Saturday, September 03, 2016

Mother Jones reporter read entire FBI report on Hillary Clinton's e-mails so you don't have to.

Jesus, are we still talking about this?
I am going to offer some of the highlights from the article as well as the author's opening and closing remarks:

Have you read the entire FBI report on their investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices? No? Well, I have, because that's the kind of professional I am. And I'm going to provide you with all the most interesting excerpts. 

The report starts off with a whole bunch of technical detail about how the Clinton email server was set up and managed, and is basically uninteresting except to nerds. 

The reporter, Kevin Drum then jumps into the report:  

Page 8: [Huma] Abedin recalled that at the start of Clinton's tenure, State advised personal e-mail accounts could not be linked to State mobile devices and, as a result, Clinton decided to use a personal device in order to avoid carrying multiple devices. 

In other words, Hillary could get a State-approved device, but couldn't receive her personal email on it. Likewise, she could use a personal device, but couldn't get State email on it. The only way to get both was to carry two physical devices. She considered this inconvenient, and decided to keep on using her personal BlackBerry for everything. This is exactly what she's been saying all along. 

Page 8: FBI investigation identified 13 total mobile devices [...] which potentially were used to send e-mails [...] eight of which she used during her tenure as Secretary of State. 

This has become a big talking point on the right for some reason. Hillary didn't have one device for convenience, she had 13! This is ridiculous. Over time, she had 13 devices, but the report makes it clear that she always had just one device at a time. 

(What I got from this was that Blackberries are very poorly made devices since apparently they kept malfunctioning. I personally have had the same I-Phone since 2009 and though I cannot confirm that the Russians have not hacked it, it still works just fine.)

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became "public" that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to "do business," her e-mails could become "official record[s] and subject to the law." Powell further advised Clinton, "Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data." 

This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not "a year later," as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by "not using systems that captured the data." Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.

(Following the law will get you every time, serves Hillary right for being so honest and law abiding.)

Page 11: While State policy during Clinton's tenure required that "day-to-day operations [at State] be conducted on [an authorized information system]," according to the REDACTED the Bureau of Information Security Management, REDACTED there was no restriction on the use of personal e-mail accounts for official business. [...] In 2011, a notice to all State employees was sent on Clinton's behalf, which recommended employees avoid conducting State business from personal e-mail accounts due to information security concerns. 

This makes it clear that although State "recommended" that employees not use personal accounts, there was no rule prohibiting it. And apparently personal accounts were very widely used. 

(And that essentially destroys virtually ALL of the GOP talking points right there.)

Page 13: Thirteen individuals, consisting of State senior-level employees, work-related advisors, and State executive administrative staff, maintained direct e-mail contact with Clinton. 

That's not very many. It's not as if potentially sensitive information was flying around to hundreds of people. 

(So much for the allegation that Hillary carelessly put top secret information at risk of falling into the wrong hands.)

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. 

Page 23: During FBI interviews, State employees explained the context for why classified material REDACTED was sent and provided reasons to explain why they did not believe information in the e-mails was classified. [...] Authors of the e-mails stated that they used their best judgment in drafting the messages and that it was common practice at State to carefully word e-mails on UNCLASSIFIED networks so as to avoid sensitive details or "talk around" REDACTED classified information. 

This whole section is a description of common practices at State. Basically, most people the FBI talked to used private email accounts all the time; did their best to keep classified information out of these channels; and didn't believe that any of the emails they sent included classified information. Other classification authorities have disagreed, as we all know by now, and the entire discussion gives you a taste of how subjective the classification process is. Basically, we have lots of experienced people who disagree about whether various things really ought to be classified. 

Page 27: FBI investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton e-mail server systems were compromised by cyber means. 

(Okay and my argument at this point is would it even matter if it WAS hacked? After all almost EVERY government agency has now been hacked including the State Department and the NSA, so the argument that Hillary put information at greater risk by storing on her private server is superfluous.) 

This section goes on for pages and pages, but this is really the only sentence you need. It could be that Hillary's email server was hacked. Anything is possible. But despite tons of forensic analysis, the FBI found no evidence of it. This doesn't mean that Hillary should have used a private server, and it doesn't mean her server used best security practices. She shouldn't have, and it didn't. Nonetheless, there's no reason to think her server was ever hacked other than "don't be an idiot, of course it was." 

That said, this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn't prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She's told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn't take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN's end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there's no evidence that her server was ever hacked.

I did not include every single portion by any means, as some were quite complex and I did not want this post to go on forever.

However the gist is that though there are certainly a few things about this server for which Hillary can be criticized, however she did NOT break the law, and she did NOT lie to the FBI or to the press about the server.

If you want to read the entire FBI report you can do so by clicking here.

But don't get depressed Hillary haters, apparently the new conspiracy theories center around the Clinton Foundation.

Yep, the fun just never ends.


  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Yes. We are still reading about this and it's not going to go away. We will be reading about this for the next 4-8 years and after. We will be reading about this long after Hillary is dead.

    It will NEVER go away.

    1. Anonymous5:56 PM

      I agree 4:49. Even if god came down and proclaimed Hillary innocent, they would not believe it. This country is so broken, I doubt I will ever see us come together in my lifetime.

    2. Anonymous6:13 PM

      The Loonies of the Right will rant and rave until the end of time, this is true.
      I actually work for the Federal government, and have since the advent of .gov email. And I've been saying it since the beginning: the entire supposed scandal is complete and total BULLSHIT. There is no there there. The Bush/Cheney White House was guilty of transgressions a million times worse with their maintenance of a private server, and wholesale deletion of emails. When do we talk about throwing those crooks in jail?

    3. Anonymous7:50 PM

      This email thing was stupid and totally self-inflicted. It will never go away. And it could have been avoided if she'd just done two normal things that millions of business people do:

      1. Used a email for business and her personal email for personal.
      2. Carried one device for State and one for personal instead of stubbornly insisting on using just one.

      Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    4. Anonymous11:00 PM

      It will go away. Stop supporting the media that refuses to cover it correctly!!! Turn off CNN & MSNBC, too. Stop giving them clicks & ad dollars. I promise you, if the story stops making $$$, it will go away. Don't support the false horse race stuff!!!!!

    5. Kevin Drum, who read and reported on the e-mails, revealed in October 2014 that he is being treated for multiple myeloma.

      Is reading all those documents prolonging Drum's life, or does it JUST feel longer that way?

      A tip o' the Dodger cap to Mr. Drum, as we'd say in LA during my Koufax-era childhood.

    6. Anonymous2:09 AM

      So--in summary, Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong and turned over all her emails when requested. In contrast, the Shrilla from Wasilla who wanted to be Pres, the Quitty Queen, not only used her personal email for official business, but had her husband cc'd as a "shadow" and dragged her feet for three years when asked to turn over her emails. In other words, IOKIYAR

    7. Anonymous4:39 AM

      "...turned over all her emails when requested"

      That statement's untrue for three reasons.

      1. She didn't turn over all her State-related emails. Some State-related emails were deleted by her email team and were recovered by the FBI.

      2. Federal record-keeping law requires that she was to turn over her State related communication before leaving her position as Sec of State, not "when requested". Nobody should have ever had to request it.

      3. Even "when requested" it took a long time for what she turned in to be turned in. She left her office in early 2012 and turned over what she turned over in Dec 2014, 21 months after she left State.

      She brought some of this on herself for not fulfilling her record-keeping obligation in a timely way. That is undeniably true. It's some of the "smoke" she admits to.

    8. "Anonymous7:50 PM This email thing was stupid and totally self-inflicted. It will never go away."
      You didn't read the article.

    9. Anonymous7:33 AM

      Of course I read the article. Nothing in the article refutes my point that the basis of all Clinton's email problems was 1) insisting on using one device, 2)using one email addy for both personal and business and 3)taking almost 2 years to turn over what should have been left behind when she left office. Those three things - three choices - created all the smoke that attracted the Republicans to her email. Someone at her level should have known better. She admits it. There's nothing unfair about criticizing her for it. The fact that somebody with as much experience as she's had with people trying to dredge up things to bop her with didn't recognize when she was making smoke deserves criticism.

  2. Thank you, Gryphen. You and Al Giordano keep me sane.

  3. Anonymous5:22 PM

    The Clinton Foundation that received a higher assessment from the Charity Navigator than the Red Cross in terms of transparency and effectiveness? THAT Clinton Foundation?

    Oh, the Right Wing must hate Hillary Clinton so bad for being so much better than them.

    1. Anonymous6:57 PM

      I hope if the subject of charitable donations comes up during the debates that she will slap down any attempt to smear her by bringing up that fact.

    2. Anonymous8:04 PM

      Well, first off there are TWO Clinton foundations. One is the Clinton FAMILY Foundation. One one ever specifies which one they are talking about.

  4. Anonymous5:27 PM

    Come on, Sarah, you misbegotten moron, we need you to weigh in on this. You know all about using several yahoo and other non-work email addresses to hide the State of Alaska business you were doing in secret. We remember that the first random kid that looked at your own 'security' question knew the answer. We remember how you had him imprisoned for showing the world your criminality.

    So come on, open that fat ugly yap of yours, Madam Presidentess.

    1. Anonymous6:42 PM

      It only took four comments to bring Palin's name into a post that had nothing to do with her.

    2. Anonymous7:38 PM

      @6:42 PM Stand by, there will be more for you to whine about. Are you their damage control troll?

    3. Anonymous7:46 PM

      6:42pm, you are not hall monitor. Piss off.

    4. Anonymous7:50 PM

      And also with you.
      Besides the fact is that you are glaringly in error. It has everything to do with Sarah doing exactly the same in UNLAWFUL extremes.

  5. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Sure wish Donald Trump would get the same investigation and scrutiny as has, and is, Hillary Clinton.

    Bet he is as crooked as they come and I'll wager he had done many things against the law throughout his business career - firstly, working with the mob!

    Vote Hillary Clinton!

    1. Anonymous2:12 AM

      Of course the Orange Cheeto is guilty--you hear him squawking about other people being criminals, and that personality type is forever accusing others of their own misdeeds.

  6. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I wish there was some one who reads your
    blog was close to anyone who is close to
    Hillary because Hillary is" looking "like
    all of this is wearing her down.
    By this I mean her wearing her hair flat.
    No bright highlights to reflect camera lights. Her roots should be darker so
    the highlights zing. Jewel color scarves
    and jewelry.Her face makeup is the same
    color as her flat color hair.
    Trump puffs his hair up loaded with high
    lights ,even with his bobby pins showing.
    He wears very bright color ties, many
    in satin that reflects light. Satin is a
    shiny fabric! She is looking tired, old
    and drab. She needs suit jackets with
    an open collars with a bright color
    blouses underneath. It brings out an
    open , young look. She wears those closed,
    buttoned up jackets as if to say," stay
    away from me." The open collars have a young, welcoming look. She should also
    go for some Botox treatments. You can bet
    Trump does. I am so upset with the people
    who are guiding her.. Her daughter ought
    to know better. She and Ivanka attend
    the New York designer fashion , runway
    shows. Palin is as dumb as a rock, but
    she knew how to light up a stage with
    show biz savy and show energy which she
    learned form beauty pageant school. She
    didn't win, I guess couldn't pass the
    smarts part.
    Well, that's it folks!

    1. Anonymous5:58 PM

      Right wingers live in a make-believe world they convince themselves is real. Facts are irrelevant and are discarded if they contradict what they want to believe. Their make-believe world is largely fact free. They will believe what they want to believe ... regardless.

    2. Anonymous6:01 PM


      Lol. Very silly and gratuitous.

    3. Anonymous6:18 PM

      Thank God no one asked for your opinion.

    4. Anonymous6:27 PM

      This is the stupidest post I have read about Hillary. She is more interested in helping people have better lives than worrying about how to make herself look younger. She is an attractive 68 year old woman just the way she is.

    5. Anonymous6:40 PM

      Holy crap, that is one truly insane rant.

    6. Anonymous6:59 PM

      I doubt Hillary has the time or interest in your sexist attempts to "improve" her appearance. She is going to be our first woman president and has much bigger fish to fry than seeking out Botox treatments. Give me a break!

    7. Anonymous7:09 PM

      I think Hillary Clinton is fine with Donald Trump being the one that wears more make up and more hair product.

    8. Anonymous7:22 PM

      Frankly, I prefer that she spend more time preparing to deal with the economic, legislative, social, environmental, and foreign policy issues she will have to face as President than getting pretty highlights in her hair.

      Yes, she does look tired. I'm 13 years younger than she is and I couldn't hope to keep up half the pace she's keeping. A campaign is an endurance test and she's doing just fine.

      And I suspect that a lot of the fashion choices she's making are designed to accommodate protective clothing because of all of the hate that the other side has encouraged.

      This is a presidential campaign, not a beauty pageant.

    9. Anonymous7:54 PM

      That fashion comment is so far off that I can't comment.
      That you Sarah?
      Of all that is good, accomplished and truly charitable, Hillary leaves you and Big Bobby Pin in the dust.

    10. Anonymous8:19 PM

      I thought this little turdosity at 5:46 must have been ripped from somewhere else.

      Possibly not!

      Think about the possibility that someone pooped this out just for IM...


    11. Anonymous11:02 PM

      This is parody, right?????

    12. Anonymous2:25 AM

      Hillarys biggest fan club.

    13. Seriously 5:46? Your comment is either some sort of badly written satire or you are stupid beyond belief.

      Not one word about oh, policies. I have no problem whatsoever with Hillary looking like exactly what she is, a confident woman comfortable with her looks, makeup, hair and clothing who thus has the energy and time to concentrate on things that are actually, you know, important.

      No matter how shiny his ties, Trump is repulsive and pathetic inside and out.

      You don't like Hillary's hair, jackets, makeup? Here is the thing. She really doesn't care. She will get up in the morning, dress to please herself and no one else, and then get to work. More power to her.

    14. "Anonymous5:46 PMPalin is as dumb as a rock, butshe knew how to light up a stage with
      show biz savy and show energy which she
      learned form beauty pageant school."
      No, Palin didn't know a damn thing about how to "light up a stage." That was the doing of the very highly paid hairdressers, makeup artists, and stylists hired by the RNC.

      Left to her own devices, without a fleet of professional aides, Palin's style waffles between aging biker old lady, aging gramma dressed like trollopy teen, and well, disco ball sweaters.

    15. Anonymous9:23 AM

      FFS someone needs to explain to the Hillary concern troll what a paragraph is...

  7. Anonymous6:50 PM

    It's because she's a woman. It's only because she's a woman. Plus, god's not making any more old white men.

  8. Anonymous8:12 PM

    I haven't noticed that Hillary looks consistently tired. She has been campaigning for a very long time, while Trump has spent that time talking shit and talking smack, neither of which are taxing.

    Let's see who looks tired after September 23, shall we?

  9. Anonymous8:40 PM

    6:27PM You don't get it. Trump is doing
    to Hillary what he did to Jeb Bush, constantly putting out there and to
    Jeb's face, over and over that Jeb is weak, Jeb is low energy and on and on.
    He is saying over and over that Hillary
    is sick and doesn't look well, Hillary
    needs help to walk up stairs, Hillary
    is looking low energy so couldn't manage
    the stress of the office of the President.
    My comment was NOT about trying to look younger, but bright and energetic just
    like her brain. Hillary is a very attractive woman, and when she smiles and
    laughs, her whole face lights up.
    She has beautiful blue eyes.I would love to see a lovely blue scarf to match her
    eyes gently around her neck. Trump is putting out there that Hillary has bouts
    of lack of memory and more.I have never
    tried Botox, but I know two women who
    did to soften the wrinkles around their
    eyes. Not painful and they looked like
    they had enjoyed a very restful vacation.
    Remember, Trump fights very dirty. He
    drills and drills and drills, starting
    out with the name label "Crooked Hillary"
    over and over. Now it is, she is tired,
    ill and worn out. And I repeat and
    say to Hillary, come out there glowing with
    high lights in your hair, jewel colors
    around your face , flashing blue eyes
    and your smarts, commanding and winning
    the whole darn thing. We need Hillary
    as President . She will continue to make the world a better place. Hard work and
    never giving up is her MINDSET!

    6:01 PM You didn't get it either!

    1. Anonymous11:04 PM

      Hey, pearl-clutchers, HRC is winning!!!! Have a good Labor Day weekend. The press starts traveling on her plane next week. Then they will start going after the Donald. Watch.

    2. Anonymous3:29 AM

      I trust Hillary Clinton. I trust the people around her. I trust her to dress herself. I trust her to look in the mirror.

      As I pointed out before, Donald Trump wears enough make up and hair product for both of them. I don't blame Hillary for looking understated.

      Wait until you see them side by side- Trump with his bobby pins and powdered face and lip gloss will make Hillary look wonderfully normal.

    3. 8:40, you don't get it. You don't think Clinton will be savaged for any attempts to "look" younger, brighter, healthier? She will be accused of "hiding" her health issues. More to the point, she will also be accused of wasting time and effort reacting to Trump's stupid allegations, which will then be interpreted to mean there is truth to them and that Clinton is letting Trump control her and her decisions.

      I remember Hillary spending some time on a trip to a very hot, tropical part of the world as SoS. She wore her hair a bit longer and off her face with a selection of pretty hairbands. To me, she looked cool and refreshed, dressed appropriately for the climate. She was of course savaged for not wearing her hair in an approved style for an "older" woman.

      I like her confidence and I see strength in her decisions to dress in a way that she finds comfortable and appropriate so that she can get down to business.

      Better that than wasting a moment of her day on the shallow pettiness of "jewel-toned" scarves or highlights in her hair.

    4. Anonymous5:34 AM

      As a woman who is four years older than Hillary Clinton, all I can do is salute her. She's got more energy at 68 than I ever had and certainly more energy than Donald Trump can ever dream of having. Frankly, I'm glad that Hillary Clinton does not spend hours every day choosing her clothes or having her face and hair styled. Despite her busy campaign schedule, she still manages to exercise and to learn, things her detractors will never fathom.

  10. Anonymous2:24 AM

    Mother Jones lol. Why not just PoliticusUSA lol?

    1. Mother Jones has a reputation for solid journalism.

      If you can find fault with their reporting please feel free to share.

    2. Anonymous5:48 AM

      You conservative lol assholes have never even read mother Jones. Someone at fox news told you it was bad. Nothing more sad than a fool who can't think for themselves.

  11. Anonymous7:50 AM

    First, let me say that I am a Hillary supporter, but I'm skeptical on her claims in regards to her Blackberry capable devices.

    According to the FBI report, she used 8 mobile devices during her tenure as SOS. Her staff and legal team, had no idea what happened to them, they just disappeared, except in one instance, someone took a hammer to it? Plus she also used 5 iPads during her tenure as SOS for email?

    Though I support Clinton over Trump, even I'm not that gullible.

    1. Anonymous4:10 PM

      You ARE gullible. You're a troll.

  12. Anonymous6:29 AM

    I know that if this were being read aloud, most of you would be holding your hands over your ears:

  13. Anonymous5:39 PM

    And one more:


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.