Sorting Through the Republican B.S. Concerning the Clinton “Top Secret Email Controversy”

In case you haven’t heard, the first election of the 2016 presidential primary season happens on Monday when Iowans head to the Iowa Caucuses to decide which Republican and Democrat the voters from that state want to be their party’s nominee. While the campaigns for these candidates have literally been going on for months (and in some cases years), Monday marks the official kickoff.



So, what does that have to do with Hillary Clinton and her emails? Well, quite frankly, everything. Because it’s not a coincidence that for the last week – and especially Friday – numerous unidentified sources have apparently told several people (mostly Republicans, shocker) that a federal indictment for Clinton is “imminent.”

Honestly, this is the most pointless non-story I’ve ever seen.

First, let’s get some facts straight since about 99.99 percent of the people I meet who think Clinton is on the verge of a criminal indictment don’t seem to have a damn clue about what the truth is on any of this.

First, Hillary Clinton is not – let me repeat that – Clinton is not under criminal investigation by the FBI

Politifact investigated this bogus claim and said this:

The FBI is conducting a general inquiry into the security of Clinton’s private email server. But law enforcement officials have said Clinton herself is not the target of the inquiry, and it is not a full-blown criminal investigation.

They also point out how Fox News, one of the main drivers of all of this nonsense, almost always cites “unnamed sources,” making it impossible to verify if anything their “experts” claim to know about what’s going on with the FBI’s inquiry is remotely factually based.

Here’s some free advice: Whenever a “news” entity of any kind pushes information based on “unnamed sources” – especially when they’re concerning hyper-partisan topics like Hillary Clinton – you probably want to be highly skeptical of anything they have to say. Particularly when it comes from Republicans or the conservative media about anything related to the Clintons.

Take for instance former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (and “birther,” by the way) who recently made headlines when he said that an FBI indictment of Clinton was imminent. Again, his only “proof” he provides for this are supposed “friends” he has working with the FBI who he claims told him that the FBI is “ready to indict.” For the record, “friends at the FBI” is just another way to say “unnamed sources.” And he just happened to make this random statement on a right-wing website, the week before the Iowa Caucus.

Then on Friday Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the guy who failed to get anything on Clinton during his Benghazi witch hunt, said that he believes the FBI director would “love” to indict Hillary. What sources does Issa have for his claim? Basically nothing. He just… said this. Though I’m sure the fact that he said this random, not-at-all verifiable statement the Friday before voters go to the polls in Iowa is all a huge coincidence. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s been a key player in the Republican party trying to sabotage Clinton’s presidential campaign for years.

Naturally, Fox News had a field day with this story all day on Friday.



And the part almost all these Republicans and conservative media news sources leave out is the fact that all of these emails that have now been deemed “classified” or “top secret” have been done so retroactively. Meaning that, at the time they were sent, they were not deemed “classified” or “top secret.”

Also what’s almost never mentioned by most of these conservative “news” entities is that Clinton wants those 22 emails to be released to prove she did nothing wrong. Because, you know, someone who knows that they’re on the verge of being indicted would really want these emails made public, right? That makes perfect sense.

Oh, and did I mention that Colin Powell also used a private email server when he was Secretary of State? Funny, I don’t remember Republicans pushing the idea that he needed to be criminally indicted for doing so. In fact, I can’t recall Republicans ever mentioning this once. Being that his emails are long gone, it’s very likely that many emails he sent during his four years as Secretary of State could have been retroactively deemed “classified” or “top secret” like Clinton’s have.

I also said that all of these emails have been retroactively reclassified, right? I think I did, but I just wanted to be certain that I mentioned how there’s been zero evidence showing where Clinton knowingly sent “classified” or “top secret” information on her server.

Oh, and one more thing! 

The FBI doesn’t “indict” people. So, all these fools saying the FBI is “ready to indict” Clinton aren’t even making any sense based on how the legal process works. It takes federal prosecutors and a grand jury to “indict” someone – neither of which are involved with the FBI’s inquiry into Clinton’s server.

And let’s also address the big elephant in the room: The DNC, Hillary Clinton and even the Obama administration aren’t idiots. If these folks really believed that there was some sort of “smoking gun” that was going to lead to a criminal prosecution of Clinton, she wouldn’t be running for president right now. Like them, hate them or think they’re all crooks – they’re not stupid people.

Then again, for Republicans, it doesn’t matter if she’s ever indicted. For them, this is just about muddying the waters enough, hoping that it hurts her chances at becoming president. Think about it, what else do they have? Nothing. They’ve tried to make Benghazi “stick,” it hasn’t, and now they’re trying to use this email nonsense to accomplish the same goal they’ve failed to accomplish with their Benghazi propaganda. This is what Republicans always do. Whether it’s “death panels,” questions about Obama’s birth certificate or climate change – they fill the political world with as much misinformation as they possibly can to such an extent that most casual Americans have no idea what’s real and what’s not.

This rhetoric being pushed by the right has nothing to do with any real belief that Clinton is going to be indicted or ever remotely get close to the inside of a prison cell. All it’s about is the Republican party doing its best to make people think that’s what’s going to happen, hoping it will be enough to keep her out of the White House.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • strayaway

    “The State Department on Friday said for the first time that “top secret” material had been sent through Hillary Clinton’s private computer server, and that it would not make public 22 of her emails because they contained highly classified information.” -NY Times 1/29/16

  • A Clarke

    This is more of a study in gross incompetence than anything else. Anyone who doesn’t think that the Russians and Chinese don’t know the contents of these messages (and vice versa) is living on Fantasy Island. Knowledge is power, and intel agencies over-classify to the point of absurdity, under the assumption that if the people really knew what our servants in government knew what they were up to, we would be more than mildly displeased.

    When anything comes from Tom DeLay, you’d better be wearing hip-waders if you are downstream, but it doesn’t take a lot to merit an indictment here. Ask David Petraeus.

  • BTDT2

    Clinton says she wants the emails made public, because she knows that’s never going to happen: They’re classified. Clinton says none of her emails were marked “classified”, because she knows there is no such marking in the classification system. Clinton says that this is a “security review”, when in fact, the FBI doesn’t do “security reviews”; the FBI conducts criminal investigations. Clinton says her emails were “retroactively classified”, when in fact, there is no such thing. It is the contents of an email, document or speech that make it classified, not the markings.

    It is impossible for classified documents, or portions of classified documents, to go from a classified government computer domain, to an unaccredited, unsecured, unapproved, private information system without violating the law. The fact remains that classified documents and emails that were marked “Confidential” and “Secret” were found on Clinton’s server. The fact remains that Clinton sent emails instructing subordinates to strip the classification markings from documents, and to send those classified documents over unsecured fax. That demonstrates both conspiracy and intent. Clinton is done.