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Obama: The Word 'Classified' Means Whatever We Need It To Mean (techdirt.com) 554

An anonymous reader writes: During an interview with Fox News, President Obama said "There's classified, and then there's classified" when trying to answer questions about an ongoing investigation about Hillary Clinton and her emails. Techdirt writes, "Clinton sent, received and stored classified info on a private email server. But some classified info is more equal than others. It all depends on who has it and how the current administration feels about that person. Clinton playing fast and loose with classified info is subject to an entirely different standard than the large number of whistleblowers the Obama administration has prosecuted over the years." President Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that while Hillary Clinton had been careless in managing her emails as secretary of state, she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country. Obama says, "There's stuff that is really top-secret, and there's stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open-source." Basically, classification means all things to all people, as long as it allows officials and agencies to control narratives and disrupt public accountability.
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Obama: The Word 'Classified' Means Whatever We Need It To Mean

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  • Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kschendel ( 644489 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:04AM (#51898871) Homepage

    I sure hope none of that is news to anyone, because it's what "classified" has meant for at least the last 70 years and probably a lot longer.

    Anyone who thinks that "classified" means something like super duper secret is either uninformed or an idiot.

    • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tenebrousedge ( 1226584 ) <tenebrousedge&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:14AM (#51898933)

      The last line of the summary is opinion, probably false, and flamebait. That may be what Fox or Rush Limbaugh are saying, but reasonable people need not repeat it, and it certainly doesn't belong on Slashdot.

      A large part of prior discussions on the topic here was that SecState does actually have the power to unilaterally declare some material classified or not -- I believe this applies to material originating in the State Department. So, most people here should already know that there are degrees and nuances to classification, and the details of that matter considerably. I'm not suggesting that Clinton should or should not be indicted or tried, but for all its demonizing of Obama for trying to promote a narrative, this article is as bad or worse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I agree that this is posturing for a likely "decline to prosecute", just the beginning of the spin cycle.

        Equal prosecution under the law isn't in the constitution. (but, maybe it should be)

        • Discretion (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tenebrousedge ( 1226584 ) <tenebrousedge&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:39AM (#51899141)

          Prosecutorial discretion is a legal principle that predates the Constitution, and exists for many good reasons, not least of which is preventing the needless use of state resources. Similarly, we give discretion to police in their exercise of power, and we give discretion to juries in deciding whether to convict. It may be convenient for your current political agenda to have things be otherwise, but you should probably understand that if there were to be language in the Constitution regarding this subject, it would far more likely preserve this principle than dispose of it. I honestly don't have any idea how this will play out, personally; I'm just here for the show.

          • Re:Discretion (Score:5, Insightful)

            by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:05AM (#51899337) Homepage

            And prosecutorial discretion is and has been abused since long before the Constitution was written. Just because it is SOP doesn't make it good. When laws are very, very irregularly enforced, it makes a mockery of the judicial system itself. Of course there should be some leeway, but that doesn't mean that rich and powerful people should get off while poor and working people get hit with the maximum sentence. It also doesn't mean that corporate CEOs should only be fined, while small, non-violent offenders get years in jail, for example for a small drug charge. Laws have always been unevenly enforced to the detriment or regular people, and the benefit of the wealthy. We even see very uneven application of the law with regard to leaking so-called classified information, for example David Patraeus vs. Jeffrey Sterling. When laws are applied that unevenly, it is clear the law is being used as a targeted weapon, rather than a rule applied to all of society.

            • Re:Discretion (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:24AM (#51899503)

              On my road they lowered the speed limit to 25. Then they set up personalized speed traps for people they're after. They pull over and set up the trap as the person nears, then only point the gun at that one car. As soon as its gone, the cop drives away. Seen it 4 times in the last month and a half (they're after flagged "dangerous drivers" that they track with the states license plate scanners).

            • There are certainly many problems with the justice system. I'm sure we could spend many happy hours describing and delineating them — you have a good list going already. However, I'm far more interested in your proposal to fix this situation. It is recognized that prosecuting all crimes to the fullest extent is neither feasible nor in the public interest, which is why at all stages we assign wide discretion to persons safeguarding the interest of the State. Attempts to reduce this discretion, for exam

              • Re:Discretion (Score:5, Insightful)

                by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:44AM (#51899659) Journal

                It is recognized that prosecuting all crimes to the fullest extent is neither feasible nor in the public interest

                Attempts to reduce this discretion, for example mandatory minimum sentencing, are widely considered to have done more harm than good.

                I would argue that reduction of discretion is precisely what is required, discretion to prosecute in the first place. Any crime which we are not prepared to attempt to detect, investigate, and prosecute vigorously should be no crime at all.

                If the rules governing what classified materials have to be handled what way and when are to complex for follow and so frequently not important enough to peruse violators of the answer is have fewer rules. We should be able to define simple understandable rules for identify documents that MUST be protected as state secrets and what to do with them. Maybe the answer is for the rest is tell people "use your judgment" bad judgment as perceived by your superiors might get you fired but it isn't a crime.

                Its just possible we have to many laws.

                • I would argue that reduction of discretion is precisely what is required, discretion to prosecute in the first place. Any crime which we are not prepared to attempt to detect, investigate, and prosecute vigorously should be no crime at all.

                  For that to happen (and for it to be a good thing), our skill in making precise laws that cover every situation will need to improve significantly. Right now we don't know how to write really good laws, so we make an approximation (at best), and depend on judges and the legal system to do the rest.

                  Because the weight of the penal system is heavy and powerful, it has severe limitations on what it can do, to prevent people from being convicted wrongly. The scale is heavily weighted towards letting guilty pe

              • Re:Discretion (Score:5, Interesting)

                by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:14AM (#51899987) Homepage

                First off, reduce the number of laws that pertain to non-violent and victim-less crimes. That would include drug laws, which should be health issues, not legal issues. How many laws are on the books? Obviously too many, and a significant percentage are for behaviors that don't affect society or other citizens. Meanwhile, other activities that severely hurt society are not even against the law (e.g., off-shoring billions of dollars to avoid taxes, increasing the tax burden on everyone else). Further, we have a for-profit prison system that needs to fill beds to make a profit. Right there you clearly have a conflict of interest. So you could also get rid of all for-profit prisons. The are a number of changes that could be made that would reduce the number of people charged, while appling the law much more evenly across society.

              • Re:Discretion (Score:4, Insightful)

                by buck-yar ( 164658 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:59AM (#51900373)

                If the cops can watch people violate a crime, then pick a few people out and enforce the law against those people... then its not really about the issue the law was designed to deter, is it?

                Then we arrived at the conclusion that its not about the law at all, and only about an excuse to prosecute selected people

                (posted anonymously out of fear of police retaliation)

            • Amen. See Frederic Bastiat's "The Law:" http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.... [bastiat.org]

              Written in 1850, it details from a philosophical perspective the rise of law, its presumed purpose, and some strong arguments for indicators that the law has gone bad. Chronic, uneven application of the law is one of the perversions of law he discusses.

            • Re:Discretion (Score:5, Informative)

              by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:58AM (#51900365)

              We even see very uneven application of the law with regard to leaking so-called classified information, for example David Patraeus vs. Jeffrey Sterling

              That's the main thing here. Having held a clearance myself, yes those huge legal penalties are a possibility. However, most incidents of mishandling involve a slap on the wrist and a very annoyed security officer who has to do a ton of paperwork. In extreme cases, you might see your clearance revoked, but I've never even seen it come to that. They just have the draconian penalties there so that in cases of true malice, its possible to come down on the miscreant like a ton of bricks. But that's almost never actually done, unless there's an actual case of espionage, or it somehow gets political.

              So when you see someone demanding a full penalty for a non-espionage incident involving a politician, its pretty clear what's going on here, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with normal security procedures.

              • So when you see someone demanding a full penalty for a non-espionage incident involving a politician

                Mostly what we're hearing is calls for the person who was the top security official at State and fourth in line to the presidency to not get off completely unharmed for passing around SAP-level material on a computer she set up in her house in order to avoid FOIA compliance. And if there's some urge to go easy on her because we don't yet have evidence of the Russians or the Chinese plowing around in her mailbox, keep in mind that instead of doing her job and turning over all of her material as she left off

          • Several legal principles predate our Constitution, not limited to regal powers and the concept of literal ownership of people.

            Which of these should we also tolerate?

        • I agree that this is posturing for a likely "decline to prosecute", just the beginning of the spin cycle.

          Equal prosecution under the law isn't in the constitution. (but, maybe it should be)

          Pretty much. It is an admission of violation of the law and they are spreading words to minimize it.

      • Re:Well, duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:45AM (#51899677) Homepage Journal

        Just because someone has executive power to declare something classified (no matter the classification, e.g. secret, top secret) doesn't mean they get to IGNORE that classification. If she classified any communications, then they remain so until she officially declassified them. If she classified documents (or someone else did) and she passed them through her vulnerable email server without removing that classification, she is guilty of a violation. Doing otherwise is either lazy or scheming. I'm thinking the former here, because this whole mess started when she didn't want to carry two phones.

        Come on, we're mostly IT people here. Do you like it when the CEO unofficially decides that he's above all the rules of the IT department? He'll be the first to fire people when company secrets get out. And this is why we have to demand that MINIMAL accountability to people who are supposed to be highly skilled in their area and honest in their dealings.

      • From a legal standpoint, there is classified or not. The degree of classification is irrelevant. Classified information is to be handled in certain ways - from low-level classified information to top secret. Failure with any classified information is the breach, is the illegal activity.

        There are multiple grades of murder, from involuntary manslaughter to premeditated murder. But all are murder, and all are illegal and all have penalties associated. Claiming otherwise is simply a "laws for thee and not

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I don't completely agree, you have to define what it is classified as:
        - Top Secret
        - Secret
        - Restricted
        - Public

      Just stating Classified doesn't really tell much about how sensitive it is.

      And anything that isn't classified at all should be handled as if it's Secret.

      • Re:Well, duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:34AM (#51899093)

        I don't completely agree, you have to define what it is classified as: - Top Secret - Secret - Restricted - Public

        Just stating Classified doesn't really tell much about how sensitive it is.

        I agree (except for your proposed "default to secret" policy--see below).

        If some things are indeed "more secret" than other things at the same level of classification, that means that we don't have enough levels of classification. The exact meaning of each level of secrecy, and which roles will have access to it, should be well-defined and a matter of public record. It sounds from this story like that's not the case, at least in certain officials' imaginations--probably because a lack of clarity lets them do whatever they want, whenever they want, and say it's just a matter of discretion.

        Rule of law, rule of law, rule of law.

        And anything that isn't classified at all should be handled as if it's Secret.

        Or, we could default to "public", because this is a democracy, and we already make more things secret than is healthy.

        • There's often a tension between security and getting things done, and it's really useful to have some human judgment in the system. Having even finer grades of secrecy will accomplish little except create inefficiency and not address the need.

          At some point, you have to give people discretion to get the work of the United States done. There's plenty the Secretary of State can do to screw things up much worse than misfiling some documents, and we can lose more from delaying urgent actions than from misha

          • "There's plenty the Secretary of State can do to screw things up much worse than misfiling some documents"

            Yes, but those things are often visible to all, and also actionable. Admittedly, mostly by dismissing the Secretary, but still, a private email server and circumventing classified information handling isn't 'misfiling'. It's intentional according to the publicized information I have read.

            • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

              Admittedly, mostly by dismissing the Secretary, but still, a private email server and circumventing classified information handling isn't 'misfiling'. It's intentional according to the publicized information I have read.

              So you actually mean there really is nearly nothing that can be done about it, because you just don't dismiss a senior cabinet secretary for something like this. You cover it up or try and brush it off. Sort of like Obama is doing now, because even after that person is gone, you don't want to deal with the fallout on your administration.

          • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

            Thanks to Manning and Snowden, we know what happens when lots of top secret stuff gets dumped into public view, and it's not that bad.

            You're wrong, it's bad. Just try and do business with Europeans these days. You think there has been no effect on US business interests? Think again. What a gigantic pain the ass this has all been. And we don't we keep private information on our system, unless some doofus on the customer side decides to embed that stuff into a file. I can't even imagine the crap that the people who actually do handle personal data have had to go through.

        • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

          by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:09AM (#51899937) Homepage Journal

          My work in the military was in a classified career field. Most of it was Confidential, with occasional Secret classifications, and more commonly (but not mostly) NOFORN.

          Much of it was of value only for short periods of time. Some was actually information that could be found publicly, that by itself was not very dangerous, but when combined with other information also sometimes available publicly could be used against our nation with damaging effect.

          Some was genuinely in the realm of industrial secrets, and would materially improve the abilities of our adversaries to defeat us in war, which is by itself a good reason to keep some things secret.

          Others were more operational in nature, limited duration, and could be described as useful only for a moment. Higher classifications would not yield more protection or security.

          To this day I am not yet free to discuss most of my work, though my knowledge is now 19 years out of date. Some of it is still important, and I'm not at liberty to choose what to talk about and what not to. I'm also not sure if I need to notify the government if I intend to travel to Russia or other countries labelled similarly as security risks. But I'm not planning to either.

          Multiple levels of classification are just as critical as file permissions in operating systems. Some levels are just useful, others critical to security.

      • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:39AM (#51899143)

        Actually it's Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential. And at the TS or S level, you can have an additional layer under the umbrella of "special access program". SAP, whether it's TS or S is that highly classified group Obama was talking about. A few of the email's on Clinton's server were TS/SAP, which is essentially the highest level of classification available. Also, as the TS/SAP emails were apparently about a drone program, the classifying authority would likely be DoD or CIA... not the Dept. of State.

        What people don't understand is that this kind of stuff isn't discussed outside of a vault. Computers authorized to even have emails mentioning it have to be classified at the TS/SAP level, and stored in a vault as well. The amount of security needed to store such information is so extreme, that there is no way Clinton didn't know she was in violation of protocol. What she did constitutes negligent handling of classified information, which, along with straight up disclosure as the NDA signed to grant clearance makes no distinction, is punishable by up to 10 years and $10,000 per count where each classified document would be a single count. Even disregarding the whole criminal aspect of it, and the possibility of indictment, I cannot understand how this wouldn't disqualify her purely on her character. If she's playing fast and loose with highly sensitive documents, what other corners will she cut as president, and how will that negatively impact our country and worldwide repuation?

        • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @11:22AM (#51900597)
          A co-worker at my lab was visiting the Pentagon for a meeting with one of his research sponsors. He visited the restroom at the same time as another guy with a stack of papers in his hand. He said hi and went in a stall, the other guy used a urinal. When he got out of the stall, he noticed the stack of papers on the sink. He called security and turned the papers over. They interviewed him briefly to get a description of the guy. As he was walking to his meeting, he passed by security escorting the guy out of the building, presumably to a waiting police car.

          That's what happens and how quickly they happen when you mishandle classified materials. If you're not a favored politician.
      • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <[salgak] [at] [speakeasy.net]> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:31AM (#51899567) Homepage

        Top Secret - data, that, if released, would cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security
        Secret - same thing, but "serious" damage
        Confidential - damage to national security.
        For Official Use Only - not classified, but not for public release.

        Additionally, there are "caveats" that restrict distribution to certain groups, and Special Access / Compartments (aka SCI) that one needs to be specifically approved for, and briefed into. . .

      • by flink ( 18449 )

        I don't completely agree, you have to define what it is classified as:

        - Top Secret

        - Secret

        - Restricted

        - Public

        RESTRICTED hasn't been a thing in the US since WWII. There is a CONFIDENTIAL level however. Also, there are many, many other security markings that may be placed on a document, even if it isn't classified, that modify how it may be distributed. You may be also interested to learn that there is no official comprehensive list of all markings and what they mean as each branch or program may designate their own marks that are defined in the Security Classification Guide of the program that is generating the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone who thinks that "classified" means something like super duper secret is either uninformed or an idiot.

      Wat. The thing that people are especially freaking out about are the "SECRET/SAP" emails that went out to/from her server.

      I personally don't care (the Espionage Act of 1917 contributed greatly to the downfall of the American Republic - it should be but never can be repealed) but at least understand the controversy.

      • Re:Well, duh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Beezlebub33 ( 1220368 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:30AM (#51899057)

        First I've heard of this. There were emails and / or attachments that were marked as special access? Who was the classification authority and when were they classified?

        There is a big difference between things that are marked as classified, with the appropriate headers and footers, declass dates, etc, and things that someone 2 years later in a different agency says 'those should have been classified'. The first is a felony, the second isn't. Do people understand the difference? I don't think so.

        • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

          by joshki ( 152061 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:53AM (#51899223)

          Actually both are felonies. Classification of data does not depend on how it is marked. One might be able to make a reasonable argument that they were not aware of some data being classified if it were marked incorrectly or not at all, but with the magnitude of this problem and her position at the time she does not enjoy the ability to make that argument.

          • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Informative)

            by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:42AM (#51900231) Journal

            To support the parent, here is the relevant document; the NDA Hillary signed ..

            http://freebeacon.com/wp-conte... [freebeacon.com]

            Enjoy.

        • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by andyring ( 100627 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:01AM (#51899293) Homepage

          Yes, that is established fact. It is also on record where Hillary was having trouble receiving classified information via secure methods. She specifically instructed one of her staff members to remove the classification markings and send the material to her in an unsecured method.

          http://dailycaller.com/2016/01... [dailycaller.com]

          • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Beezlebub33 ( 1220368 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:15AM (#51899415)

            This is probably the worst thing I've seen in this discussion that has some factual basis, because it's willful removal of markings.

            One of the problems I have with this is that it's not clear sometimes. For example, you said that she 'was having trouble receiving classified information', but the article doesn't say that, it says whether or not it was classified is unknown.

            For some reason, people think that I'm trying to defend her, but i'm trying to understand what exactly she did and how bad it was on a scale from 1 to 10. I keep getting the impression that Fox thinks it's a 10 (purposefully handing marked TS/SAP info to the Chinese) and her campaign saying it was a 1 (she got an email that the classified coffee maker was broken). Does it matter? I think so. It doesn't help that people are simply wrong when they say things like the above ('classified information' versus 'sensitive information').

            • by guises ( 2423402 )
              Nuance is not how things work on the internet and, increasingly, not how things work in real life. "Trying to understand what all the fuss is about" is tantamount to taking sides, it stems from going to the absolute extreme on a position. Think about that: with one side claiming that she's the devil, the only other option is that she isn't. If you don't buy the idea that everything she does or touches or looks at is tainted and evil, then she can't possibly be as bad as they're saying she is and you are, th
          • Re:Well, duh (Score:4, Interesting)

            by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @10:05AM (#51899897)

            Yes, that is established fact. It is also on record where Hillary was having trouble receiving classified information via secure methods. She specifically instructed one of her staff members to remove the classification markings and send the material to her in an unsecured method.

            http://dailycaller.com/2016/01... [dailycaller.com]

            Apparently “Turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure,” translates as "Make a version without the sensitive information and send that over unsecured communications" and is a common and accepted practice.

    • Anyone who thinks that "classified" means something like super duper secret is either uninformed or an idiot.

      Sure. We know very well, that "Classified" may mean any of the restriction levels [wikipedia.org], most of which are not "super duper".

      But it was still illegal (felonious) for Hillary Clinton to mishandle such material — and she knew it [freebeacon.com]. She needs to be charged with the crime and convicted of it. President Obama can then show leniency and pardon her, if he wishes.

      And if that costs Democrats the election, so

      • by jsepeta ( 412566 )

        Obama won't prosecute Hillary, and he won't prosecute W. Basically, he's the man. And not in a good way.

        • The decision whether to prosecute or not shouldn't be left up to Hillary's colleagues. They need an independent judiciary, free from reprisal for prosecuting the rich and powerful. Isn't that supposed to be in the constitution or something?

      • by chill ( 34294 )

        Not only is that incorrect, in that it quite possibly could be misdemeanor, that is wholly inconsistent with historical precedent on these types of cases.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/hillary-clinton-prosecution-past-cases-221744 [politico.com]

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-classified-information/2015/09/18/a164c1a4-5d72-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

        Obama is acknowledging what is common knowledge and the subject of numerous news articles -- the government grossly overclassifies docume

      • This is it right here.

        While I can't relate too well with government level secrecy, as a developer, I have been on numerous 'classified' projects where an NDA applies. Basically... don't talk to anyone outside the project about it.

        And I'm sure just like the government, there are different levels of classified.
        Heck, I've been on classified projects where someone from marketting already leaked the project and it's public... but we still can't talk about it. Some are secret projects against competitors. Some ar

    • Re:Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:24AM (#51899007) Journal
      Arguably, the outlines of this issue were (surprisingly comprehensively) addressed by a ficticious talking egg in an 1871 children's book:

      "When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
      "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
      "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."
    • I sure hope none of that is news to anyone, because it's what "classified" has meant for at least the last 70 years and probably a lot longer.

      Anyone who thinks that "classified" means something like super duper secret is either uninformed or an idiot.

      Exactly. In some cases, the first law of thermodynamics was considered classified and NOFORN.

    • Well, yes, but...

      if it's MARKED classified, it shouldn't have gone over her email server. To date, news reports indicate that this happened rarely, perhaps never.

      If it WAS marked classified, and those markings were removed, that's a whole 'nother problem, separate and distinct (and far more serious) from Clinton running a private email server.

      If it WASN'T marked classified, and should have been, that's also a bigger issue, but one on which reasonable people might differ. So, there should be more latitude

      • You are overlooking that some of the emails that may not have been marked were classified by definition based on where the information they contained came from. A fact which Hillary would have been aware of.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      In other words it's only classified if someone like Snowden releases it.

  • History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kqc7011 ( 525426 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:07AM (#51898887)
    As Orwell said "but some animals are more equal than others".
    • Perhaps, but classified info is not an animal or a metaphor for communism for that matter. First of all, there are 3 basic levels of classification and then all sorts of compartmentalization and every holder or generator of said classified info gets to decide how it gets handled. It is indeed illegal to mishandle classified info but being charged with a crime for it requires intent. Anything unintentional gets a stern talking to and possibly temporary or permanent revocation of clearance. Everyone gets a se

  • not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:07AM (#51898889) Homepage
    that there is a different set of rules for the leaders in the democrat party than there are for the rest of us
    • Re:not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:59AM (#51899271)

      It's not just the Democrat party, it's the whole government. I've had a clearance for 25 years and, in many cases, things I was required by law to mark Top Secret with code words could be found in open source information readily. It's almost always about the source of the information when talking "classified" versus "unclassified" not the actual information itself.

      The rules haven't changed. The public understanding of the rules needs to change.

      Does that mean Clinton doesn't deserve any consequences? No. She most certainly should be held to at least the same standard as every other government employee. Is that going to happen? Not likely.

  • Some pigs are more equal than you.

  • Ummm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:09AM (#51898907)

    "she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country"

    She is running for the presidency, isn't she?

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:16AM (#51898945)
    >> Obama said "There's classified, and then there's classified

    The guy's a goof, but he's still one step less slimy than the couple that brought you "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

    If you like your rule of law, you can keep your rule of law, right?
    • Ironically (or not) that would be the couple he's protecting... :/

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      >> Obama said "There's classified, and then there's classified

      Well in a way he's right. The government classifies so much that virtually everything has some level of classification. At the lowest levels, it's pretty much all information that you will see in newspapers maybe a few days or weeks later, if not information you can easily find/see for yourself to being with(say the President is flying to London: his exact scheduled arrival time might officially be classified, but if you know what time he took off you can pretty much figure it out). People see "classifie

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:18AM (#51898963)

    Trying to get Hillary Clinton off by changing the rules. Now he needs to pardon his friend Blago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:23AM (#51898989)

    By all accounts Gen. David Petraeus was a straight shooting general who helped reform for the better the counter-insurgency strategy of the US military. He then was elevated to lead the CIA. By several accounts he fell out of favor with the president for arguing against policy changes made by the White House. Then he gets investigated after a suspected cyber security incident, which leads to agents uncovering an affair with his biographer, which leads them to uncover that he gave her his memoir which was classified.

      Petraeus' biographer held a security clearance and there is no reason to believe national security was endangered. Especially not more than allowing classified documents to be sent to an email server in the Clinton's closet was. Looking at the letter of the law, what Clinton did was far more a transgression than what Petraeus did, in both quantity of classified material and the fact that electronic material was far more likely to be hacked and copied.

    And the brazen manner in which Clinton directed her staff to strip the classified markings off of material and transmit them in an insecure channel in at least one instance. The time the classified fax machine was not working it is documented that she did this.

    Obama has clearly set a double standard and with his pronouncement that national security was not harmed he is trying to influence, interfere and undermine the investigation of Hillary Clinton.

    • And the brazen manner in which Clinton directed her staff to strip the classified markings off of material and transmit them in an insecure channel in at least one instance. The time the classified fax machine was not working it is documented that she did this.

      As someone with a clearance, that sounds really bad. Can you please point me at a source?

    • by spauldo ( 118058 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:37AM (#51899119)

      Obama has clearly set a double standard

      No, he hasn't. It's the same standard that's always applied to people at that level of power.

      Laws don't apply to those in power. They're tools to be used against rivals, or just a way to control those without power. It's been that way ever since laws have existed, and it exists in every form of government. If someone can't get themselves out of trouble, they don't really have power, do they?

      • Laws don't apply to those in power.

        They applied to Nixon..... but not any of the Clintons or Obamas... notice a pattern?

  • It's good to be the King.

  • in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:24AM (#51899009) Homepage Journal

    They want us to follow the letter of the law or pay the price, they can do the same. If they don't believe in it, why should we? This is further proof that The President doesn't believe in the law, as if any further were required. Why should we?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:26AM (#51899019)

    Our great Leader, President Barack Hussein Obama, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, through Whom only all our aspirations can and will become reality, has spoken. The issue is settled, the debate must stop. To keep arguing would mean doubting the good faith and wisdom of our great Leader, President, Barack Hussein Obama, recipient of the Nobel Prize, through Whom only all our aspirations can and will become reality, and that would be treasonous at best. I for one accept without condition the Truth as revealed by our great Leader, President, Barack Hussein Obama, recipient of the Nobel Prize, through Whom only all our aspirations can and will become reality, and will never doubt His hallowed and wise words.

    I am not and I will never be counted among the malcontents. I can assure this great country and our great Leader, President, Barack Hussein Obama, recipient of the Nobel Prize, through Whom only all our aspirations can and will become reality, that I will be always faithful and will not hesitate to inform on any traitor expressing dissent and spreading malcontent among the populace.

  • by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:27AM (#51899029)

    Isn't that his same take on "there's illegal, then there's illegal".

  • by mbaGeek ( 1219224 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:31AM (#51899065) Homepage

    security wonk rule of thumb:

    • "confidential" = it would be embarrassing if this information leaked
    • "secret" = material/stuff might get destroyed if this information leaked
    • "top secret" = people could die if this information leaked
    • you need to control access to/the flow of "sensitive" information and therefore establish policies. Once policies are established they must be enforced. There isn't any allowance for "intent" - was the information "sensitive" were the policies violated. It isn't that complicated ...

  • Patraeus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:34AM (#51899091)
    I'm sure Patraeus didn't want to hurt the country, either, but it didn't save him from his felony charge and subsequent plea deal.
  • by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:35AM (#51899105)

    she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country.

    she would never do anything to endanger those in power.

    If there was an interest to protect the country all he would have to do is respect the US constitution. Now the US has kangaroo courts, secret lists of accused, police asset seizure without court sanctioned warrant, and so on....

    The US is just like Russia and China. Whatever is needed to keep those in power in power.

  • Good for the goose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @08:47AM (#51899177)

    President Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that while Hillary Clinton had been careless in managing her emails as secretary of state, she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country.

    A similar thing happened to me recently. I got a little careless in managing my speed on the highway, but I would never intentionally do anything to endanger other drivers. So citing the President's logic I will not be paying the fine I received. Is that how it works now?

    • If you were a police officer, I doubt you would have gotten a ticket. If you were a police officer with the lights on, you certainly wouldn't, because you'd be doing it in the course of your official duties. The Secretary of State is at a sufficiently high level to bend the rules in the course of her official duties, because the duties are more important than the rules.

  • yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @09:29AM (#51899551)

    >> she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country ...but she did. Or has "I didn't intentionally mean to..." now become a valid excuse for every illegal activity?

    I can't believe that we're still expected to vote for Hilary, I mean since she is clueless enough to do this, do we REALLY want her making key decisions around running the whole country? Hell no.

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on. -- Samuel Goldwyn

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