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Author Topic: Hillary: Too Risky a Candidate?
LetterRip
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It appears that the courts have historically rejected the 'foreign government information is automatically classified' for FOIA requests, and that foreign government information must have some other basis for classification other than it was from a foreign government.

quote:
This provision of Executive Order 12,958 was a significant factor in a 1998 decision by the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that rejected the government's claim that a communication from the United Kingdom could be withheld from a FOIA requester because it had been classified by the Department of State. Weatherhead v. United States, 157 F. 3d 735 (9th Cir. October 1998), vacated as moot, 528 U.S. 1042 (1999) . The Ninth Circuit found that the government was unable to demonstrate that there was any specific reason for withholding the documents at issue and, therefore, without a presumption that foreign government information should be classified, the government could not justify withholding this document under the 1995 Order. The Court of Appeals panel also examined the letter, and found that its contents were innocuous and disclosure could not reasonably be expected to result in damage to the national security. The Department of State asked the Supreme Court to overturn the decision, but released the document shortly before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments in the case.

Although Executive Order 13,292 creates a presumption that favors classification of foreign government information, it does not provide that foreign government information is automatically classified. The government must still follow the procedural requirements of the Executive Order, and foreign government information is subject to the prohibitions and limitations on classification.

http://www.bushsecrecy.org/page.cfm?PagesID=31

So a fairly convincing evidence that the Reuters author screwed up, or perhaps deliberately mislead.

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Pete at Home
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That's relevant, but not necessarily dispositive, LR, since foia only affects docs after a certain time lapse.
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LetterRip
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The State Department says the weren't classified, HRC says they weren't classified, the statutes and courts have stated that such documents are not classified unless specific actions are taken to classify them, which hadn't occurred at the time.

All of the authoritative sources show them as not being classified.

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WmLambert
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According to https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793 the code does not say "knowingly" but rather states that incompetence or gross negligence is sufficient to be guilty of the crime.

Another section of law states that all communication must be secure. The laws and requirements were all signed-off on by Hillary as the head of her staff. All actions devolve to her.

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LetterRip
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Neither incompetence nor gross negligence appear to be present.

Feel free to point to the particular line that states that 'all communication must be secure'. I don't see it listed, and it has never been an actual practice of the department or any government agency so seems unlikely that it is in fact a requirement.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
I am convinced that she broke the rules, but find it questionable, though certainly possible, that she has broken any laws.

Can you clarify what you mean here? Most regulations (ie rules) implement the laws that authorized them. Breaking the rules, accordingly, is a violation of law.
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LetterRip
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Seriati,

My understanding is that these weren't regulations she violated, they were guidelines and or procedures. Violation of the procedures could be part of grounds for dismissal, but could not be a basis for any criminal or civil prosecution (unless the violation of the procedure would somehow qualify as incompetence or gross negligence).

[ August 24, 2015, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Fenring
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An interesting development:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/staffer-who-worked-on-clintons-private-e-mail-server-faces-subpoena/2015/09/02/8b1e6438-51c2-11e5-8c19-0b6825aa4a3a_story.html

I've read various things that continue to seem incriminating to Hillary but I'm avoiding posting anything that comes from a non-reputable source.

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DJQuag
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Is anyone still seriously considering voting for Clinton? Do people think she will win the presidency?

I'm a Sanders guy, myself. Clinton is too enshrined in and part of the system that has failed the country for quite a while now. And the way she has handled this email thing is far from impressive.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
Is anyone still seriously considering voting for Clinton? Do people think she will win the presidency?

I'm a Sanders guy, myself. Clinton is too enshrined in and part of the system that has failed the country for quite a while now. And the way she has handled this email thing is far from impressive.

I wasn't trying to make the thread about which candidate I like best, but in light of Sanders rallying a lot of support lately (especially online) maybe the Democrats have a second candidate after all. In an election between Hillary and Bush I have to say it could be a toss-up, but Sanders vs. Bush might actually favor Sanders just due to the extreme contrast in every category in the book where Sanders may well represent middle America more than Bush does. That being said I'm beginning to have a hazy vision of a Sanders-Trump election, which would be a Bizarro-election like none in recent memory.
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Greg Davidson
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I am still considering voting for Clinton. There have been dozens of media frenzies in the past about Clintons, and the vast majority of them turn out to be bogus. Based on the past track record, it is highly likely that this will wind up the same place that Benghazi or Swift Boaters or other bogus scandals have. Remember that the "Whitewater" Independent Prosecutor just turned into a witch hunt to find something to damage the Clintons with, and $100M later they found something. Benghazi investigations led to this. It's a political tactic using differential application of government investigatory power to create political damage.

If this one proves different, it will affect my assessment of Clinton, but for the moment all it proves is that not much has changed inside the Beltway. And whatever candidate the Democrats run, they will be smeared by this same sort of thing, so it is not a differential factor in my selection of a candidate.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
I am still considering voting for Clinton. There have been dozens of media frenzies in the past about Clintons, and the vast majority of them turn out to be bogus. Based on the past track record, it is highly likely that this will wind up the same place that Benghazi or Swift Boaters or other bogus scandals have. Remember that the "Whitewater" Independent Prosecutor just turned into a witch hunt to find something to damage the Clintons with, and $100M later they found something. Benghazi investigations led to this. It's a political tactic using differential application of government investigatory power to create political damage.

If this one proves different, it will affect my assessment of Clinton, but for the moment all it proves is that not much has changed inside the Beltway. And whatever candidate the Democrats run, they will be smeared by this same sort of thing, so it is not a differential factor in my selection of a candidate.

There's a difference between trying to smear a candidate because there may be skeletons in the closet (not a far-fetched hope with Hillary), and between making stuff up outright. This is going to sound trite, but it's very hard to demonstrate a candidate is corrupt or has broken the law if they're not corrupt and haven't broken the law. Let's say, for argument's sake, this fits Bernie - in that case they won't have anything on him of relevance. I remember fondly watching various people try to smear Ron Paul when he ran in 2012 and it was amusing to watch them fall on their faces every time when he'd squash their silly suggestions. Even in the case of the infamous publication with racist content they got nowhere trying to pin that on him. I know you don't think this is true of Democratic candidates in general (or at least of Hillary), but honestly most of these people stink so much it would be far-fetched to suggest that one couldn't legitimately pin something on them. That fact that some of them are professional weasels doesn't mean their hands are clean. It used to be assumed by default that most or all politicians are corrupt; what happened to those days?

Again, I initiated this thread mostly to address the threat of another President Bush if Hillary gets caught on something, and don't want to use this space to bash on Hillary. But Greg, if I had wanted to do that there is other stuff I would have chosen. I will say, though, regarding your comment, that a vote for Hillary will be a vote for the continuation of Hawkish foreign policy and a push towards TPP and other things like it. You can tell me how 'liberal' those causes are.

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AI Wessex
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You either vote for or vote against. Considering the alternative of electing any one of the GOP candidates I see at the top of that list, Hillary will get my vote unless something far worse (and provable) than the email pseudo-scandal comes out. Sanders is still a bit of an enigma to me. I can understand why an unseasoned candidate like Obama could burst out of the pack, but why a life-long back-bencher whose views haven't changed in 30 years suddenly rises does confuse me. I have his book and am reading it, but am not feeling the Bern yet. But, if he gets the nomination I can see pulling the lever for him as both a vote for and a vote against.
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TomDavidson
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The reason Sanders currently has my vote is that he's the only candidate in the race who's willing to discuss the real problem with the economy: namely, that we've let the rich accumulate too much wealth. Given that the economy is our single most important issue, and everyone else is busy ignoring or outright denying the existence of the elephant in the room, I don't see anyone else as a real competitor.
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Greg Davidson
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There is not as big a difference as you think, Fenring, between having "skeletons in the closet" and making things up. Your top quality smear campaign finds something real but irrelevant and obsesses over it. All that it takes is a whole bunch of allegations and the raising of questions. That's how something that had never been questioned before in a President, such as is an ordinary birth certificate good enough or is a long form birth certificate necessary. That was worth several years of stories and way some points a majority of Republicans believing something absolutely bogus. Or Obama as a Muslim - the "skeleton" of truth is that he probably was the only U.S. President to go to a Muslim-majority school for 5 years as a child. But still bogus.
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Fenring
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Greg,

You're assessing the term smear with the assumption that a smear will always be something irrelevant conjured up to conduct partisan politics. I'm not sure why you define a "top quality smear" as being something real but irrelevant; why is that your standard? Was Nixon impeached based on 'something irrelevant'? Your position seems to be based on the premise that most or all politicians are going to be imperfect or corrupt in some banal and uninteresting way. Have you considered the possibility that a few may not actually be corrupt in any way, and that others may be corrupt in very significant ways that make them a threat to American prosperity or safety? Don't let the boy who cried wolf cause you to ignore the time a wolf is actually at your doorstep.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Don't let the boy who cried wolf cause you to ignore the time a wolf is actually at your doorstep.
Well, if you have positioned yourself on the roof and are taking potshots at all the imaginary wolves threatening your house you might not be able to tell the real one from the rest, or, more importantly, be too distracted to take the time to pay your bills or feed your family.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
Don't let the boy who cried wolf cause you to ignore the time a wolf is actually at your doorstep.
Well, if you have positioned yourself on the roof and are taking potshots at all the imaginary wolves threatening your house you might not be able to tell the real one from the rest, or, more importantly, be too distracted to take the time to pay your bills or feed your family.
Don't sweat it then. There are others with the wherewithal to keep alert.
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Greg Davidson
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Fenring,

My assumptions about smears are the following:
(1) they drive up negative perceptions of a candidate regardless of whether they are true (there is a fair degree of psychological research that demonstrates this)
(2) they are often built by generating a temporary outrage-of-convenience over a flaw that never used to be important, and goes back to being unimportant after the smear has done its work
(3) they serve as a distraction from real issues

For example, for years the group "Focus on the Family" generated widely distributed public service announcements on character that had the touch-phrase "Remember, character counts" when Bill Clinton was the target, but when Gore was running against Bush or Obama was running against McCain, suddenly past character flaws were no longer a primary issue.

Benghazi is a perfect example of a huge effort to exploit a situation that resulted in the loss of life of Americans. The mistakes and loss of life in Benghazi were many orders of magnitude lesser than the mistakes and loss of life that occurred in the Iraq War, but as it was being used for smear purposes, it got a dramatically disproportionate level of attention.

Right now private emails are a huge deal, but when the Bush Administration used a private server called gwb43.com for official business in 2007 and later destroyed 22 million emails, for some reason that did not get the same level of attention that Hillary Clinton's server is getting.

Effective smears work by exploiting the finite possibility that there really may have been a true and significant legal violation. They force the victim's team to spend months battling with bad publicity, and then when a smear is finally disproved it is either too late (Swift Boats) or another smear is picked from thin air.

In the meanwhile, we avoid talking about global warming, wealth inequality, too big to fail banks, the excessive influence of money on politics, etc.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
In the meanwhile, we avoid talking about global warming, wealth inequality, too big to fail banks, the excessive influence of money on politics, etc.

Who is this "we"? Hillary can get smeared until kingdom come, but Bernie is in the race too and he is talking extensively about these things.

Overall I think you're confusing the art of politics with legitimate estimations of a candidate's fitness. Your manner of addressing the issue of smears (even the use of that term implies that no smear is legitimate) makes the sole axis of analysis "winning or losing", where a smear causes a candidate to veer towards 'losing' regardless of its content. But there is another axis that is important, which is how fit a candidate is to govern. This axis can take into account experience, intelligence, leadership skills, and other things, and trustworthiness has to be up there too.

By your calculus any negative campaigning is a smear, and by your definition any smear attack is either baseless or irrelevant. Where does "this person should not be leading the country" fit into the equation? It's one thing to want your own candidate in for partisan reasons; "our team must win." But it's another thing to have specific concerns about a candidate regardless of party, which gets us into negative voting.

So again - why do you choose to define a top quality smear as something "true but irrelevant"? Granted there are two ways a smear campaign can be effective: 1) Conduct the smear skilfully. 2) Bring forward a legitimate issue. You are no doubt correct about type (1); but why assume that all smears are of that type? As an example of what I mean, in my other "CIA vs Bush Admin" thread my comments could be taken to be a smear; do you think my concerns on that topic are possibly "true but irrelevant?" When does an accusation become relevant?

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LetterRip
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Fenring,

quote:
Who is this "we"? Hillary can get smeared until kingdom come, but Bernie is in the race too and he is talking extensively about these things.
I think he means air time, print space, and public discussion boards. Lots of time gets devoted to scandals, very little to policy.

Regarding smear vs legitimate 'this person should not be leading'. Greg pointed out

1) Is it an issue regardless of 'which side' or is it only important for 'the other guy'. If it is important regardless of the 'team' then it isn't a smear; if it is only important for 'the other guy' - it is probably a smear and not a legitimate concern.

2) Is the presentation factual or misleading?

I think a legitimate case can be made that there is some importance to the fact she used a private server. So not a smear it that respect.

However, most of what has been published regarding opinions of legality, or the actual risk have been falsehoods - so predominately false or misleading and thus a smear.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
However, most of what has been published regarding opinions of legality, or the actual risk have been falsehoods - so predominately false or misleading and thus a smear.
Yes, although questions are certainly legitimate, the bulk of the reporting on the conservative/Republican side have been accusations and conclusions. AFAIK, none of them have been backed up by less partisan analysis.
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Greg Davidson
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Fenring, Republicans have a 20+ year track record of severely abusing the principle that every accusation should be examined as if it may be true. It's just a tactic, always have several accusations bubbling away so whoever they oppose spends their time involved in "controversy".

I categorize the discussions of the private server as a smear because it combines an issue that was treated much differently when the Republicans were in charge (the Bush Administration's use of the the gwb43.com private server for official business in 2007; just two years before Hillary Clinton set up her private server) as well as numerous claims and accusations that have already been batted down.

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Greg Davidson
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You can use the "response to smearing" as an indicator of candidate fitness, but seriously, is that really the attribute that we wish to make most important in selecting a leader?

Obama is actually pretty good at this; he doesn't spend much effort on responding and (unlike Clinton) in some instances can be quick to just issue an apology as a method of conflict avoidance. I really don't like how Bill or Hillary Clinton respond to the perpetual attacks, but alternate approaches adopted by Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry didn't work very well either. And regardless of your position on Presidents GHW Bush and GW Bush, does anyone believe that the most relevant difference between them was the ability to deal with essentially false or misleading accusations that were based on a double standard.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Fenring, Republicans have a 20+ year track record of severely abusing the principle that every accusation should be examined as if it may be true. It's just a tactic, always have several accusations bubbling away so whoever they oppose spends their time involved in "controversy".

I categorize the discussions of the private server as a smear because it combines an issue that was treated much differently when the Republicans were in charge (the Bush Administration's use of the the gwb43.com private server for official business in 2007; just two years before Hillary Clinton set up her private server) as well as numerous claims and accusations that have already been batted down.

On this particular topic I'm not that interested in how important her behavior with the server was. My OP was about the nature of the potential transgression where it was something cut-and-dry that they could potentially get her on. I'm not citing this case to make her look bad; on the contrary I'm suggesting that if she really did mess up in this way then her crashing and burning could put Jeb into office. That is my chief concern.

You may note that I didn't participate in the Benghazi discussion as it related to Hillary or Obama's potential wrongdoing; and I likewise had nothing to say about the ACA or various other smear topics. This may serve as evidence that I couldn't care less about trying to poke holes in a politician's reputation. The fact that the usual gang will latch onto any issue as a smear campaign is orthogonal to whether any particular issue actually matters.

However as a point of interest regarding the server issue (if it matters) the Bush admin notoriously lacked transparency and part of the Obama campaign's platform was to change this pattern. On these grounds it would be less forgivable for Hillary to do this than someone several years prior; and all the more so since she destroyed most of her records (even though the same happened on Bush's watch). The apparent corroboration of the presence of top secret contents in her emails makes it more than a mere smear, at any rate.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
The apparent corroboration of the presence of top secret contents in her emails makes it more than a mere smear, at any rate.
What evidence do you have for the connection between emails that were later classified and her destruction of the complete contents of the server? My thinking (note I'm not claiming it is a logical deduction based on the facts) is that the endless pursuit by Republicans in Congress to find something bad that will stick to her is the only reason this wasn't a one-day news cycle story. To put it in context, what might the 22 million missing Bush WH emails have revealed about the false premises behind the invasion of Iraq? That would seem to me to be a far more important investigation, even worthy of a witch hunt until Congress was satisfied that there was nothing there.

Not since Watergate has a party been willing to investigate itself, but if Nixon had admitted he "made a mistake" in the early days of the hearings I think he would have survived in office.

[ September 12, 2015, 06:48 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Greg Davidson
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And a month after trumpeting the the deletion of Clinton emails, the NYT just ran an article that eviscerates that element of the "scandal"

quote:
The Justice Department said in a court filing this week that Hillary Rodham Clinton had the authority to delete emails that she did not believe were government records from the personal account that she exclusively used while secretary of state.
link

[ September 12, 2015, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Fenring
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Al, you are behind the times. The FBI investigation as of last week had already revealed that there were at least two emails that were classified as top secret the moment they were sent (I believe she received them, rather then sent them). I would have to check to see if there are any results about how many of the emails were merely classified information of a lower type (still illegal) when they were sent; but the two I just mentioned were top secret, which is defined roughly as "definitely jeopardizing the national security of the U.S."

Greg, is there any reason to believe at this point that the justice department operates independently of the executive? Or rephrased: Should it be considered much of a surprise that under a Democrat administration the judiciary will do all it can to ameliorate things for a high-level Democrat? In any case yes, it was established once Hillary agreed to turn over the materials that she would be allowed to delete some private ones. Then again, they had no choice but to either accept this (since she didn't ask for permission, but simply told them she was doing it) or to...I dunno...send in the FBI and arrest her before she had the chance? Since I see no chance they would ever do the latter their 'decision' to allow her to delete them was basically forced on them by her strong-arming the situation. So even if she "made it legal" from our non-judicial standpoint we can still recognize that it was complete B.S. as she could have deleted anything at all including what she thought was most of the evidence. To suggest that she would too honest to do this would be one of the most laughable ideas I could imagine.

[ September 12, 2015, 02:15 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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LetterRip
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Fenring,

the FBI claim you are refering to is from August 11th and those are disputed as to their classification status.

quote:
A State Department spokesman late Tuesday described the top-secret designation as a recommendation and said they had not been marked classified at the time, but said staffers “circulated these e-mails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011 and ultimately some were forwarded to Secretary Clinton.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-secret-e-mails-were-sent-on-clintons-private-account-official-says/2015/08/11/f3117f08-403d-11e5-9561-4b3dc93e3b9a_story.html

As far as I'm aware their is no new information suggesting that the emails were in fact classified at the time.

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Greg Davidson
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Fenring,

quote:
Greg, is there any reason to believe at this point that the justice department operates independently of the executive? Or rephrased: Should it be considered much of a surprise that under a Democrat administration the judiciary will do all it can to ameliorate things for a high-level Democrat?
I agree that there is a finite possibility that there is deep corruption in the Department of Justice to protect Hillary Clinton. Any evidence of that? Once you get a good smear going, if you go with the conspiracy hypothesis, then it becomes very difficult to disprove guilt because you can always say that exculpatory findings are subject to manipulation. Now, if we look at Justice Departments in recent years, we can find strong evidence of political manipulation under Bush, when the Attorney General fired US Attorneys who refused to fake evidence of voter fraud. Does that evidence implicate the Justice Department under Obama? I am not sure how.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Fenring,

the FBI claim you are refering to is from August 11th and those are disputed as to their classification status.

quote:
A State Department spokesman late Tuesday described the top-secret designation as a recommendation and said they had not been marked classified at the time, but said staffers “circulated these e-mails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011 and ultimately some were forwarded to Secretary Clinton.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-secret-e-mails-were-sent-on-clintons-private-account-official-says/2015/08/11/f3117f08-403d-11e5-9561-4b3dc93e3b9a_story.html

As far as I'm aware their is no new information suggesting that the emails were in fact classified at the time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/08/us/politics/second-review-says-classified-information-was-in-hillary-clintons-email.html?_r=1

quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
I agree that there is a finite possibility that there is deep corruption in the Department of Justice to protect Hillary Clinton. Any evidence of that? Once you get a good smear going, if you go with the conspiracy hypothesis, then it becomes very difficult to disprove guilt because you can always say that exculpatory findings are subject to manipulation. Now, if we look at Justice Departments in recent years, we can find strong evidence of political manipulation under Bush, when the Attorney General fired US Attorneys who refused to fake evidence of voter fraud. Does that evidence implicate the Justice Department under Obama? I am not sure how.

The system is the system. Unless you have detailed evidence of the system having been revamped and cleaned up we must assume things continue to operate in the same manner. You may question whether the mechanisms are used similarly under the Obama admin compared with the Bush admin, but since human nature is what it is I assume people will use all available tools to get what they want.

If you are looking for proof in the form of a confession or a written statement saying "our objective was to protect Clinton" then you're going to be left waiting for the rest of your life. Some things require hard evidence in order to take positive action - such making a conviction in court or declaring war. And some things won't produce that kind of proof and so we must make assumptions based on what is probable. This means our assumptions won't be foolproof, and indeed such assumptions should be always re-examined so that they don't become prejudices. But "the claim is dubious until absolutely proven" won't get a person very far in the realm of knowledge. A lot of information is grey, rather than black and white. Life is largely a black box about which we must deduce the contents. So yes - this means certain claims will be untestable in the rigorous sense, which only means one must wait and watch.

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LetterRip
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Fenring,

from your link,

quote:
John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, echoed Mr. Merrill.

“Classification is rarely a black and white question, and it is common for the State Department to engage internally and with our interagency partners to arrive at the appropriate decision,” he said in a statement. “Very often both the State Department and the intelligence community acquire information on the same matter through separate channels. Thus, there can be two or more separate reports and not all of them based on classified means. At this time, any conclusion about the classification of the documents in question would be premature.”

So the status of the emails are in limbo as to whether or not they were classified, which is the same status they had in August 11.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
The system is the system. Unless you have detailed evidence of the system having been revamped and cleaned up we must assume things continue to operate in the same manner.
This is a huge assertion with profound ramifications but without substantiation. Particularly as the two political parties have very strong differences regarding the role of professionalism in government. Certainly a counter-example is FEMA, which under the first Bush Administration was run by political cronies who botched the response to Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in 1989 and especially Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992. Under Clinton and the Democrats, the party which we would all agree has a higher level of respect for government service and professionalism, FEMA was rebuilt to have effective leadership. Then under the second President Bush, Michael Brown was put in charge after a decade of having served as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. And then under Obama, competent FEMA leadership as restored. Does this seem like the system is the system.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
The system is the system. Unless you have detailed evidence of the system having been revamped and cleaned up we must assume things continue to operate in the same manner.
This is a huge assertion with profound ramifications but without substantiation. Particularly as the two political parties have very strong differences regarding the role of professionalism in government. Certainly a counter-example is FEMA, which under the first Bush Administration was run by political cronies who botched the response to Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina in 1989 and especially Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992. Under Clinton and the Democrats, the party which we would all agree has a higher level of respect for government service and professionalism, FEMA was rebuilt to have effective leadership. Then under the second President Bush, Michael Brown was put in charge after a decade of having served as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. And then under Obama, competent FEMA leadership as restored. Does this seem like the system is the system.
Since you have some evidence that FEMA was revamped during Democratic presidencies, do you have similar evidence that the justice department was revamped as well?
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Fenring,

from your link,

quote:
John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, echoed Mr. Merrill.

“Classification is rarely a black and white question, and it is common for the State Department to engage internally and with our interagency partners to arrive at the appropriate decision,” he said in a statement. “Very often both the State Department and the intelligence community acquire information on the same matter through separate channels. Thus, there can be two or more separate reports and not all of them based on classified means. At this time, any conclusion about the classification of the documents in question would be premature.”

So the status of the emails are in limbo as to whether or not they were classified, which is the same status they had in August 11.
Since different sources seem to be making alternative claims about the same data (the FBI claims they were classified, campaign personnel claim otherwise) there is, as Greg has put it, some finite chance that they were not top secret when sent. I never said this was a done deal, I just said there was more substance to it than a mere smear. And incidentally, since certain kinds of data are classified 'from birth', even if it's contentious whether the two emails were specifically top secret it hardly seems plausible that they were not only not top secret but were also not even classified at all. How could the FBI be so wrong about the nature of sensitive information?
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Since you have some evidence that FEMA was revamped during Democratic presidencies, do you have similar evidence that the justice department was revamped as well?
Effective smears, like successful viruses, can be hard to kill. So for some reason, despite the fact that anti-Clinton smears have been batting about <.050, or wrong >19 times out of twenty (that's just a guess regarding Bill and Hillary), should the burden of proof be once again on those accused? I mean, if it were 50/50, or even 90/10 maybe you can put the burden of proof on the accused, but at some point when do the generators of smears face a higher burden of proof on themselves due to a terrible track record for lying and never acknowledging it? This is my whole premise here, what I call smearing is the intention creation of negative false narratives with no accountability for the track record of the accuser. In a sense, the demonstrated behavior of G2 was a stepchild of this sort of unaccountable lying (note to Mod, no evidence that this is referring to current members of Ornery).

And moving beyond discussion of Hillary Clinton (who I don't know if I will support), whichever Democratic candidate for President wins is guaranteed to face the false, smear attacks. Anyone want to go on the record with a prediction contrary to this?

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Greg Davidson
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Fenring, I don't want to go too far into depth on what constitutes classified information, but there is a wide range of events that fit under the description of having classified data on an unclassified computer. At its worst, we can think of some top secret plans for a super weapon, or the names of top undercover agents. If Hillary Clinton had that information in emails, that would be a terrible breach. But let me describe another type of violation for having classified information on an unclass system - Edward Snowden leaked materials that were classified. When that information hit the news, millions of people with clearances were all notified that they should not go to any of those sites, because if they pulled up classified information (released by Snowden) onto an unclassified computer, they were literally committing a felony. My guess is that tens of thousands of Americans committed felonies at that time because even an aggregation site like Google News might have included a term or description that was classified.

The rules for what is classified are not black-and-white and require some judgment. Two unclassified facts in combination may require classification. It is entirely possible that in addressing some critical issue while as Secretary of State, someone combined a reference to something that was happening and a reference to how we know it was happening. It is possible someone used a classified rather than unclassified code name to refer to something. These are serious issues, because everything associated with classified data must be taken seriously, but at the same time in organizations with thousands of people, incidents of this nature happen multiple times every year. At the top of the organization at State, and receiving many emails, it is possible that the whole "scandal" may be turning on some issues such as this. Another reason why this scandal does not yet concern me, and why it still has the characteristics of a smear, is that no one has offered any comparative information (as in, Hillary Clinton's emails indicate a much higher level of this potential problem than others).

And the private server vs. unrestricted server is not germane to this; it's not like the federal government has the money to spend on the best possible IT support for unrestricted systems

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Effective smears, like successful viruses, can be hard to kill. So for some reason, despite the fact that anti-Clinton smears have been batting about <.050, or wrong >19 times out of twenty (that's just a guess regarding Bill and Hillary), should the burden of proof be once again on those accused? I mean, if it were 50/50, or even 90/10 maybe you can put the burden of proof on the accused, but at some point when do the generators of smears face a higher burden of proof on themselves due to a terrible track record for lying and never acknowledging it?

Well, since you yourself said that the executive had certain pull with the justice department during the Bush admin (i.e. the nature of the system was such that it was possible to exert that pull) it seems reasonable to me to assume that this was just as possible during Obama's admin. In order to say this kind of pull wasn't exerted during Obama's admin you'd have to claim that either the structure changed and made it impossible (which is the evidence I asked for) or to simply say they could have but chose not. This latter option is harder or even impossible to demonstrate, and so you'd have to take it on faith that you just trust the Democrats more and you don't believe they'd do it. That's all well and good since I know you do trust them more, but since Hillary hasn't earned my trust in any kind of way I don't see why I would make the same assumption you do. The difference here may just be that you have some faith in the Democrats to avoid using those tools and I don't. If the matter really is about this then that difference can hardly be related to smears against the Clintons and has more to do with our relative views about politics in general.
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Greg Davidson
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Fenring, maybe the way to test this is come back in a year when all the evidence is in. Based on track record, the odds are very strong that this will turn out to be bogus. And the fact that it was bogus won't matter. We have a Republican legislative majority (that has cemented advantages for the rest of the decade via redistricting) due to fear of the Ground Zero Mosque, of Obamacare Death Panels, and due to Ebola. You may not agree, but polling seemed to indicate a 3-5% polling turn due to the prominence of those issues.

But the larger point regarding Hillary Clinton is that no Democrat will be immune from these sorts of attacks, at least not if they are seen as a serious contender by the Republicans. That is a testable proposition, let's check back a year from now and see if there is a Democratic front-runner who is not hit by some sort of scandal that is never substantiated (there may also be some hit by real scandals, as John Edwards should have been, but it's the ubiquity of the false ones that I describe as smears that I predict). And so in my judgement Hillary is no less fit as a candidate than any other Democrat based on the current scandals, because I believe with high confidence that every other leading Democratic candidate will be hit by something similar. That's certainly been the track record of the past few decades.

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AI Wessex
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I think Bernie Sanders (ineffective**) and Joe Biden (career also-ran), both backbenchers, are pretty much immune to those sorts of attacks. I can't think of anyone else who can challenge Hillary. Another reason the GOP/conservative attack machine goes after her with such ferocity is that the other two are less electable than she is, even if they carry better favorable/unfavorable impressions. Sanders, in particular, is as much an outlier in the public mind as Trump, Carson or Cruz. If Hillary runs, she wins; if it's anybody else the election is a tossup. That's why (for now) I support her candidacy.

** Sanders' name was on 69 bills in the 113th session, only two of which were enacted. Both had the same title in consecutive years: "A resolution permitting the collection of clothing, toys, food, and housewares during the holiday season for charitable purposes in Senate buildings." His heart and head are in the right place, but he has very little support in the Dem caucus.

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