Morning Ed: USA! {2016.07.04.M}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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123 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I’m feeling really old. I’m old enough to have taken a certain amount of small-town sh*t over the length of my hair and a western shirt with a stars-and-stripes yoke. Yesterday evening I stood in line behind a little old silver-haired lady in a pair of truly ugly stars-and-strips stretch pants, and clearly, no one thought anything of it.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      The other night, while in downtown, saw a whole family decked out in stats & stripes fashion. The only thing I could think, when contrasting them to the rest of the crowd, was “they’re from out of town”.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I’ll take Colorado’s standard mountain skyline as the background over the redesign, thank you very much. The older one, with the colors reversed and no shading was even better in terms of being distinctive while also simple.Report

  3. Avatar notme says:

    Just in time for the 4th, Californians have their 2d amendment rights further restricted by a dem admin more intent on scoring political points in the wake of a terrorist attack.

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A good case for the American Revolution as a liberal cause:

  5. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Some places, though, have created surprising variations on the classic diner burger. In Australia, a fully loaded burger comes with a fried egg and slices of beet.

    The Gus Burger at UVA isn’t complete with out the egg… so, that passes ‘Merican test.

    Beets are evil dirt tasting roots that should be avoided at all costs everywhere and anywhere. Best to let the pigs eat them. Not ‘Merican.

    Burger fail.

    {Beet greens, however, are delicioso}Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Have you ever had golden beets? I find they taste a lot less muddy that red beets but I love beets in general especially with tangy, goat cheese.

      I’ve never been fond of putting eggs on burgers or pizza.

      I am a burger conservative though.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I haven’t tried golden beets; I’ll have to seek some out and see if they can redeem their family.

        What’s odd is that I usually like earthy flavors in my mushrooms, wine and cheese (and all the things I cook with)… but beets seem to go right past earthy to thin gruel mud flavor.

        Re: burgers… its not just the egg, its the experience… now you have a reason to go to Charlottesville.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          We’ve had the beet debate hereabouts before….

          Regarding the flavor, the larger a beet is, the more wooden & earthy the flavor, the less sweet. Better to pick them early & get in a second planting than to let them bulk up too much. Beets should be about the size of a racquetball, anything larger & you might as well puree them and use them for vegetarian brownies.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Have you ever had golden beets? I find they taste a lot less muddy than red beets but I love beets in general especially with tangy, goat cheese.

      I’ve never been fond of putting eggs on burgers or pizza.

      I am a burger conservative though.Report

    • Avatar Maria says:

      Mind you, the beets on an Aussie burger are pickled. Pickled beets are pretty yummy, but then again I am freakish in that I like beets. Roasted with lots of salt and pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Mmmm.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Part of the Nothingburger Narrative. “You can see that this is not anything that means anything, and you can tell by the total lack of anything resembling evidence! Destroyed documents? Bah, whatever, we knew they weren’t going to be important so we destroyed them to save space!”Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        The cold red and black numbers are enough, what’s this that we have to care about the fucking e-mails too?Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        “If there was a schedule that was created that was her Secretary of State daily schedule, and a copy of that was then put in the burn bag, that?.?.?. that certainly happened on

        The scandal there, although it’s a stretch, is that she used a burn bag instead of a shredder or recycle bin to destroy copies. (Burn bags have a lot of security stuff associated with them, since they have to be guarded and escorted and such. So there’s a lot of “ONLY USE IT FOR STUFF YOU HAVE TO” stuff around it, because they want to minimize the costs associated with using it).

        In short, this story actually reads: “When disposing of copies, Clinton’s staff often used the burn bag for stuff that should have been shredded.”. So slightly more evil than tossing paper into the trash, rather than into the recycle bin.

        (And to be really clear: It was copies. Stated right there in the story. The actual schedule was archived with everything else, unless you think Clinton’s schedule was done on a single piece of paper and not electronically. The whole story gets really idiotic when you realize it was “copies” of her schedule. Not the master copy, not the electronic one. Paper print-outs of her daily schedule. I toss lots of crap that’s FOIA material into the shredder every day, because they are just print-outs of stuff that’s archived elsewhere. )Report

        • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

          Maybe it depends on your office culture, but we used burn bags for damn near everything, on a daily basis. The shredder was used infrequently.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Yeah, but I still cannot believe the people talking about that article who missed the fact that it was copies she was burning, not originals.

            The weird implication being her schedule was drafted long-hand, passed around, then burned. Rather than being a print-out of an electronic schedule that about a million people had access to, ranging from her own staff to the Secret Service.Report

            • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

              Well, the scandal is a bit of a Rorschach test.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I get that many things might color your perception about “how big” a scandal might be, or “how important” it is, or any one of a number of subjective concepts like that.

                But acceptance of actual facts, stated in the article, should not be subject to your partisan bias.

                I mean we can disagree on how awful her use of the burn bag was — but we can’t really disagree on the fact that what was burned were…copies, not originals and not the sole remaining document.Report

              • What usually happens to paper copies of schedules? Are they archived? Pasted into scrapbooks? Turned into papier-mache?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Shredded or recycled, though I would guess shredded. I’d be surprised if the bulk of government paper recycling didn’t pass through a secure shredder first, just in case.

                Schedules of highly ranked politicians and government figures are pretty sensitive, but only in the short term. (By the time FOIA requests roll around, not so much).

                Burn bag is supposed to be for the stuff so sensitive they don’t even trust secure shredders for. But as I said, burn bags are more expensive.

                I would suspect that it was going into the burn bag as a mix of laziness (“might as well, it’s right there and we’re already using the burn bag”) and excessive caution (“it is sensitive”).

                Same way, basically, that people at my work routinely dump stuff into the secure shredder bin (supposed to be for proprietary stuff only) instead of the paper recycle bin, because it’s right there convenient instead of on the other end of the floor AND that way they don’t have to bother determining which one it’s supposed to go into. Better safe than sorry.

                Government work isn’t really different than business work. They have more guns, but the people and work is mostly the same. People toss crap into the shredder bin instead of the recycle bin because they don’t want to bother figuring out which one it’s supposed to go into. IT is always yelling about security, but then insist on 14 character passwords that change monthly and then yelling that people write them down. Management demands proprietary stuff get marked as such, but makes the process such a PITA that you stamp everything because it takes ten times longer to prove you shouldn’t and what’s it matter if it’s marked sensitive but isn’t?

                People use thumb drives and email each other sensitive documents when they’re not supposed to, because it makes their job easier than doing it the “right way”.

                And upper management is generally immune to those rules, and everyone else caught breaking them is forced to take a boring web training thing unless it actually cost your company a lot of money, in which case they might get in actual trouble.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Is there a problem if the documents in question have been subpoenaed? “We want the copies just in case someone took notes on their own personal copy” and that sort of thing or is that something that only a partisan would ask?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I want you to take a second and imagine how that would work, in real life.

                The endless boxes, each containing hundreds of identical copies of the daily schedule, some with doodles. That you had to keep for all time.

                And the warehouses filled with endless copies of power-point presentations, all identical except for the few that someone scribbled on.

                And then ask yourself “Would any law or judge ever expect you to do that”.

                So to answer your question: No. There’s actual provisions for things like working documents and work product, but scribbles on copies of something don’t even come close — real work gets written down formally somewhere. No one ever designed a part or worked out a problem on the back of a napkin, then just toted the napkin around. They eventually typed it up, emailed it, and handed it around. Generating an actual, real document that you might have to keep.

                But the napkin can be tossed. Unless you’re nostalgic and frame it.Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                “I spent eight years at the State Department and watched as four US ambassadors and two secretaries of state shared their daily schedules with a variety of State Department employees and US officials,” said Richard Grenell, former diplomat and US spokesman at the United Nations.

                “I’ve never seen anyone put their schedule in the burn bag — because every one of them had a email address and therefore their daily schedules became public records, as required by law.”

                From the article. But I guess you operate a little differently.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:


                They placed a copy in the burn bag, rather than shredding it. That was the sum total of “unusual”.

                Do you even read the things you quote? Is English not your native tongue?Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                Assuming that the schedule wasn’t one of those on her magic email server. If there was no email copy you would have to preserve the paper one, right? Since Hillary got to choose which emails to keep and which to produce we may never know since she destroyed the paper one.

                Is English not your native tongue?Report

              • Why do you think schedules begin as email?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, I wouldn’t suggest that it happen to everything, no matter what, all the time.

                Just when documents were under indictment.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You can indict documents?

                Take the daily schedules here — was there some issue, back in 2010 or whatever, that required every print-out of every Clinton schedule to be kept in case someone scribbled a pertinent note on it during a meeting? Why should they have kept all the print-outs? Would it seem less scandalous if they’d dumped them in the recycle bin? I can assure you TONS of paper copies of stuff got recycled.

                There have been FOIA requests for her schedule, which has (IIRC) generated both her personal copies and the State department copies successfully. There were even stories about the discrepancies between the two that people tried to spin into a scandal. (Check any upper manager you know. His schedule, generally in Outlook, isn’t nearly as thorough as his PA’s version. Often in Outlook as well. Because said PA has to also schedule the “I need 5 minutes” meetings, the pointless 15-minute “face time” crap, in addition to the big items — standing meetings, important visitors, etc — that the boss’s own schedule might show).

                Like I said, the only “scandal” here is that they used a burn bag instead of a recycle bin or shredder. They were tossing print-outs of the daily schedule.

                Jesus, it’s like nobody here has ever had a freakin’ job at times. I print out the agenda for our weekly meetings, as well as the latest bug list — both subject to FOIA. I toss them in the shredder after (I’m too lazy to walk to the recycle bin). Because in case of a FOIA request, they query the bug database or grab the electronic copy of the agenda that our manager has to keep somewhere.

                No sane person would get all shirty over the “scandal” that I shredded my print-out or speculate what I was hiding.Report

              • The real scandal is that there are days she didn’t print out the schedule at all. Now it’s lost for good.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Jesus, it’s like nobody here has ever had a freakin’ job at times.

                While I have been employed from time to time, I’ve never been under investigation.

                I assumed that the work rules when you’re under investigation are different than most of the rules that I usually operate under.

                When I’m employed, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I assumed that the work rules when you’re under investigation are different than most of the rules that I usually operate under.

                Jaybird, you DO realize that this all started with a FIOA request years after she left office, right? So what, are you trying to fault her for not acting like she wasn’t under investigation when she wasn’t?

                Or is this your usual weird, drive-by point you never fully explain? Because I’m too freakin’ tired to play the usual “Guess what Jaybird means, because god knows he won’t actually state it” game.Report

              • She’s a Clinton. She should assume that everything she does is going to be investigated eventually. And since she’s not a Reagan, she can’t brush it off with an “I don’t recall”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If she was compliant with the FOIA law, then she was compliant and this was a big nothingburger, yet again.

                If she was not compliant with the FOIA law, then it’s because, seriously, imagine what it would take to be compliant and, therefore, not being compliant is a big nothingburger. Yet again.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                And even if being compliant isn’t really all that hard, some people on the other side got away with worse, so not being compliant with this rule is a big nothingburger.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                This all started with Judicial Watch requesting every email she ever sent as Secretary of State. They got told to narrow it down (FOIA isn’t supposed to be so broad), so IIRC, they narrowed it down to multiple requests that coincidentally summed up to “every email ever”.

                State said “She ran her own servers” and sent it to her. She had her lawyers scrub the personal emails and locate the public ones via keyword searches (which is, btw, a completely legal and legitimate way to handle FOIA requests, because the manpower requirements to read every possible matching document to make the determination is considered too high).

                She took the roughly 30,000 emails that matched the FOIA criteria, and sent them to State for review for classification issues (again, very standard). State scrubbed out the ones it found that were classified (which, to date, appears to be things like “Discussions over a NYT story on drones” and even temporarily classified stuff like “Who Clinton might call today” which was only considered sensitive until the calls were made), and sent them to Judicial Watch.

                State also checked it’s own archives for any emails FROM Clinton’s email address (again via keyword searches) and performed the same classification check and sent them on.

                Funny story: You know how many of Colin Powell’s emails were available with a FOIA request? None. Zero. Zilch. And he used his email.

                Any for a fun sanity check, part of the FBI’s lengthy investigation was actually wading through ALL those emails by hand and they found only a handful that her FOIA searches missed. (I believe it was noted in Comey’s interview, where he also noted that was not unexpected and that her methodology was sound).

                So it appears Clinton was, in fact, incredibly responsive to FOIA requests especially compared to her immediate predecessor. Which is ironic, given lots of people claim she set up her servers to avoid FOIA requests.Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                That’s odd b/c Team Clinton said they looked at every email.

                FBI Says Hillary Clinton Claim on Reading Emails Was False


    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      “The [president’s] schedule was not classified but it was deemed ‘highly sensitive.’ Instructions were given at the White House and on the road that schedules would be disposed of through the use of ‘burn bags’ and/or shredding,” said Brad Blakeman, a scheduler for President George W. Bush.

      I’ve now read through the Post story twice and all the comments here, and I still don’t understand what law Clinton is accused of violating or whether she even differed from traditional protocol. The story contains one quote from Grenell saying this never happens and then the above quote in the very next paragraph saying this was SOP for the Bush White House.Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Revised Pennsylvania plates? They’ve tried that before. (Scroll down to the “Flagship Niagra” plate, which features white text on a beige background.)Report

  7. Avatar trizzlor says:

    As usual, the GOP stepped on their own dick here trying to get an indictment. The unambiguous problem with the server was that it masked her communication from FOIA requests. The Times and other journalists actually tried to make a stink about this when the story broke, because FOIA is pretty much their only way to be a watchdog on what’s going on at State. The scandal wasn’t Russian hackers or late-night emails to Sidney Blumenthal, it was the complete breakdown of information access. But that’s not sexy so the GOP side of the media complex ignored it. Now after two years of promises that Hillary will be watching president Fiorina from Leavenworth we instead get the usual “mistakes were made” bullshit that anyone with a brain knew was coming. So, yeah, it’s a nothingburger of their own creation. That’s how it works when you’re forecasting #Hillary4Prison and the truth is Hillary gets a slap on the wrist. Another whiffed grand slam when a ground rule double would have won the game. Add it to the pile with the Benghazi “act of terror” speech, and the Obamacare death spiral, and Lois Lerner’s secret email account, and all the other bona fide process fuck-ups that our loyal opposition chose to spin out into wide-eyed fundraising gold instead of pursue effectively.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Yeah, this is about it
      But nobody on the Dem side can be arsed to squeal about Clinton’s actual corruption, because they’re all up to their heels mired in it.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      As it’s been shown, you’re not going to get Clinton on some pissant small criminality. She’s above the law, just like a lot of our “leaders”.

      Greenwald says it nicely: “Had someone who was obscure and unimportant and powerless done what Hillary Clinton did – recklessly and secretly install a shoddy home server and worked with Top Secret information on it, then outright lied to the public about it when they were caught – they would have been criminally charged long ago, with little fuss or objection. But Hillary Clinton is the opposite of unimportant. She’s the multi-millionaire former First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, supported by virtually the entire political, financial and media establishment to be the next President, arguably the only person standing between Donald Trump and the White House.”

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I guess the Russians must want her as president then.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        Until the FBI and the AG get around to indicting Dick Cheney for war crimes, I’m going to continue to hold the belief that senior politicians are generally exempt from prosecution for “crimes” committed in the performance of their duties.

        One reason not to prosecute is that there is simply no way to do so without the act being seen as partisan. The country is divided enough as it is. If any Administration ever decides that prosecuting senior politicians is a good idea, the consequences of doing so would be far worse than any possible benefit that would accrue.

        The other is that crimes require intent, and senior politicians are vested with enormous discretion in the performance of their duties — a privilege not extended to the rank and file. As best I can tell, she directed her staff to create a system that would allow her to communicate effectively by email around the world, in the face of intransigence by the NSA and other agencies. That simple defense — “I did not intend to violate the law; I intended only to create an email system that would allow me to perform my duties of serving as the US Government’s senior diplomat” — is very powerful. Recommending indictment in that environment would be a political act, not a judicial one.Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko says:

          This goes double when it’s clear that a trial couldn’t conclude before the election, so it would be the prosecutor, not even a jury, that might swing a presidential election.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          I do love how people toss around “Top Secret” when we KNOW some of the “Top Secret” emails were aides talking about a NYT story (the drone program was Top Secret, which is actually a weak security classification, and thus talking about the article was discussing classified information).

          And whatever else was in there, it was such weak tea the GOP panel didn’t even bother with it — and they were looking for any molehill to turn into a mountain.

          The fact that the NSA told her to pound sand when she tried to go through channels is an interesting, and strangely overlooked by the Kim’s of the world, bit.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            Welp. When you get access to that stuff you sign a form saying, among other things, “I won’t ever move any of this stuff to another network without security review and approval” and “if I break any of these rules I go to jail”.

            You don’t get to say “weak tea”. You don’t get to say “nothingburger”. You don’t get to say “shouldn’t be classified”. You don’t get to say “it’s just political”.

            “The fact that the NSA told her to pound sand when she tried to go through channels is an [sic] interesting…”

            What’s interesting is how all of a sudden it’s cool to just go around government office regulations because it’s more convenient and the government is dumb anyways.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Kevin Drum had an article up today on that. Of the 8 email chains with “top secret” information, 7 involved the drone strikes that are STILL classified despite the fact that, well, there are websites tracking how many times we use them and it’s been public record for a decade.

              The last involved a conversation with a foreign leader, which is classified automatically.

              And again, per Comey — using the private email server wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t against any rules. And in fact, given her predecessor used yahoo, it was actually a superior choice than the apparent standard for Secretary of State.Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                Clearly we should give her a medal for being such a good steward of classified info.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Colin Powell did not remove the headers from classified documents and send them as unencrypted text to his private email server.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Neither did Clinton. (You’re referring to the “nonpaper” comment? That ended up being sent secure).

                Of course, you can’t actually know Powell didn’t, because he turned over zero emails in response to a FOIA request.

                He deleted all his work emails, not just his personal ones. So for all you know, he was happily emailing himself top secret documents to his yahoo account his whole tenure.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I agree, but such things erode public confidence just as much as partisan witch hunts do.

          Actually, partisan witch hunts probably contribute more to the erosion, since if it’s just an open secret that the political powerful & well connected can play fast & loose with the rules, people can pretend it’s not an issue.

          Of course, if you actually want the edifice to fall…Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Upper management.

            Look, say my company’s IT policies are a PITA and everyone cheats them (writes down passwords, etc). That’s peons. If a board member or VP is stuck using them, he’s not going to do kludgy workarounds. He’s going to demand it get fixed, and if IT doesn’t deliver he’ll get his own staff to do it.

            Which is exactly what happened here. NSA didn’t want to give her a secure blackberry, so she had her staff setup a private server and did a pretty good job of keeping classified stuff off it. Which is a heck of a lot better than Colin Powell using his gmail or yahoo account (since at least the admins weren’t random people) was.

            Your mistake is thinking this is “politically powerful” or that it has anything to do with politics at all. This is exactly the sort of thing that would happen in any business if IT policy got in the way of upper management doing their job.

            Maybe you view it as “rules are for little people” or maybe you view it as “upper management is the one that applies the rules” (I mean let’s face it, Cabinet people are the second highest ranking figures in the Executive branch — and the Executive branch sets IT policies, security policies, and classification systems. Literally speaking, the President is the only person that can really countermand the Secretary of State on such things).

            But honestly, viewing this as “political” is a red herring. This is basic upper management versus IT crap. Common as dirt.

            Heck, in terms of security — there are entire books that boil down to “If your security gets in the way of people doing their jobs, they will bypass your security to do their jobs”. This is actually a pretty minor example, because it appears that the real serious stuff did stay on the official secured side. (Which ironically got hacked anyways).

            There’s probably a corollary that says “The higher up in management the person is, the less tolerance they have for security crap that annoys them and the more likely they are to be able to get around it”.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              As you may have noticed, I haven’t had much opinion on Hillary Mail, because I don’t really care, because I’m cynical and pretty much assume upper management does what they want to bypass silly rules all the time. About the only concern I have over the whole issue is that using a private server can potentially complicate transparency & FOIA requests*. I am betting the NSA was fully aware Hills had her own email server, and they didn’t seem to care over much, probably because they had already hacked it or otherwise had access.

              That’s why I said that as long as it all stays out of the public eye, people can just pretend it isn’t a big deal. As for the classified emails, whatever. Way too much is classified as it is, so unless they found something that represented timely and damaging information, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

              I mean, really, the whole thing is such a monumental distraction, my cynical self starts to wonder what I’m supposed to be distracted from?

              *Solvable by backing up to a government server, or making sure a copy of every incoming or outgoing email is sent to a government server, etc.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                ” I am betting the NSA was fully aware Hills had her own email server”

                Or maybe they didn’t, because they believed the Secretary of State would never be so monumentally, arrogantly stupid as to go against the regulations that her organization put in place to prevent the inadvertent dissemination of information from classified networks?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “NSA didn’t want to give her a secure blackberry, so she had her staff setup a private server and did a pretty good job of keeping classified stuff off it.”

              In context this is like a surgeon saying “fuck you and your rules about hand-washing, how dare you accuse me of being unhygenic? Also fuck your stupid gloves, how am I supposed to do my job if I can’t feel what’s going on in there?”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                *shrug*. As I’ve said, there are entire books out there on security that boil down to “If your security setup interferes with people doing their job, it will get bypassed”.

                And the conclusion is always “Which means your security setup sucks, and it is your fault“.

                If she tried to go through channels, got rejected, and then set up a more secure alternative than the method her own predecessor used, why is SHE getting blasted and not the NSA for refusing a reasonable request or Powell for using Yahoo mail?Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                Did you ever think the NSA had a good reason to reject her request. Maybe they know better than queen Hillary or her on line apologists?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “As I’ve said, there are entire books out there on security that boil down to “If your security setup interferes with people doing their job, it will get bypassed”.”

                Wow, bro, this is kind of on a higher level than “I want to listen to Spotify at work and IT thinks that’s a waste of bandwidth”.

                “If she tried to go through channels, got rejected, and then set up a more secure alternative”

                I am interested to learn how a public-facing unencrypted server can possibly be more secure than something on the other side of an air gap.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Well, given she used it for non-secure emails and it — unlike State’s — wasn’t hacked…pretty good?

                Comey’s been giving more details. 7/8 “top secret” chains were about the drone strikes that are public knowledge, 1 was about a call with a foreign leader that’s TS automatically.

                The classified and sensitive stuff (the other 40 chains comprising about 80 emails of the 30,000 work-related ones) involved things like call logs (who Clinton was planning to call that day, which were classified automatically until after the calls). Fun story — you get your ‘classified’ and ‘sensitive’ clearance before your background check is done. That’s how sensitive that stuff actually is.

                You persist in pretending there was actual, real, important data on that server despite the fact that we’ve been told what much of it was AND the fact that a GOP commitee out for bear couldn’t come up with any examples worse than people talking about a NYT article on drone strikes.

                If we imagine Clinton’s evil and pretend she was emailing nuclear codes to herself, she does look bad! Reality was much different.

                On the IT rules — I’m not kidding. Entire books on that subject. It doesn’t matter WHAT the security is protecting, if people can’t do their jobs through the security setup it gets bypassed. And it’s considered the fault of security, because their job is to provide security WHILE people do their jobs.

                Whether it’s rules on which web-sites to white-list or whether it’s how to handle sensitive data, the principles remain the same. Security that prevents people from doing the job is worse than no security at all, because you have no control over how people end-run it to get their work done.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                They weren’t hacking for State Secrets, they just wanted competitive pricing information about the going rates for Foundation benefits.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                The difference between “hacked” and “compromised” is like the difference between clips and magazines. If you grossly misuse the terminology you probably shouldn’t be in the discussion.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                Reality was much different.

                Actually no one here knows what the reality was. Everyone is taking in the info that’s available and running it up against their own assumptions and biases and experiences and forming conclusions. As a Dem ideologue you’re going to find the scenarios that are most favorable to Clinton to be by far the most probable, and for Notme it will be the opposite.

                As convinced as you are by your own reasoning, you should at least realize that your opinion is going to hold little weight for anyone who’s not on your end of the spectrum.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                *shrug*. I’m not advocating a huge FBI investigation and Congressional hearings on Colin Powell, who used a commercial email account and deleted everything rather than respond to FOIA requests.

                So I feel I’m actually being pretty consistent in eyerolling at people getting all huffy over Clinton.

                Especially since (1) her most partisan enemies have had access to all the emails and couldn’t come up with anything worse than talking about a NYT story on drones and (2) the FBI said, at worse, she was ‘careless’. And gave firm numbers 53 email chains, totally 110 emails, out of more than 30,000. Of which we now know that the 8 “most classified” — 7 were about the drone strikes and 1 was an automatic classification about a phone call with a foreign leader.

                The other 30,000 emails (60 if you count the personal ones) were apparently absolutely okay, as long as you ignore retroactive classification (which seems fair).

                Which isn’t a percentage I’m willing to get upset over, as I’ve seen audit results for regular companies proprietary stuff that’s not nearly that good.

                What I don’t get is why DensityDuck, for instance, isn’t currently having a coronary over Colin Powell. Who used a demonstrably less secure alternative AND refused to cooperate at all with FOIA. Literally the only reason he can claim Clinton looks worse is because she turned over her emails and Powell didn’t, so he can assume Powell was better at separating out classified stuff.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “I feel I’m actually being pretty consistent in eyerolling at people getting all huffy over Clinton.”

                Soooooo you’re agreeing with us that what Clinton did was bad, and you’re retreating to “well you didn’t get mad when THOSE OTHER GUYS did it, *sniff*”

                “the FBI said, at worse, she was ‘careless’”

                “Careless” in the way of a bank manager who props the safe door open at night so that he doesn’t have to put in the combination in the morning because it’s such a pain in the ass to remember.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                First off, there were 110 emails marked sensitive or better on her private server. Out of more than 30,000 work related emails.

                The private server itself was not illegal, dangerous, against any rules, or anything of the like.

                So we’re talking the 110 emails which had classified information on it, which was the exact equivalent of finding classified information on the non-classified work emails of everyone at State — as her private server substituted NOT for her classified access, but for her non-sensitive work emails.

                110/30,000, constituting 53 email exchanges. All but 8 were “sensitive” or “classified” which sounds scary but is actually so low-level they give you clearance on those the day you join, before your background check is complete. Among other things, this included things like “Who the Secretary might call that day”.

                Of the 8 that were not, 7 were about our drone strikes — which was public knowledge and had been for years. 1 was an email about a conversation Clinton had with another world leader, which was classified by State itself automatically — regardless of content.

                Each and every one of those, had they not gone to her private server, would have still gone to her non-classified work email, and from what I’ve read, it seems almost certain that she was the recipient of them — not the original sender.

                And not a single one contained any actual secrets or anything that wasn’t publicly known or of such minor importance that any employee of State was automatically cleared to know on the day they joined.

                So her private server is literally a red herring. Actually, given State’s emails were hacked and hers weren’t, if anything it was safer.

                You can ACT like she had real secrets on there, but we all know she didn’t. But you don’t have to take my word for it — take the GOP committee which waded through all 30,000, and were unable to find anything more damning than aides talking about a NYT article on drone strikes.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                After they were marked classified, did she then give copies of the emails to any of her lawyers who did not hold a clearance?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                IIRC, the lawyers/IT staff did a keyword search (legitimate methodology for FOIA) to first sever personal from work emails. Which means the lawyers never read them.

                Those emails were presumed non-classified because it was a non-classified server she used for non-classified email. Those emails were then submitted to the a classification process (because things can get classified retroactively AND because no one is perfect. I take yearly training on the corporate equivalent, and people screw it up a lot. It’s 99.9% mentioning something in email or cut and paste errors, not attaching proprietary documents).

                That classification process resulted in some 2000 or so emails being marked classified, of which 110 (or 53 chains) were deemed “classified or better” originally, not retroactively.

                Those 110 were based either on topic (the drone program resulted in 7/8 of the highest classified issues — top secret, and it is know at least some of that was outright discussion of an NYT article and State’s response). The last was marked as such because the topic was the mere fact that Clinton had spoken to a foreign leader, which apparently is automatically classified TS.

                The remaining 102 weren’t discussed much, although it’s been reported that 2 contained a daily call sheet (classified only for that day and not after), and the remaining 100 often involved a single paragraph which might or might not have been classified but still had a classification marking somewhere in the email, so they defaulted to marking it classified. (Things like a list of talking points for State, with supporting paragraphs. If someone took a paragraph from a sensitive document and pasted it in, the marking would come with for just that paragraph. But not everything in a sensitive or classified document is classified, so you can’t even tell if that was really classified or not).

                And of course, if you pasted in ONE paragraph into a five page email with the marking (even if it wasn’t), and there was a dozen back and forth’s that included quoting the original email, you just got a dozen classified emails.

                IIRC, there were 53 chains for 110 emails. The vast majority were one-word responses FROM Clinton along the lines of “thanks” in acknowledgement. (Which makes sense. She wasn’t cutting and pasting from documents or putting together schedules or talking points. She was getting them from staff).

                In short, it looks to be about the amount of crossover you’d get (whether she used a private server or her non-classified email) through simple human error combined with over-classification in general. (0.3% of all work emails, if you’re counting).Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “cleared up to Top Secret” does not mean you automatically have access to everything. Which you would know, if you actually knew anything about this, which pretty clearly you don’t.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “there were 110 emails marked sensitive or better on her private server. Out of more than 30,000 work related emails. ”

                lel. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the current population of the United States is over three hundred fifty million people. My client is accused of committing grievous bodily harm to merely one person. Surely you agree that, simply as a matter of proportionality, we must find him not guilty of any crime?”

                “You can ACT like she had real secrets on there, but we all know she didn’t.”

                You seem quite focused on the content of the documents, but you ignore that part of that content was a “TOP SECRET” marking, and that every single person who gets access to documents marked that way signs a form saying they’ll go to jail if they mishandle them.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                No it wasn’t. That “Top Secret” stuff was about the NYT article on drones. That was exposed ten months ago when the GOP was dropping hints about how there were Top Secret stuff in there, and then it got leaked that it was….talking about drone strikes in Pakistan that the papers had already reported on.

                You’re literally inventing details to support your view, which is a weird form of argument.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Has DensityDuck commented on Rosemary Woods?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “Actually no one here knows what the reality was.”

                Actually, we do. Here’s Clinton’s signature on the briefing form which lays out quite clearly that what she’s on record as having done is go-to-jail illegal. There is no “nobody found out about it” provision, there is no “my IT guy said it was a totally secure server” provision, there is no “it shouldn’t have been classified anyway” provision.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                I’m seeing a lot of “violations may result in” and “may constitute” statements in that agreement and not much else.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

 use a common phrase…war crime prosecutions all around. I’m game. Line them all up.Report

      • Avatar J_A says:

        I like Greenwald. A lot

        But I take objection to “recklessly and secretly install a shoddy home server and worked with Top Secret information on it, then outright lied to the public about it when they were caught”

        First of all, I very much it was a secret at all. DoS IT personnel set up and served the system. Everyone that emailed there, including probably POTUS were aware that they were not emailing “” or whatever her official email was.

        Then, for a system of this magnitude, it was not shoddy or recklessly managed. 110 problematic emails in three or four years isn’t bad at all in terms of managing communication.

        Third, it might not be kosher, but I very much doubt it was illegal. Scores of people were aware of the setting and apparently no one (no one of any weight in the DoS or the WH, from POTUS downwards, found it “illegal”. I think a legal opinion from DoS in-house counsel would come exactly were the FBI ended: the setting itself is not illegal, but it creates opportunities to bypass the (hacked) DoS protections. IF (very important) the system is used recklessly, that reckless use would be illegal. The word reckless matters a lot. No recklessness, no illegality.

        Last, I don’t think HRC outright lied. She might have parsed her words, but that’s a different thing.

        Tip to avoid IT pestering you about passwords:

        Think of a poem or lyrics you like, Use the first letter of each word. Use capitals when the poem has capital letters Every month change a letter for the month number, or use a capital letter in a different place, or change a vowel for a special character

        This method will last you yearsReport

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Think of a poem or lyrics you like…

          I started doing that as a sophomore in college, in the late 90’s. Still use the same two phrases, just alternate between them and their variations.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          ROFL. You guys are idiots.
          Hackers have databases of all poems on record, and all the lyrics they can get ahold of.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        No. What has been shown is that you’re not going to get the Secretary of State on a violation that requires *criminal intent* unless you have clear evidence of criminal intent. Greenwald actually lays out this distinction quite clearly:

        Looked at in isolation, I have no particular objection to this decision. In fact, I agree with it: I don’t think what Clinton did rose to the level of criminality, and if I were in the Justice Department, I would not want to see her prosecuted for it. I do think there was malignant intent: using a personal email account and installing a home server always seemed to be designed, at least in part, to control her communications and hide them from FOIA and similar disclosure obligations.

        Where you had Clinton dead to rights is on trying to hide work-related communications from FOIA. Somewhere on Earth 2, a sober GOP realizes this and works together with media organizations to pursue civil action under the banner of transparency. On this earth, the GOP spent months lying to us that Clinton was worse then Snowden and is now up a creek.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          And still, if it’d been a junior or mid level staffer, they’d have been fired, the investigation would have likely led to charges (this is the most aggressive admin in recent history re improper dissemination of classified info), and the guy would have been screwed.

          That’s not gonna happen with a senior person. And THAT’s the problem I have with it. Rules for for the proles, not the important people.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            Damon: It is the job description of the State Department prole to do their job and follow orders. It was the job description of Hillary Clinton to execute the mission of the Secretary of State. If IT rules were interfering with her ability to do her job, she was supposed to direct her staff to find a work-around.

            It’s really a no-win position for her. If she goes public about the disaster which is high-level government IT, she gets blasted. If people complain that she can’t be reached, she gets blasted. If she directs her staff to implement a work-around, she gets blasted.

            Sure she’s contemptuous of the whole process. She knew full well that the Republicans would seize on something, anything, that could possibly be pinned on the Secy of State and launch a witch hunt.

            Or, put simply, people who make policy are held to a different standard than people who follow policy.Report

            • Avatar Damon says:

              Oh I understand your argument. I just don’t agree with it, especially when everyone involved is MY employee.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You do realize that the security rules, even the entire classification system, is entirely set up via the Executive branch? Which means the President can, at whim, change the rules? (In effect, he did. There was a multi-year effort to update Executive branch IT policies, security policies, and email policies. It started when he took office, and went into effect sometime after Clinton left. Government turns slowly).

                Which means that the Secretary of State should have enormous leeway in those matters as they effect State Department.

                In business, if your CTO signs off on an exemption to your IT policy, if the CEO and the Board are okay with it, it’s not exactly like he’s breaking the rules. That guy sets the rules — and it’s not uncommon for him to operate under a different set than the rank-and-file. Sometimes just because they can, but sometimes because the CTO’s tech needs are entirely different from the average employee due to his position.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Somehow the CTO never has to wear a blindfold to get to work…Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                so um

                you are actually going with “they’re the President’s rules and he can change them if he wants”

                you are actually okay with that argument

                “sometimes because the CTO’s tech needs are entirely different from the average employee due to [her] position.”

                you are not actually refuting the argument that this is a clear case of “laws are for the little people”.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Fun story: I have administrative privileges on my work station. I’m a peon, and it’s against official IT rules, but I need it to do my job.

                IT made an exemption, at the request of management. Not because “rules are for little people” but because IT actually makes the rules and management (and IT) decided that the rules, in my case, got in the way of my job.

                Secretary of State is what — third ranked maybe — authority when it comes to creating the rules in the first place. Do you think the rules sprang forth from nothing? That they are eternal and unchangeable? (You shouldn’t — a new set of rules and guidelines got implemented late in Obama’s first or early in his second term on exactly this topic).

                The email server was entirely legal, for instance. She was fully within the rules. Classified material shouldn’t have been on it, but a very thorough investigation showed that very, very little classified material ended up on it at all, and what was there was either retroactively classified or “top secret but public knowledge” crap. And that STILL made up a practically non-existent fraction of the emails.

                I realize you want Clinton to be some sort of demon here, but as far as I can tell she was more secure than her predecessor by an order of magnitude, her classified/non-classified usage was pretty good (our company’s own audit showed a much higher percentage — order of magnitude more — of sensitive/proprietary info on unencrypted email, and that didn’t even trigger mandatory training), and the entire setup was entirely legal.

                No, no one else got a private server. But everyone also knew about it, and no one — not even her superiors — said boo about it.Report

              • Avatar noptme says:

                Oddly enough Clinton never asked state about her private server. Asking is for little people or she knew they would say no.


              • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

                If only the GOP were in some kind of position, to, gee, I don’t know, pass a law or something, to make it unquestionably illegal for government officials to use private accounts for government business…Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I wonder if dems would vote for it or if Obama would sign it?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I can think of one way to find out…Report

              • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

                If not, then the Republicans should absolutely embarrass them for it.Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              This is representative of how a case would go and why charges were obviously not going to happen. But it’s important to keep in mind that all of this could have been avoided if Clinton had just set up forwarding back to State (which was a recommendation at the time they set up and become a requirement during her tenure). It’s not just contempt for bureaucracy, it’s also contempt for any layers of oversight.

              But again the issue is that the GOP drank their own kool-aid. If they operated under the assumption that Clinton is an opportunistic technocrat who will cut corners when it makes things easier for her, then they could have milked this for something tangible. Instead their assumption was that Clinton is a bloodthirsty she-devil and her emails will surely reveal her dirty deeds once and for all.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            >>And still, if it’d been a junior or mid level staffer, they’d have been fired, the investigation would have likely led to charges (this is the most aggressive admin in recent history re improper dissemination of classified info), and the guy would have been screwed.

            This is actually unclear to me. If you follow Greenwald’s example of an unintentional leak being prosecuted, you get the following quote:

            Pitcher acknowledges that his friend violated Navy rules if he took the photos as prosecutors allege, but he says such infractions by submariners were not uncommon and were almost always dealt with through what the military calls “nonjudicial punishment” or Captain’s Mast. Those involved were demoted and docked some pay, but didn’t face a felony record or the prospect of years behind bars, the retired sailor said.

            “Two guys in our boat were caught taking photos in the engine room on the nuclear side of things. Basically, all that happened to them was they … lost a rank,” Pitcher said. “I’ve seen quite a few cases like this and never seen any handled like Kris’.”

            So it actually seems like leniency runs all the way down the ranks. The reason this guy got into trouble was because he didn’t admit to what he was doing and then destroyed the physical evidence. And keep in mind that Clinton isn’t even working at State anymore so a big public lecture is probably the worst nonjudicial punishment they could dish out.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Comey either should have said something like “I recommend we file charges” *OR* he should have refrained from talking about how bad what Hillary did was. (The line about how if someone else did this, they could well be prosecuted for it was particularly egregious.)

    He should have picked one.Report

    • Avatar noptme says:

      Maybe he did it on purpose to make sure there was still some stank on her.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      Good on you Jaybird for pointing this out. I’m still surprised by how little pushback there was to Comey’s admission that the recommendations are always made in private (or in court) but he personally decided to do a public lecture.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      What they’re trying to do is set up a preemptive defense against “if we cannot expect the Secretary Of State to follow these rules then how can we expect anyone else to do it”. It is a clumsy attempt to state that while Clinton won’t be prosecuted, anyone else who acts that way definitely will be.

      PS there’s a reason this is happening this year, and not being stalled further, and that reason is that Clinton can say “go ahead and indict me, and be forever remembered as the person who put Trump in the White House”Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    This is it. The big one.

    Most of the stuff that happens this year will be forgotten entirely. A couple of things will have a paragraph or two in 100 years but no more.

    This will have college courses devoted to it. Degrees.

    Or, I suppose, it’ll be the first chapter in the genesis story of whatever replaces us.Report