Joe Scarborough Pushes Right-Wing Claim About Clinton's Email While Ignoring That The CIA Already Debunked It
Research ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough pushed the falsehood that Hillary Clinton sent and received classified information on her personal email, ignoring the fact that his own network had reported that the CIA had said that the information in that email was not classified.
Letter From Gowdy Claims Clinton Exposed "Classified Information" About Libyan Intelligence Source
Gowdy Said Clinton Sent Email Containing "Some Of The Most Protected Information In Our Intelligence Community" Concerning A "Human Source" In Libya. On October 7, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the head of the Select Committee on Benghazi, sent a letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the committee's ranking Democrat, that said Hillary Clinton "apparently received classified information" at her personal email address from confidant Sidney Blumenthal while she was secretary of state. Gowdy said Clinton forwarded the email in question to a State Department employee, thus "debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address." Gowdy claimed that Clinton's action "could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives." [House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, 10/7/15]
CIA Debunks Claim That Hillary Clinton Forwarded Classified Information
Cummings' Response To Gowdy's Accusation: "You Failed To Check Your Facts Before You Made It, And The CIA Has Now Informed The Select Committee That You Were Wrong." In an October 18 reply to Gowdy, Cummings wrote that Gowdy's claim that Clinton sent classified information from her private email address was wrong and that the CIA had informed the committee that the information in Blumenthal's email was not classified:
On October 7, 2015, you sent me a 13-page letter making a grave new accusation against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Specifically, you accused her of compromising national security and endangering lives.
The problem with your accusation--as with so many others during this investigation--is that you failed to check your facts before you made it, and the CIA has now informed the Select Committee that you were wrong. I believe your accusations were irresponsible, and I believe you owe the Secretary an immediate apology.
To further inflate your claim, you placed your own redactions over the name of the individual with the words, "redacted due to sources and methods." To be clear, these redactions were not made, and these words were not added, by any agency of the federal government responsible for enforcing classification guidelines.
Predictably, commentators began repeating your accusations in even more extreme terms, suggesting in headlines for example that "Clinton Burns CIA Libya Contact."
Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified. Specifically, the CIA confirmed that "the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information."
Unfortunately, you sent your letter on October 7 without checking first with the CIA. Now that we have done so, we have learned that your accusations were incorrect. [Select Committee on Benghazi, 10/18/15]
Joe Scarborough Repeats Disproven Claim, Even After His Own Network Aired Cummings' CIA Proof
Morning Joe's Initial Coverage Of Intelligence Asset Story Featured Baseless Fearmongering. On the October 12 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff claimed that the email released by Gowdy is "maybe the single most problematic email exchange we've seen with Hillary Clinton yet, of all the emails that have been released, because on its face it would appear to be evidence of a commission of a federal crime by somebody, not Hillary Clinton." Guest John Rizzo additionally claimed that the transmission of this information "could be literally lethal" and that "if you get outed over there as a CIA source, you're a dead man." [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 10/12/15]
Scarborough: It's "Ridiculous" That Hillary Clinton Sending Information On Intelligence Asset "Is Not Marked Classified." On the October 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough parroted the debunked claim that Hillary Clinton had disseminated "classified information" regarding "the source of a human intelligence agent on the ground in a war zone in Libya." Scarborough made no mention of Cummings' evidence debunking this claim, even though MSNBC had earlier displayed text from his letter on screen and discussed the issue:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: But also, she says something that is just, it is just so misleading and it's so wrong, that I know you, of course, as much as anybody would know -- when she talks about, and I can't believe they're still saying this. After the intelligence community has knocked this down. She says, "Well nothing was marked classified at the time." That is the most ridiculous, inane justification --
BOB WOODWARD: It really is --
SCARBOROUGH: -- it really is! Because what happened when the FBI found out what went through her server, and the CIA found out, the State Department, they immediately said, "Oh my god, we have to mark this classified, and they backdated it to the moment she typed some of these statements down. Because no, if she's creating -- if she's generating a document at that moment that has classified information in it and she sends it, of course it's not going to be stamped "classified"! If Sidney Blumenthal reveals the source, I think it was him -- if somebody reveals the source of a human intelligence agent on the ground in a war zone in Libya, and it's not marked classified? That doesn't somehow make it right that its passes [sic] through her server and then it gets passed onto someone else, it's ridiculous! [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 10/19/15]
MSNBC's Way Too Early: Elijah Cummings Says CIA Advised Benghazi Committee That Information Was Not Sensitive. Earlier on the October 19 edition of MSNBC's Way Too Early, Amy Holmes referenced Cummings' statements that "the CIA advised the committee on Saturday that the information was not sensitive," and that Gowdy made this claim "without checking first with the CIA."
[MSNBC, Way Too Early, 10/19/15]