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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Secretary of State and Classified Information

For John, BLUFIgnorance is no excuse?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

14 Excerpts From the FBI's Report on Hillary Clinton's Email

This is a report on the FBI Friday Data Dump on the interview of Mrs Clinton by the FBI a while back.  The Writer is Mr Kevin Drumsep and the vehicle is Mother Jones.

I got to the article by clicking through from a 5 September article by local Professor Dan Kennedy, who wrote for WGBH, Five Reasons Why The Media Are Piling On Clinton And Giving Trump A Pass".

Which appears, in turn, to be a follow-on to Professor Paul Krugman's OpEd in The Old Gray Lady, which I blogged about here.

But, back to the Mother Jones article, Mr Drumsep includes this point:

Page 20:  When asked of her knowledge regarding TOP SECRET, SECRET, and CONFIDENTIAL classification levels of USG information, Clinton responded that she did not pay attention to the "level" of classification and took all classified information seriously.
For some reason there are people guffawing at this, but I don't know why.  The plainest reading is not that Hillary had no idea what various classification levels meant, but that she treated all classified information seriously no matter what level it was at.
The only problem with this answer, and this explanation, is that as part of her job, she was an OCA, which I discussed here.  An OCA?  An Original Classification Authority.

Say you work in some basement office in Foggy Bottom and you develop a new way to transmit information in an encrypted manner over a ground wave half way around the world.  What classification would you give this system?  You wouldn't.  The OCA needs to tell you, since it is new.  No derivative classification.  It is new.  Now it might be one of Mrs Clinton's minions who actually gives you the classification (TOP SECRET, Special Access Program L'il Abner)(I made that up out of whole cloth).  But, the minion does this under the authority of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Shouldn't Mrs Clinton have a clue?

Here is what I wrote before:

Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009, "Classified National Security Information", lays out the rules for classification of information, protection of the information and its declassification.

Based upon past understanding [and EO 13526, Sec 1.3 (a) (2)], the Secretary of State has original classification authority.  So, if the United States is in negotiations with Lower Slabbovia over certain landing rights for aircraft engaged in supporting military operations in Afghanistan or Iraq, the Secretary of Stzte could classify the fact of and contents of the negotiations as TOP SECRET, perhaps because the Government of Lower Slobbovia wanted it that way.  In a way she is her own boss.

Hat tip to Ms Lynne Lupien.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I was taken to task on LTC's City Life for using tern term Ms Clinton.  The person wanted me to use Secretary of State Clinton, which seems an over long form of address.  Thus, while I will eschew use of Ms, I will settle for The Old Gray Lady's Mrs Clinton.  If it is good enough for their Lordships at the it should be good enough for the rest of us.

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