The latest development in the Clinton e-mail controversy is an effort to pass the blame and draw attention to the two previous Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. There is a huge difference in the Clinton e-mails versus the Powell and Rice emails. First off, the volume of the Clinton e-mails towers over the hand full that each of the prior Secretaries of State had. The tally so far is 2 sensitive emails for Rice and 10 for Powell. Compare that to the 22 top-secret special access emails and probably hundreds of secret classified emails. The exact number of secret classified emails has not been released yet since the FBI is still investigating and emails are slowly being released by the State Department. So far, reports indicate Rice and Powell did not have top-secret classified special access information in their e-mails. There is a big difference in the classifications because of the grave consequences that could occur if foreign governments or other groups obtained the information. American lives can be at stake with human intelligence that is labeled top-secret special access.

There is the physical security aspect of the situation. Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement to protect and safeguard classified information. With NIPRnet (unclassified network) and SIPRnet (secret classified network), there are regulations that must be followed with the physical security of the both systems. Usually, at least with the Army, top-secret special access information is on its own platform to prevent special access information from being mishandled on the SIPRnet. Even when the cables are laid for the networks, you have to measure up to the inches between the cables to prevent any splicing mistakes.  Someone on her staff would have had to use a device to physically transfer the data or personally retyped the information onto an unclassified network to send to her server. The FBI investigation should look into whether or not her personal sever was connected to both types of systems. For Clinton to have her own personal server throws physical security out the window. The fact that she insisted on having her own personal server seems to cast her as being above the system and that the regulations that keep our country’s information safe are beneath her.

Hillary Clinton has made the claim that the classifications were an inconvenience and were mislabeled. If she or her staff believed that information was improperly labeled then there are steps to take to declassify information. The OCA, or the original classification authority, rests with the person and organization that generated the document. Her staff should have coordinated with the other agencies OCAs to declassify information instead of claiming it was an inconvenience or mislabeled.

George Stephanopoulos: “You know, you’ve said many times that the emails were not marked classified. The non-disclosure agreement you signed as secretary of state says that that’s really not that relevant. It says classified information is marked or unmarked classified and that all of you are trained to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference.

Hillary Clinton: “Well of course and that’s exactly what I did. I take classified information very seriously. You know, you can’t get information off the classified system in the State Department to put on an unclassified system, no matter what that system is. We were very specific about that. And when you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain thought that this was classified and that was not the case.”— exchange on ABC’s “This Week,” Jan. 31, 2016

The blame and attention shifting cannot eliminate the facts of the Clinton email controversy. She may believe that since the previous Secretaries of State Powell and Rice got away with their e-mails that she will do the same. Rice and Powell were wrong for having classified information in their personal emails . However, the other aspects as outlined above should be considered when comparing all three situations.

DC or Bust: Hillary Clinton has no problem throwing people under the bus, including Colin Powell

Read Next: DC or Bust: Hillary Clinton has no problem throwing people under the bus, including Colin Powell



BADE, J. G. (2016, Feb 04). FBI contacts Colin Powell as part of email probe. Retrieved Feb 05, 2016, from Politico:

Kessler, G. (2016, Feb 4). How did ‘top secret’ emails end up on Hillary Clinton’s server? Retrieved Feb 5, 2016, from The Washington Post:

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