When Fox News Said That Public Officials Mishandling Classified Information Was A Big Deal

Reports that President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russian officials, potentially violating espionage norms, raise the question of whether anyone on Fox News will criticize the president. Several Fox personalities viciously attacked Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information with her email server and, without evidence, claimed that she allowed foreign actors to obtain that information.

Trump Shared Classified Information About The Fight Against ISIS With The Russians

Wash. Post: “Trump Revealed Highly Classified Information To The Russian Foreign Minister And Ambassador.” The Washington Post reported that, during his May 10 meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information that “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.” The Post report noted that after the meeting, “senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and National Security Agency.” From the May 15 article:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

The revelation comes as Trump faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice. [The Washington Post, 5/15/17]

Former US Ambassador To Russia: Trump Revealing Classified Information To Russia “Is A Complete Disaster” That “Will Undermine Our Credibility In Working With Intelligence Agencies.”  Former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said that Trump's revealing classified information to Russia on the fight against ISIS was “inexcusable” and “a complete disaster.” McFaul added that he “just would be careful to assume that Russia has our exact interests in mind and we are aligned with them in Syria. That is just not true including even with ISIS perhaps.” From the May 15 edition of MSNBC's For The Record with Greta Van Sustren:

MICHAEL MCFAUL: My thoughts are this is a complete disaster, it's an embarrassment just as Ned said. It will undermine our credibility in working with intelligence agencies that are vital to defending America's national interests.  Without disclosing things I know, I just would be careful to assume that Russia has our exact interests in mind and we are aligned with them in Syria. That is just not true including even with ISIS perhaps. So it's just inexcusable that this happens and it's inexcusable for the White House national security staff too. [MSNBC, For The Record with Greta Van Sustren, 5/15/17]

Fox News Repeatedly Attacked Hillary Clinton, Claiming Without Evidence That She Allowed Classified Information To Get Into The Hands Of Foreign Actors

Fox's Tucker Carlson: “There Was A Tremendous Amount Of Enthusiasm” To Prosecute Clinton For Mishandling Classified Information. Fox host Tucker Carlson, discussing FBI Director James Comey’s firing by President Trump, said during the May 11 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight that there “was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm among some for taking action” against Clinton for supposedly mishandling classified information. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 5/11/17]

Fox's Andrew Napolitano: Clinton “Should Have Been And Still Can Be Indicted For … The Failure To Safeguard State Secrets.” Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano suggested that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein requested FBI Director Comey’s firing because he “decided that Comey’s judgment” regarding the Clinton email investigation “was utterly irregular and inappropriate and that maybe she should have been and still can be indicted” for “the failure to safeguard state secrets.” From the May 9 edition of Fox News’ The Story with Martha MacCallum:

ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Let me suggest another scenario, that Rod Rosenstein reviewed the Hillary Clinton file, which he had never seen before, and decided that Comey's judgment was utterly irregular and inappropriate and that maybe she should have been and still can be indicted for espionage, the failure to safeguard state secrets while she was secretary of state. [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 5/9/17]

Fox's Sean Hannity: “I Guarantee ... You're Going To Find Out Vladimir Putin, The Chinese, Somebody Has Those Emails.” Fox host Sean Hannity, discussing Hillary Clinton’s email server, said, “I guarantee you, you are going to wake up one day, and you're going to find out Vladimir Putin, the Chinese, somebody has those emails.” From the August 5, 2015, edition of Premiere Radio Network’s The Sean Hannity Show:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I guarantee you, you’re going to wake up one day, and you're going to find out Vladimir Putin, the Chinese, somebody has those emails. They're going to -- and that means she's a compromised candidate. What does that mean? All right, Hillary Clinton broke the law. Hillary Clinton put classified information on her server, on her email system. Let's say Vladimir Putin has it. Let's say the Chinese have it. Let's say she's president. Let's say they're in the middle of negotiations. Let's say Vladimir digs into his briefcase and pulls out all the emails and says, “Look what I got Hillary. You’re going to do it my way,” because the alternative for her is going to be jail if he releases it. What do you think Hillary is going to do? She's going to do whatever it takes to stay out of jail. She's compromised her ability to get secure information. And the country for that matter. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/5/15]

Fox's Steve Doocy: It's A “Fact” That Clinton Was Likely “Hacked ... By Russia And China And North Korea.” Fox host Steve Doocy said that it was a “fact” that Clinton's server was likely “hacked ... by Russia, and China, and North Korea, and other bad actors.” Doocy also asked if Clinton could be legally liable if “perhaps some American operators, CIA agents, or people like that, actually died because of secrets other governments got from her email device.” From the February 1, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And Greta, given the fact that it sounds like she was hacked, not only by Russia, and China, and North Korea, and other bad actors as well, but how would this change in a legal way for her if it is proven that perhaps some American operators, CIA agents, or people like that, actually died because of secrets other governments got from her email device that was wide open?

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well you say “proven.” I mean, I don't know whether any of that can be proven. But even if it's proven, I don't see this having legal liability. I mean obviously there are all sorts of other implications. She was never supposed to have that server in her house. That violates the rules. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/1/16]

Fox's Jesse Watters: “Just Ask The Chinese. ... They Probably Hacked Hillary's Server.” Fox correspondent Jesse Watters claimed that “the Chinese ... probably hacked Hillary's server” and had the contents of her emails. From the February 26, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:

SANDRA SMITH (CO-HOST): Everybody's promising a transparent campaign, Jesse. But let's see who follows through. Meanwhile, [Hillary Clinton’s] still got a substantial lead in South Carolina ahead of the primary.

JESSE WATTERS: Yeah, she's going to smoke Bernie in South Carolina. You think there's going to be like a 47 percent kind of deal in these transcripts? Even if it is, there's no audio or video. So I don't think it's going to really have a huge effect. If we really want to find out what's in the transcripts, we should just ask the Chinese; they probably hacked Hillary's server and found it themselves. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/26/16]

Former Fox Contributor K.T. McFarland: “I Think” The Russians, Chinese, And Iranians Were Reading Clinton's Emails In “Real Time” And “Knew Everything.” Former Fox contributor K.T. McFarland, currently a national security aide to President Trump, said that “the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, they knew what [the United States'] negotiating position was” during international talks because they were reading Clinton's emails in “real time” and “knew everything.” From the October 14, 2015, edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

BILL HEMMER (CO-HOST): As a national security analyst, do you believe, based on the president's statement the other night, that he was right, or indeed was the use of this server endangering national security, putting it at risk?

K.T. MCFARLAND: I've talked to intelligence officials, people, and I've talked to people in the cyber world. And they've said, “Look, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, they hacked into her stuff from the very beginning. They were reading in real time her emails.” So, for example, every time the United States went into a negotiation, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, they knew what our negotiating position was.

HEMMER: You think they knew everything?

MCFARLAND: I think they knew everything. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 10/14/15]

Fox’s Napolitano: There's A “Pretty High” Chance Putin And The Chinese Hacked Clinton's Server. Fox senior judicial analyst Napolitano claimed “the chances of bad guys having [Clinton's] confidential, classified emails are pretty high” because one of Clinton's acquaintances “had his emails hacked.” From the August 5, 2015, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So what are the odds that Putin, the Chinese, or somebody else hacked into that server?

ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Well, we already know that [Hillary Clinton’s] most frequent emailer, her good friend nicknamed “The Prince of Darkness,” Sid Blumenthal, had his emails hacked. And we already know that she emailed with Mr. Blumenthal more than anybody else. So the chances of bad guys having her confidential, classified emails are pretty high. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/5/15]

Fox’s Eric Bolling: Clinton’s Server “Was Getting Hacked Repeatedly” By Imprisoned Russian Hacker Guccifer. Fox host Eric Bolling during the May 5, 2016, edition of Fox News’ The Five claimed that Clinton’s server “was getting hacked repeatedly by” Russian hacker Guccifer. [Fox News, The Five, 5/5/16]

Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle: “This Is Evidence That” Clinton’s Server “Was Breached.” Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed that there was “evidence that” Clinton’s server “was breached” by Russian hacker Guccifer. From the May 5, 2016, edition of Fox News’ The Five:

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): I think this is significant; it really establishes a prima facie case against her. So, this is the type of information that exactly the Justice Department, the FBI should be looking at. It really establishes -- you don’t have to prove that [Hillary Clinton] had the specific intent or to willfully violate or be reckless with it, you’re just not supposed to do what she did. This is evidence that it was breached. And as we sit here right now, do we really know exactly what information that he was able to get access to? Who knows. And this is all during that time, as well, during Benghazi, during Chris Stevens, when you’re privy to all of that confidential communication, access, location, timetables, scheduling, anything in terms of travel and what different diplomats around the world are doing and where they’re stationed, their movements. [Fox News, The Five, 5/5/16]

Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt: Clinton Could Have Been “Hacked By A Third Party.” Fox host Ainsley Earhardt said that “if there is truth to” Clinton’s server being “hacked by a third party,” that “could mean [Clinton] is indicted.” Co-host Steve Doocy added that the hacker “said it was really easy, so if he said it was easy, maybe a whole bunch of other people did too.” From the May 5, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Regarding her last point, apparently [Guccifer] was interviewed by NBC before he was extradited from Romania, which would have been, I believe, seven weeks ago. And he said he easily cracked into Hillary Clinton's email server. Why did NBC sit on the story for two months during this big presidential race?

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Without making it public.

DOOCY: Yeah, I wonder why. Why?

EARHARDT: The mainstream media. Well, if there is truth to this --

DOOCY: Are they trying to help somebody?

EARHARDT: If he is convicted for hacking into her email account, this does make the case that she was hacked by a third party, which could mean she is indicted as well.

DOOCY: Well, he said it was really easy, so if he said it was easy, maybe a whole bunch of other people did too. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/5/16]