Conservatives Run With NY Post Story About Maid Printing Clinton's Emails, Botch Classification History

Conservatives Run With NY Post Story About Maid Printing Clinton's Emails, Botch Classification History

››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

The New York Post published a front page report alleging that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “routinely asked her maid to print out sensitive government e-mails and documents -- including ones containing classified information,” but ignored the fact the emails in question were classified years after the fact. The report cited only two classified emails, both of which were retroactively classified at the lowest level of classification, a practice which is consistent with past State Department actions. Additionally, in both confidential emails Clinton did not request that her maid print the emails. The author of the report has a history of inaccurate reporting when it comes to Clinton’s emails.

NY Post Claims Clinton “Routinely” Asked Maid To Print Out Sensitive And Classified Information

NY Post: “Clinton Routinely Asked Her Maid To Print Out Sensitive Government E-Mails And Documents -- Including Ones Containing Classified Information.” In a Sunday front page story, the New York Post alleged that Hillary Clinton’s maid Marina Santos “was called on so frequently to receive e-mails that she may hold the secrets to E-mailgate,” pointing to only two “confidential” emails and two “sensitive but unclassified” messages. Both confidential emails originated from Clinton aide Monica Hanley, who suggested Santos print the documents. From the November 6 report:

“Pls ask Marina to print for me in am,” Clinton e-mailed top aide Huma Abedin regarding a redacted 2011 message marked sensitive but unclassified.

In a classified 2012 e-mail dealing with the new president of Malawi, another Clinton aide, Monica Hanley, advised Clinton, “We can ask Marina to print this.”

“Revisions to the Iran points” was the subject line of a classified April 2012 e-mail to Clinton from Hanley. In it, the text reads, “Marina is trying to print for you.”

Both classified e-mails were marked “confidential,” the tier below “secret” or “top secret.”

[...]

A 2012 “sensitive” but unclassified e-mail from Hanley to Clinton refers to a fax the staff wanted Clinton “to see before your Netanyahu mtg. Marina will grab for you.” [New York Post, 11/6/16]

Trump Surrogates And Right-Wing Media Parrot Story On Sunday Political Shows

Mike Pence: Clinton “Had Her Maid Print Off Classified Information, According To Revelations In The New York Post. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence referenced the New York Post report, stating “we just found out this morning that she had her maid print off classified information.” From the November 6 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

MIKE PENCE: We just found out this morning that [Clinton] had her maid print off classified information, according to revelations in the New York Post. I mean, Chris, the American people know no one is above the law. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 11/6/16]

Kellyanne Conway: Clinton Has “One Of Her Housekeepers Printing Out Classified Information.” Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway referenced the report during a conversation about early voting in Nevada, stating “we have a report this morning that [Clinton] has her maid … printing out classified information,” and using the report to call Clinton “selfish” and “peevish.” From the November 6 edition of CNN’s State of the Union:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: We have a report this morning that she has her maid, one of her housekeepers, printing out classified information. Who is this person who is so selfish and so peevish?

JAKE TAPPER (HOST): I don’t know what report you’re [referring to], but my question is, if voters are in line at the cutoff time --

CONWAY: It’s all over the news. [CNN, State of the Union, 11/6/16]

Fox & Friends Sunday Dedicates Entire Segment To Report. Fox & Friends Sunday dedicated one of its first segments to the “scandal,” with co-host Steve Doocy borrowing language from the report to assert that Santos “was routinely asked to print sensitive and classified information.” Co-host Ainsley Earhardt falsely suggested Clinton forwarded “classified, some sensitive” emails to Santos to print. From the November 6 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): We have the Clinton family maid, this woman pictured right here, she’s been with the Clintons for many, many years. Marina Santos, she is a Filipino immigrant, who, as it turns out, according to a thousand State Department email that were released to the public on Friday, she was routinely asked to print sensitive and classified information. What’s extraordinary about this is it went on for years, and Marina Santos did not have, does not have any sort of security clearance.

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): So she was hired to clean Hillary Clinton's house in Washington, and aides within the State Department would send emails -- classified, some sensitive -- to Hillary Clinton. She would forward them on to her maid, her housekeeper down in Washington, and say, print these out for me. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 11/6/16]

Both Classified Emails Were Retroactively Classified At The Lowest Level Of Classification Years After The Fact, Consistent With Agency Practice

Confidential Emails Were Classified After The Fact And Originated From Clinton Aide. Neither of the two classified emails referenced by the New York Post were sent by Clinton, and Clinton did not make any request for Santos to print either email. Both emails were classified years after the fact -- one in October 2015, and another in January 2016 -- at the lowest level of classification, “confidential.” The sole case the Post cited of Clinton asking for a message to be printed was not classified. [U.S. Department Of State, 10/30/15; 1/29/16]

Associated Press: "The Transmission Of Now-Classified Information Across Hillary Rodham Clinton's Private Email Is Consistent" With Past State Department Practice. As reported by the Associated Press, information that may become classified later is frequently shared on unclassified State Department systems, a routine occurrence that predated the current administration. Not only was Clinton's "transmission of now-classified information" over an unclassified system "consistent" with agency practice, according to experts, concerns arise equally whether the retroactively classified information is "carried over the government system or a private server":

The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Clinton's use of a home server makes her case unique and has become an issue in her front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it's not clear whether the security breach would have been any less had she used department email. The department only systematically checks email for sensitive or classified material in response to a public records request.

[...]

Such slippage of classified information into regular email is "very common, actually," said Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who frequently represents government officials and contractors in disputes over security clearances and classified information.

What makes Clinton's case different is that she exclusively sent and received emails through a home server in lieu of the State Department's unclassified email system. Neither would have been secure from hackers or foreign intelligence agencies, so it would be equally problematic whether classified information was carried over the government system or a private server, experts say.

In fact, the State Department's unclassified email system has been penetrated by hackers believed linked to Russian intelligence. [Associated Press, 8/26/15]

The Article Was Written By Paul Sperry, Who Has A History Of Inaccurate Clinton Reporting

NY Post’s Paul Sperry Pushed Dubious Claim That Clinton Aides Improperly Circumvented Email Classification System By Cutting And Pasting Classified Material. The New York Post’s Paul Sperry, who authored the report, has a history of pushing baseless allegations against Clinton. In January, Sperry pushed a dubious claim that Clinton aides improperly circumvented the email classification system, claiming that top aides illegally “cut and pasted” classified materials and sent them to Clinton’s personal email. The report was based on the claims of a former State Department official who has worked with the anti-Clinton organization Judicial Watch. [Media Matters, 1/24/16]

Sperry Parroted The Baseless Conspiracy That Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Is Linked To “Radical Muslim[s].” Sperry parroted the baseless conspiracy that Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s parents link her to “radical Muslim[s].” Sperry described the Journal Of Muslim Minority Affairs, which Abedin’s mother owned and Abedin edited, as “a radical Muslim publication.” Sperry concluded that “the contradictions” between “Saudi-raised” Abedin and Clinton’s professed values “are hard to reconcile.” Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler called the characterization of the Journal “ridiculous” and said that Sperry “cherry-picked quotes and mischaracterized articles published over the years, including by [Huma’s mother] Saleha Abedin” to paint the journal as a “radical Muslim publication.” [Media Matters, 8/30/16]

Sperry Relied On A Former IG Who Was Allegedly Corrupt To Accuse Clinton Of A Premeditated Conspiracy To Share Classified Information. Sperry reported in February that there was a department-wide years-long conspiracy during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state to improperly share classified information via email, citing his earlier reporting that classified information was “cut and pasted” into unclassified emails. In fact, the State Department found no evidence classification markings were improperly removed from Clinton emails. The report also relied solely on speculation from a former State inspector general, Howard J. Krongard, who resigned in 2007 after he was “accused of improperly interfering with investigations into private contractor Blackwater USA and with other probes.” [Media Matters, 2/2/16]

Sperry Wrote An Op-Ed Attacking Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills That Was Riddled With Inaccuracies. Sperry wrote a May 2015, op-ed for the Post attempting to smear Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills that accused her of covering up scandals and having “a long track record of hiding Clinton documents.” In his piece, Sperry relied on falsehoods and baseless speculation to claim that Mills was accused of obstruction of justice -- an “unsubstantiated” claim originating in 1998 from a Republican lawmaker -- and that Mills withheld damaging documents about the 2012 Benghazi attacks, which was based on speculation by discredited journalist Sharyl Attkisson. [Media Matters, 5/18/15]

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