We'll get to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's comments in a moment, but first, some news from over the weekend. Compared to previous revelations in Hillary Clinton's email scandal, this development amounts to little more than a shrug. Still, it shouldn't be overlooked amid the Supreme Court vacancy fight and all of the election news:
The State Department released a batch of about 550 of Hillary Clinton's emails midday Saturday, making public details of the Obama administration's deliberations about global hotspots such as Libya, Syria and the South China Sea. The new set of messages also incrementally increased the headache for Clinton's presidential campaign as the State Department classified 84 more messages, bringing the total tally of messages now deemed to contain such restricted information to more than 1,700. None of those messages was marked as classified at the time, but critics say Clinton's use of a private server for her emails risked national security. While the vast majority of the messages now considered classified are designated at the lowest level—"Confidential"—as closely-held diplomatic communications, State deemed three messages in the latest batch to warrant protection at the more sensitive "Secret" level. One of those appeared to deal with fallout from the U.S. military and CIA raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.
A very far cry from her "there is no classified material" assertion last March. Dozens of these emails -- which do not include those that were unilaterally deleted by her attorneys, and about which she's lied -- have been determined to be top secret and above. Some are so sensitive to national security that the State Department has decided not to release them in any form, even with redactions. Clinton's improper, unsecure server seriously compromised these high-level secret communications. Those uber-secret messages were "born classified" at the time, and were not retroactively deemed to be classified after the fact. Mrs. Clinton signed a binding nondisclosure agreement prior to assuming her role as Secretary of State in which she swore to protect classified material, "marked and unmarked." She carried on with her email scheme even after being warned of foreign hackers' efforts to penetrate US secrets by targeting top officials' private email accounts. The new batch of 550 emails, dozens of which were classified, was made public as part of the State Department's court-ordered release schedule, the final round of which will drop just before Super Tuesday. Now, in case you missed it last week, the former Defense Intelligence Chief who served under President Obama has called on Hillary Clinton to withdraw from the presidential race due to her national security-endangering conduct:
President Barack Obama's former top military intelligence official said Hillary Clinton should pull out of the presidential race while the FBI investigate her use of a private email server for official government communication while secretary of state. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the retired chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the call in an interview with Jake Tapper on "The Lead." "If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail," said Flynn, who decried what he said was a "lack of accountability, frankly, in a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America." Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon later told Tapper the general's suggestion was "just silly" and pointed to similar FBI probes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and of aides to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Rice and Powell comparison is misleading spin, for reasons we've already examined in-depth. And many voters may conclude that Obama's Defense Intelligence chief may have more knowledge and credibility on such matters than, say, Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman. Newly-released emails between officials at other federal agencies reveal widespread shock and incredulity as details of Clinton's reckless, exclusive use of a private email server came to light (via the Examiner):
Newly released government emails show that officials in charge of privacy and records at the Treasury Department reacted with shock over initial reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton used a private server to send and ship classified material. "Unbelievable," wrote Marcus Smallwood, the records management officer for Treasury to Helen Goff Foster, deputy assistant secretary for privacy, transparency and records, in an March 3, 2015 email sent at 6:19 a.m. She wrote back: "Yes--that is just what I said when I heard it on the news this am. Unbelievable."
Labor Department employees reacted with similar astonishment:
...An aide said, "what in the heck was State thinking?" and another, "You may want to share with the group as to how NOT to handle things and how you can end up in nationwide news."
The FBI recently confirmed the existence of an ongoing and expanded criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices, which reportedly entails national security risks, obstruction of justice, and public corruption. In doing so, the Bureau rebuffed Clinton's false claim that the probe was a mere "security review." We discussed this drumbeat of problematic news for Hillary on Outnumbered today: