Over at the Associated Press this afternoon (later updated), Ken Dilanian, with the help of four other reporters, prepared a lengthy dispatch attempting to defend 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email and private-server practices. Boiled down to its essence: "[D]iplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations."
Nice try, guys, but there are two problems with your "many others did it" defense. First, Dilanian and his team quietly admitted that Mrs. Clinton has been lying when claiming in recent weeks that she never sent any classified emails. Additionally, they ignored a December 2009 Executive Order from President Obama which, as Catherine Herridge at Fox News reported this morning, specifies that only "intelligence agencies who own that information in the first place have the authority to declassify it."
Perhaps AP's Dilanian got overly giddy because he was able to discuss how "the Bush people did it too," and let his guard down. Whatever the explanation, in the eleventh paragraph of the 6:59 p.m. version of his dispatch (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes), he quietly and perhaps inadvertently reported that Mrs. Clinton has sent emails containing classifed information (bolds are mine throughout this post):
STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS ROUTINELY SENT SECRETS OVER EMAIL
The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Clinton's use of a home server makes her case unique and has become an issue in her front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it's not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used department email. The department only systematically checks email for sensitive or classified material in response to a public records request.
(Paragraphs 11 through 13)
... Many of the emails to Clinton containing classified information were forwarded to her by a close aide, Huma Abedin. Most, however, originated with diplomats who have access to confidential material. Some emails sent by Clinton have since been censored.
Such slippage of classified information into regular email is "very common, actually," said Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who frequently represents government officials and contractors in disputes over security clearances and classified information.
What makes Clinton's case different is that she exclusively sent and received emails through a home server in lieu of the State Department's unclassified email system.
"Some emails sent by Clinton have since been censored"? Well, they were "censored" because they contain classified information.
One of the many outlets reporting Mrs. Clinton's July 25 claim concerning her involvement with classified emails was CNN, whose Eugene Scott wrote the following:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday said she did not send classified emails from her private server while she was secretary of state.
"I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received," Clinton told reporters in Winterset, Iowa.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: One of the cardinal rules (of document classification) is that only the agency that gets the information has the authority to declassify that information. And that's why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton and her team are in such deep trouble over these emails.
Fox News confirming the emails from a Huma Abedin to Mrs. Clinton that kickstarted the FBI probe contained classifed information from three intelligence agencies: the DIA, the NSA, and the NGA, which oversees U.S. government spy satellites. All three agencies have confirmed the intelligence was classified when it was sent three years ago, and remains classified to this day.
But the State Department claims the intelligence was unclassified, even though they didn't own it, and released the emails — now simply stating there's a difference of opinion.
HILLARY CLINTON (in Las Vegas on August 18): What you're seeing now is a disagreement between agencies saying, "You know what? They should have," and the other saying, "No they shouldn't." That has nothing to do with me.
HERRIDGE: But under this Executive Order 13526 signed by Mr. Obama in December 2009, only the three intelligence agencies who own that information in the first place have the authority to declassify it — not Mrs. Clinton, and not the State Department.
The five people at the AP involved in orchestrating the defense for Mrs. Clinton either ignored or were unaware of Obama's executive order, even though Herridge reported it this morning.
Oh, I forgot. She's with Fox News. That doesn't count — which explains why Herridge and Fox in general have been scooping the rest of the establishment press on this matter and so many others for years. But the guess here is that these news organizations don't care about being scooped, because being the first and best with breaking news is nowhere near as important as defending Democrat and leftist politicians at all costs.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.