News outlets are calling out a misleading conservative media claim that Hillary Clinton's email use mirrors the improper acts of former CIA Director John Deutch, who intentionally created and stored top secret material on unsecure systems. By contrast, “State Department officials say they don't believe that emails [Clinton] sent or received included material classified at the time,” which is why experts conclude the Deutch case does not “fit the fact pattern with the Clinton e-mails.”
News Outlets Explain That Clinton's Permitted Email Use Is Not Comparable To Deutch's Improper Access Of Classified Information
Washington Post's David Ignatius: Unlike Clinton, Deutch Knowingly Used An Unsecured CIA Computer To Access Classified Information Improperly At Home. Washington Post's David Ignatius explained on August 27 that Deutch's use of “an unsecured CIA computer at his home to improperly access classified material” does not “fit the fact pattern with the Clinton emails,” despite the fact they've been “cited as parallels”:
Potential criminal violations arise when officials knowingly disseminate documents marked as classified to unauthorized officials or on unclassified systems, or otherwise misuse classified materials. That happened in two cases involving former CIA directors that are cited as parallels for the Clinton e-mail issue, but are quite different. John Deutch was pardoned in 2001 for using an unsecured CIA computer at his home to improperly access classified material; he reportedly had been prepared to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. David Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in April for “knowingly” removing classified documents from authorized locations and retaining them at “unauthorized locations.” Neither case fits the fact pattern with the Clinton e-mails. [The Washington Post, 8/27/15]
Associated Press: Unlike Deutch, There Is No Evidence That Clinton Improperly Stored Indisputably Classified Emails. The Associated Press' Ken Dilanian wrote on August 31 that contrary to Deutch's improper handling of highly classified material, “there is no evidence of emails stored in Hillary Clinton's private server bearing classified markings” or being self-evidently classified “whether marked or not”:
Some Republicans, including leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, have called Clinton's actions criminal and compared her situation to that of David Petraeus ... Others have cited the case of another past CIA chief, John Deutch, who took highly classified material home.
But in both of those cases, no one disputed that the information was highly classified and in many cases top secret. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor; Deutch was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
By contrast, there is no evidence of emails stored in Hillary Clinton's private server bearing classified markings. State Department officials say they don't believe that emails she sent or received included material classified at the time. And even if other government officials dispute that assertion, it is extremely difficult to prove anyone knowingly mishandled secrets.
A case would be possible if material emerges that is so sensitive Clinton must have known it was highly classified, whether marked or not, McAdoo said. But no such email has surfaced. And among the thousands of documents made public, nothing appears near the magnitude of the Top Secret material Petraeus and Deutch mishandled. [Associated Press, 8/31/15]
Deutch Intentionally Created And Mishandled Classified Information, A Stark Contrast To Clinton's Approved Use Of Personal Email
Deutch “Intentionally Created The Most Sensitive Of Documents On Computers Configured For Unclassified Use.” The Inspector General for the CIA concluded in 2000 that Deutch intentionally placed classified material he created on personal computers not configured for classified use. As explained by the IG, “Deutch intentionally processed on those computers large volumes of highly classified information to include Top Secret Codeword material”:
87. (U/ /FOUO) During his tenure as DCI, Deutch said that he intentionally created the most sensitive of documents on computers configured for unclassified use. Deutch stated that if these documents were created on the classified CIA computer network, CIA officials might access the system at night and inappropriately review the information. Deutch said that he had not spent a significant amount of time thinking about computer security issues.
231. (U/ /FOUO) Throughout his tenure as DCI, Deutch intentionally processed on those computers large volumes of highly classified information to include Top Secret Codeword material. [“Improper Handling of Classified Information by John M. Deutch,” Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General, 2/18/00]
But Conservative Media Have Repeatedly Likened Clinton's Email Use To Deutch's Improper Mishandling Of Classified Material
National Review Likens Clinton's Email Use To Deutch's Access Of “Classified Material On Unsecured Home Computers.” National Review likened Clinton's email use to Deutch, writing “Perhaps [Clinton has] forgotten” the “presidential pardon to former CIA director John Deutch” for “keeping classified material on unsecured home computers”:
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton insists she did nothing wrong by running all of her government communications, including classified material, through her unsecured, home-brewed computer server. Perhaps she's forgotten one of her husband's final acts in the Oval Office: issuing a presidential pardon to former CIA director John Deutch.
Deutch's offense? Keeping classified material on unsecured home computers. [National Review, 8/21/15]
Fox's Dana Perino Likens Clinton To Deutch Because “He Had Classified Information On His Home Server.” On the August 21 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Dana Perino compared Clinton to Deutch and insinuated she should be convicted of a crime just as Deutch nearly was:
PERINO: But why would her husband -- Jedediah, Bill Clinton, as president, had to actually pardon John Deutch from the CIA. Why? Because he had classified information on his home server.
JEDEDIAH BILA: That's exactly right.
PERINO: Why do you pardon somebody? You don't pardon them for burping at the table. You pardon them because they were going to be convicted of a crime. [Fox News, The Five, 8/21/15]
Marc Thiessen: Deutch Case Represents An “Ominous Precedent For Hillary Clinton.” In an August 24 Washington Post opinion article, columnist and Fox News contributor Marc Thiessen wrote that Deutch's case represents an “ominous precedent for Hillary Clinton,” asserting, “The parallels between the Deutch and Clinton cases suggest that come January 2017, instead of planning her presidential transition, Clinton may find herself lobbying for a last-minute pardon of her own”:
Former CIA director John Deutch was also found to have stored classified documents -- including top-secret intelligence -- on computers in his homes in Bethesda and Belmont, Mass., leading to an investigation by the CIA inspector general and a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Deutch was stripped of his security clearance and ended up reaching a plea agreement admitting to his crimes -- but was saved by a last-minute pardon from none other than . . . President Bill Clinton.
The parallels between the Deutch and Clinton cases suggest that come January 2017, instead of planning her presidential transition, Clinton may find herself lobbying for a last-minute pardon of her own.
Another parallel with Clinton: The inspector general found that Deutch had used the same unclassified computers to process both classified information and conduct personal business, which made the “classified information residing on Deutch's computers . . . vulnerable to possible electronic access and exploitation.” [The Washington Post, 8/24/15]
Wall Street Journal's Mary Kissel: Deutch Was “Held To Account For Less” Than Clinton's Actions. On the August 23 edition of Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, Mary Kissel, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, claimed Deutch was “held to account for less than” Clinton's use of a personal email:
ALAN COLMES: There's a server in the State Department, state.gov, which is also not secured. There's secure and non-secure within State.
COLMES: The same issues could appear if you were using a State Department server. We've seen hacking at the Pentagon. She might have been safer on a private server.
KISSEL: Well, David Petraeus and John Deutch and Sandy Berger were held to account for less than this.
COLMES: She didn't put stuff in a sock and sneak it out of a room like Sandy Berger.
KISSEL: This is worse. [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 8/23/15]