Hillary Did Not Lie

Peter Daou and I wrote this piece for BNR debunking the pervasive idea that FBI Director James Comey's statement supports the claims that Hillary Clinton lied about her emails: "CONFIRMED: James Comey Statement on Clinton Emails Proves Hillary DID NOT LIE."

There is a whole lot of information there, much of which hasn't been reported with careful scrutiny elsewhere, no less all pulled together in one place.

Here's an excerpt:
According to Comey, the year-long investigation of 55,000 Hillary emails did not reveal a single email clearly marked classified. Only two — just two — of Hillary's emails "bore markings indicating the presence of classified information." "Bore markings" is not the same thing as "marked classified." Furthermore, those two emails are now known to have been mismarked as a result of "human error." They did not contain classified information.

...Absent that pair of emails, Hillary's opponents are left with this, from Comey's statement: "110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received."

Let's break that down. 110 out of 55,000 emails are said to have contained classified information. That's just 0.2 percent of her emails. Crucially, these emails were not marked classified. And there is absolutely no indication or accusation that classified markings were concealed or removed.

Therefore, we can unequivocally say that out of 55,000 emails, Hillary never received or sent a single email that was marked classified and actually contained classified information.

...A very simple analogy is useful here. If a vegetarian ordered and consumed a vegetable dumpling off a menu and said they did not eat meat, they would be telling the truth. If a forensic investigation by the department of health later showed that the restaurant contaminated their vegetable dumplings with meat, it doesn't retroactively make the vegetarian a liar. They were telling the truth as far they knew it.

Extending the analogy further, saying Hillary "should have known" that 0.2 percent of her emails contained classified material when the material was unmarked, is akin to saying the vegetarian should have tasted the meat.

Put differently, why would classification markings even exist if the Secretary of State was required to divine the contents of all her emails? If everyone who has access to classified information "should know that the subject matter is classified," then why do we even have a system that marks classified information?

The U.S. Secretary of State is one of the busiest people on the planet. It is unreasonable to expect that part of her job is to magically divine what is and is not classified — when it is unmarked. Especially considering she is working within an infrastructure where there exists a standard for marking classified information, and thus she is entitled to a reasonable expectation of not receiving classified information unmarked.

There is a system in place on which people are meant to rely. "You should have known the system was failing you and that this information was really classified" is not, actually, a reasonable standard. Not at all.

Hillary used an entirely different protocol for information she knew to be classified; clearly, if she'd known these email chains were classified, she would have handled them the way all other classified information was handled.
Head on over to read the whole thing. And I hope it serves as a useful rebuttal to those of you fighting battles on social media with the people screaming about how she's a liar, because, truly, that cannot be substantiated.

To the contrary, Comey's statement actually undercuts the argument that she lied. If you bother to read it carefully. Which we did.

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