For months you’ve read about EmailGate in this column. I’ve elaborated how Hillary Clinton, the apparent Democratic frontrunner for President this year, put large amounts of classified information at grave risk through slipshod security practices by herself and her staff. Now that scandal has taken a significant turn for the more ominous.
Last Friday afternoon the State Department’s latest court-mandated release of Hillary Clinton’s emails from when she was Secretary of State caused a new political firestorm. While many more emails were released by Foggy Bottom, some with redactions due to classified materials they contained, twenty-two emails totaling thirty-seven pages of text were withheld entirely at the request of the Intelligence Community. Those twenty-two emails, deemed “unclassified” by Ms. Clinton and her staff, were judged to be Top Secret in reality.
Since Top Secret is the U.S. Government’s highest official classification level, this revelation exploded months of denials from the Clinton presidential campaign that Hillary had done no wrong. The Federal government defines Top Secret materials as “information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” The disclosure of Top Secret information is a serious criminal matter that normal Americans face prosecution and substantial jail time for perpetrating.
Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton over the weekend continued to deny any wrongdoing in EmailGate, painting the scandal as just more political theater by her enemies. Echoes of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” the Clintonian 1990s bogeyman, are now distinctly audible. Moreover, she compared the story to the attack on our Benghazi consulate in 2012, which may not help her politically, given the lingering problems that tragedy still causes Ms. Clinton in certain quarters.