Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Emails: Update on the Continuing Saga

You may have seen a story today about some emails found to be "beyond classified" (classified Special Access Program or SAP).  According to an exchange at the State Department Daily Press Briefing today, this story, like so much that has come before, emerges from an unreliable source and the flimsiest of bases. (Emphasis is mine.)
QUESTION: Emails. Fox has a report out citing a letter from the inspector general to the intelligence community responding to a – it’s an unclassified letter responding to a member of Congress. And the letter, as has been described to me, says that intelligence community elements, whatever that means, have told the inspector general that some of the emails that were found on former Secretary Clinton’s home email server had so-called SAP classified information on them – Special Access Program. Do you have any comment on this, and do you have any reason to believe that there was any such highly classified information on her email server?
MR KIRBY: Well, I wouldn’t speak to a letter written by the intel community. I think that would be for them to speak to. What I’ll tell you is that we are focused on and remain focused on releasing the rest, the remainder, of former Secretary Clinton’s emails in a manner that protects sensitive information. And as you know, nobody’s going to take that more seriously than we are.
We’ve said repeatedly that we do anticipate more upgrades throughout our release process, and we’ve been very open and honest about that – those upgrades when they’ve occurred. Our FOIA process – I’m sorry, our FOIA review process is still ongoing. And once that process is complete, if it is determined that information should be classified as top secret, then we’ll do so, as we have consistently done throughout the process.
QUESTION: I understand you don’t want to comment on a letter written by a different set of agencies or by the inspector general to a different set of agencies. But it makes an allegation that concerns a former secretary, and therefore I think it’s a reasonable thing to ask you about. Are you in a position to say anything about whether you believe there may have been information classified at that level, which I gather is beyond top secret, on her home email server, or deny it?
MR KIRBY: I’m not in a position to comment any more than what I’ve already done here. I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave it at how I left it.
QUESTION: Do you have in your book there the number of redactions made because of top secret information?
MR KIRBY: I do not. You mean total from --
QUESTION: Total top secret. You said, “as we have consistently done throughout the process.” And I’m just – I don’t remember off the top of my head. Do you remember how many were redacted because of top secret, not confidential or – I mean, if you don’t have it there, it’s okay. I can get it afterwards.
MR KIRBY: I’ll see if I can dig up the redactions. I mean, as you know, every time we’ve done this we’ve kind of laid out how many redactions there were. Most of them – in fact, the vast majority of them – have been at the confidential level. I don’t have the accumulated number, but we’ll see if we can get it for you.
QUESTION: Are you still on track to wrap up by the 29th of this month, which I think is the final deadline?
MR KIRBY: We’re still working very hard to be able to meet that deadline.
QUESTION: Do you think you will?
MR KIRBY: Well, I don’t want to predict right now. We’re working --
QUESTION: It’s like the Syria talks.
MR KIRBY: We’re working very hard to meet that deadline. And look, if we’re not going to meet it, just like last month, we’re going to be open and honest about it, not just to the court but to the public and to all of you. But that’s what we’re still working towards.
QUESTION: If you won’t comment specifically on the IG’s report, can you – I mean, wouldn’t you consider this a pretty serious matter, if this is true? I mean, the IG report was released and then sent to members of Congress.
MR KIRBY: As I understand it, it’s a letter, right?
QUESTION: Right, letter, sorry.
MR KIRBY: It’s not an IG report. And I won’t speak to a letter we didn’t write. And I’m not going to – because I haven’t seen the letter, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment about it either. I’m not going to – I mean, I’m not going to try to characterize what it says or what’s in it.
What I can tell you is serious is the manner in which the Secretary wants this building to do two things: one, to be responsive to Freedom of Information Act reports, and we’re trying very hard to do that. We’ve upped the number of staff, we’ve put more resources into it, we’ve made some process changes, and I suspect you’ll see us continue to do more. And the other thing that we take very seriously is the handling of sensitive information, which is why we’re working so hard as we release all these that we take a look very carefully to make sure that we redact sensitive information appropriately. Those two things I can tell you we take very, very seriously.
There are reviews and investigations going on about past email practices here at the department, and I am simply not at liberty to discuss the content or the things that may or may not be being investigated. I think you can understand why I wouldn’t want to get ahead of that.
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At that point, they moved on to other topics.  Today, I received this graphic breakdown of the time, money, and labor spent in pursuit of one classified email on Hillary Clinton's server.  The graphic tells the story.  Spoiler alert.  The number of such emails remains zero, but the story this graphic tells is one of monumental waste. I thought some readers might want an update.

Click to Enlarge

The Hillary Clinton Email Saga, By The Numbers
Via logikcull