unless the item has been, you know, de-classified.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:25PM (#51222953)

      "though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email"

      My company's policy on email is crystal clear: Company business is done on company systems. It doesn't matter if I am just ordering pencils . . . everything work related has to be able to audit. Same for government stuff . . . if Hilary claims she didn't know that, she lies like a rug. She purposely used a private server, so no one could ever really see what hanky panky she was really up to.

      If she was anyone else she'd be nailed to the wall already.

      I would be nailed by my scrotum on the wall. And a Roman soldier would come by to rub vinegar on my lips and poke me in the ribs with a spear.

      However, as in the words of the Pledge to the Flag: "One Nation, under God, with Freedom and Justice for the rich . . .

      • by judoguy ( 534886 )

        However, as in the words of the Pledge to the Flag: "One Nation, under God, with Freedom and Justice for the rich . . .

        However, as in the words of the Pledge to the Flag: "One Nation, under God, with Freedom and Mercy for the rich . . .

        Fixed it for you. Justice would be great. I'm all for justice for the rich.

      • by AaronW ( 33736 )

        After my company switched to Microsoft Office 365 I had to use an outside email server to access my email because Office365 was so broken. IMAP didn't work at all. 99% of the time I got authentication failures due to problems on their end both for sending and receiving email. This problem lasted for almost a year. I ended up setting up Office365 to forward my email because otherwise I just couldn't access it at all. Eventually my work set me up with a Google account in addition to the Office 365 one.

        Office3

        • Yes, it has been know to be hacked. I'm sure analysis has been done to find out what was compromised, by whom, and measures were put in place to limit the damage. Hillary's server was located in a walk up apartment bathroom. How do we know if her network was compromised? WE DON'T. By whom? NO ONE KNOWS. And what measures were taken to limit the damage? NONE. She was emailing foreign governments with a personal email address you idiot. Every foreign recipient of one of her emails would have known tha
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

      But there were no classified markings to strip originally.

      The whole retroactive classification thing is tricky and can lead to some major problems. People with clearances are prohibited from accessing classified information. Technically, even if they pick up the New York Times and read some of Edward Snowden's data dump, they can be violating rules. Even though the presence of that information is already in a public forum and its presence isn't their doing. Now, retroactively classify something and expect

    • "though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email"

      Legally, it doesn't matter that the emails weren't classified at the time they were sent. Classification doesn't depend on markings, classification depends on content. If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

      The article says that the classification was upgraded later, not that it was stripped from the version she received in her email? Your comments regarding classification and markings are interesting but are they really relevant in this case? Maybe I'm missing something but if the information was not classified, and was subsequently released into a public domain, then the information is retroactively upgraded... it's too late, all originator controls are gone? How could someone be held accountable for some

    • by DougDot ( 966387 )

      True.

    • by g01d4 ( 888748 )

      If she was anyone else she'd be nailed to the wall already.

      Not really. The whole issue revolves around incompetent IT management in government that enabled Mrs.Clinton's setup in the first place. While her competence can also be clearly called into question it's certain that she's not alone getting outed in the casual treatment of this type of information - Petreus comes to mind - and that her position, rather than her person, is what provides the most immunity.

    • Someone gets it. Also, as an Original Classification Authority (In fact, the first Department head mentioned in the Executive Order that defines who OCAs are (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-original-classification-authority) ), she should have had specific training and a very good understanding of this stuff. ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/the... [whitehouse.gov] )

      Fron the second link:
      "((d) All original classification authorities must receive training in proper classification (including the av

    • "though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email"

      Legally, it doesn't matter that the emails weren't classified at the time they were sent. Classification doesn't depend on markings, classification depends on content. If you strip the classified markings from an item that doesn't mean it isn't classified anymore.

      These sort of things are too complicated for the public and press to understand, which is why the State Department and Clintons keep saying them. As the Secretary of State, Clinton should be aware of, say, the rules behind classified information.

      If she was anyone else she'd be nailed to the wall already.

      Classification doesn't depend on markings, classification depends on content.

      There are over 50 million documents classified every year. And who classifies documents? Unelected bureaucrats with absolutely zero accountability.

      I would say most classification doesn't depend on markings or content. It depends on horseshit.

      If cablegate and Wikileaks have taught us anything, it's that there is too goddamn much being kept secret for absolutely no good reason. Classified documents are the government's way of pr

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:10PM (#51222875) Journal

    He's there to scare people into voting for her anyway. *Think of the alternative!* is working out to be a neat trick.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @04:36PM (#51223027)

      I think we should make the election like an SAT multiple choice test. There should be an choice "none of the above" . . . no Clinton, no Trump.

      This could toss back both mainstream political parties to come up with some better, more palatable candidates. Hell, maybe even a fringe party might get a chance to squeeze someone reasonable in . . .

      • I think we should make the election like an SAT multiple choice test. There should be an choice "none of the above" . . . no Clinton, no Trump.

        They would just take advantage of that to make Obama a king that never gets moved out of office.

    • He's there to scare people into voting for her anyway. *Think of the alternative!* is working out to be a neat trick.

      Trump is running the most successful false-flag operation in the history of American politics.

      • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @05:02PM (#51223159) Homepage Journal

        Trump is running the most successful false-flag operation in the history of American politics.

        He's also running one of the most successful campaigns this season.

        I just read an article [huffingtonpost.com] where the polls show that Bernie would have a better chance of beating Trump than Hillary.

        The Republicans don't want Trump as their candidate, and the Democrats don't want Bernie.

        We could very easily have an election where no one wants *either* candidate!

        This is turning out to be a most hilarious election season.

    • Elections have been for the longest time not choosing the better candidate but the lesser evil.

      But why does the lesser evil have to be so huge?

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @05:04PM (#51223169) Homepage
    You know how to make government work for the people... ALL meetings are public. every correspondence is public, ALL of it.. there would be no "covert" "back-room" "national security" anything... meetings with foreign leaders.. PUBLIC, ALL of it.. and if people want to keep things hush hush then they just won't deal with a public government and it would expose all those who are doing things for nefarious reasons. You want world peace, this is the way to do it.. The more people realize that they can't just work a deal for their own benefit the better this world will be... let issues stand on their own merits, not part of some "I'll vote for yours if you vote for mine" BS...
    • I've been thinking this for years!

      I think all new politicians should be issued a body camera the day they swear in, and the camera also functions as an RSA-token like authentication mechanism for email, access to state offices, official phone use, etc. No camera, no access for official dealings. Additionally, the camera has no power switch.

      This way everything they do is "on the record", and the camera is downloaded daily to some webserver for the citizenry to access.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Friday January 01, 2016 @11:39PM (#51225029) Homepage

    The real problem, which gets far too little discussion, is that Hillary Clinton seems to have set up a system where state department employees (from the "ops" team) would read classified emails on the secure email system, and then type up a summary and send the summary to her personal (non-secure) email system.

    In the first e-mail, Clinton curtly instructs Sullivan, "It's a public statement. Just email it." Minutes later, Sullivan responds, "Trust me, I share your exasperation. But until ops converts it to the unclassified email system, there is no physical way for me to email it. I can't even access it."

    http://www.nationalreview.com/classified-rules-hillarys-disregard-for-them [nationalreview.com]

    Naturally, when ops "converted" the emails, they didn't copy over any classification markings, allowing Hillary Clinton to truthfully say she never received any emails marked as classified.

    It is partisan spin to use the word "retroactively" to describe these emails being newly marked with classification markings. If the information in the emails was classified, the emails were classified all along; it doesn't matter whether the emails were marked as classified or not... and Hillary Clinton, who is not dumb and is a lawyer, knows this.

    This process of "converting" emails from secure to insecure is go-to-prison stuff. It's truly amazing that Hillary Clinton thought she could get away with doing this.

    Unless the information in this article is fabricated or otherwise untrue, she is going to be in very big trouble:

    That Hillary and her staff at Foggy Bottom were wittingly involved in a scheme to place classified information into ostensibly unclassified emails to reside on Clinton's personal, private server is the belief of every investigator and counterintelligence official I've spoken with recently, and all were at pains to maintain that this misconduct was felonious.

    "The FBI will get someone to talk, we always do."

    "This was about a lot more than just some classified emails," a senior Capitol Hill staffer told me, "and we'll get to the bottom of it. But we're happy to let the FBI do the heavy lifting for right now."

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/02/will-hillary-clinton-s-emails-burn-the-white-house.html [thedailybeast.com]

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