Emailgate is bullshit.
We've seen "scoop" after "scoop," drip drip drip, over the course of months. The headlines have been carefully crafted to convey the impression that Hillary passed out classified documents as though they were Halloween treats. But every time I study the meat of the stories, I see no indication that she did anything wrong.
1. The alleged Top Seekrit info did not come from
her; it was sent to
2. The alleged Top Seekrit info did not come from any government source.
3. The alleged Top Seekrit info was not labeled as classified at the time
Here's the latest smear
, via AP, with the exculpatory material buried deep in the body of the story.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, insists she never sent or received information on her personal email account that was classified at the time. No emails released so far were marked classified, but reviewers previously designated more than 1,000 messages at lower classification levels. Friday's will be the first at top secret level.
Even if Clinton didn't write or forward the messages, she still would have been required to report any classification slippages she recognized in emails she received. But without classification markings, that may have been difficult, especially if the information was publicly available.
"We firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails," Clinton campaign spokesman Brain Fallon said. "Since first providing her emails to the State Department more than one year ago, Hillary Clinton has urged that they be made available to the public. We feel no differently today."
Fallon accused the "loudest and leakiest participants" in a process of bureaucratic infighting for withholding the exchanges. The documents, he said, originated in the State Department's unclassified system before they ever reached Clinton, and "in at least one case, the emails appear to involve information from a published news article."
"This appears to be overclassification run amok," Fallon said.
Seriously, what are the right-wing press whores trying to get us to believe? Are we really supposed to accept the scenario that the CIA (for no discernible reason) sent classified information to Sidney Blumenthal -- a man not
employed by the Agency, or by any other government agency? Are we also supposed to believe that Blumenthal (for no discernible reason) then relayed this classified info to Hillary Clinton via an insecure email system?
Not bloody likely.
Yet when you get right down to it, that
is the storyline being pushed by the right-wing propaganda machine. Always remember that this is the same machine that gave us Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Fostergate and so many other ludicrous smears.
So how did Blumenthal and his partner -- former CIA guy Tyler Drumheller, who was "axed" to leave the Agency because he exposed Dubya's lies about Iraq -- get hold of information which the American intelligence community later classified?
We've known the truth for a while, although the smear articles rarely mention the key facts. I'll repeat what I've said before
A guy named Mousa Kousa used to be the head spy and foreign minister for Libya, back when Khaddafy was running the joint. Kousa defected to the UK in 2011, around the time that email was sent. Before he skipped out, Kousa met with a CIA guy and divulged some information. I don't know what he said.
Kousa also spoke to Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA guy (one of the good ones, in my opinion) who had, after leaving the Agency, teamed up with Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary's friend. As everyone knows by now, Blumenthal and Drumheller were looking for business opportunities in Libya. Kousa told Drumheller about Khaddafy's planned response to a UN resolution.
And that's it. There's really nothing more to the story.
Look: Just because Kousa chose to talk to some local CIA guy doesn't mean that the Agency owned him. He's a foreign national. He was, and presumably still is, free to say what he pleases to anyone he likes.
I presume that he said what he said to Drumheller for reasons of his own. Drumheller relayed the information to Blumenthal, who sent it off to Hillary. There was no breach of classified information here.
Allow me to illustrate the point.
Let's say that you have lunch with a guy who, unknown to you, is a CIA operative. Let's say that you tell him: "I met a bigfoot on my last camping trip. Nice guy. We played chess and ate popcorn." Let us further say that this CIA guy (for whatever reason) includes your bigfoot story in a document that gets a big, fat classification stamp. That stamp applies only to that document. You are still free to talk about your dinner with bigfoot to anyone you like. You can tell it to the FSB or ISIS or Fox News or Sidney Blumenthal or Coast to Coast or anyone else. It's your choice. And if the people to whom you tell the story decide to tell others, they may do so without any worries that they have divulged classified information.
It seems that Khousa told Blumenthal about lots of stuff, not just about the Libyan response to that UN resolution. Beyond that, the words written above explain every "Emailgate" story we've seen.
Let's take this further.
It's very possible that the CIA's souce on the Khousa info dump was none other than Tyler Drumheller himself. (Not an unlikely scenario: Although he had pissed off the neocons, the late Mr. Drumheller probably still had friendly contacts back at the Agency.) Did Drumheller break security when he gave the same data to Blumenthal?
No. He was not an employee of the Agency at the time
Yes, he was still bound by a security oath -- but only concerning matters he learned while receiving an Agency paycheck. He was free to blab to his heart's content -- to anyone -- about anything he learned after he became a private citizen.
Did Blumenthal and Drumheller develop Libyan sources other than Khousa? I'm sure they did. But none of the parties involved were government employees at the time -- not Blumenthal, not Drumheller, not their sources.
Sidney and Tyler were therefore free to talk to anyone about anything they learned -- via email, via snail mail, via television, via blog post, via skywriting, via any medium they chose.
Hypothetically speaking: Suppose this Khousa fellow were to send me
an email relaying every last data-shard that he shared with Blumenthal and Drumheller. Guess what? I can publish it. I can do so legally, even if the exact same data exists in a CIA document that has been stamped "ULTRA TOP SECRET TOTALLY COSMIC HOLY SHIT BREATHE ONE WORD ABOUT THIS TO ANYONE AND I'LL KILL EVERYONE WHO EVER LOVED YOU." Even then, I would have every legal right to let it all hang out. Why? Because I am not a government employee, and I am not bound by any secrecy agreements. Besides, how the heck would I
know if the information was classified?
You want a real Hillary Clinton scandal? Google her name along with the phrase "Friends of Syria." Now that
, in my opinion, is a scandal
Emailgate is bullshit.
It also appears that the Top Seekrit material included a discussion of a news article
about drones. Drones are classified. Therefore, anyone anywhere who breathes one word about drones must be damaging the interests of the United States! Oh my God...are we
committing espionage right here and now?
Again I say: Bullshit.