Candidate Clinton's strange statements to Wallace!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2016

Back to the missile gap:
In our view, Candidate Clinton responded strangely to some questions from Chris Wallace on this weekend's Fox News Sunday.

Given two bites at the apple, Clinton seemed to say, then to suggest, that Director James B. Comey ("Comey the God") didn't say that she emailed classified material.

Plainly, Comey did say that she did that. What explains Clinton's performance?

We can't answer that question, of course. But our thoughts have drifted back to 1960 and the famous alleged "missile gap."

Here's the way the story is frequently told:

Candidate Kennedy kept complaining about a missile gap with the Soviets. He then received a security briefing, in which he was told that no missile gap existed.

People, so what? Kennedy kept criticizing Eisenhower and Nixon over the alleged missile gap. For security reasons, Eisenhower and Nixon couldn't say that the handsome hopeful was perhaps being less than obsessively honest.

Did that actually happen? We don't know. The world's leading authority tells part of the story as shown below, in rather dainty fashion:
Eisenhower refused to publicly refute the claims, fearing that public disclosure of this evidence would jeopardize the secret U-2 flights. Consequently, Eisenhower was frustrated by what he conclusively knew to be Kennedy's erroneous claims that the United States was behind the Soviet Union in number of missiles. In an attempt to defuse the situation, Eisenhower arranged for Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to be appraised of the information, first with a meeting by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then Strategic Air Command, and finally with the Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, in July 1960. In spite of these meetings, Kennedy continued to use the same rhetoric, which modern historians have debated as likely being so useful to the campaign that he was willing to ignore the truth.
Last December, PBS presented the famous old story a similar way. You can just click here.

Is that version accurate? We can't tell you that. We offer it only as a possible template for Clinton's odd response to Wallace.

What follows is speculation. Because our nation's public discourse no longer involves real discussion, you'll see no real journalistic attempt to nail down the facts of this case.

Here's our speculation:

Plainly, Comey told the House that Clinton did send and receive emails which contained classified material. On Sunday, Wallace played videotape in which Comey made this unambiguous claim.

Here's the problem:

According to Fred Kaplan, the classified material was classified and secret in form only. According to Kaplan, the material dealt with U.S. drone strikes which are known to everyone in the world and are widely described in the press.

Formally, the strikes are still treated as secret so the governments of Pakistan and Yemen can maintain the pretense that they aren't occurring. But everyone knows that the strikes are occurring. No actual "secrecy" is involved. The classification is done for formal purposes only.

Roughly speaking, that's what Kaplan said in his report at Slate. We don't know how accurate that account is, and because it doesn't involve who you'd drink a mimosa with or what the candidates' campaign songs mean, there will never be any further discussion in the "national press."

As Dana Milbank would note, that would be much too boring!

Is Kaplan right? We can't tell you that. But if he is, this is the problem:

If Kaplan is right, Clinton and her associates actually weren't putting secret material at risk. They were discussing material known to everyone in the whole wide world.

That said, for reasons of diplomacy, Clinton might not be free to say that. This would cast her in the Nixon role. She would be unable to correct false or misleading statements which people continue to thunder about because they're "so useful within an ongoing campaign that others are willing to ignore the truth."

Is something like this true? We have no way of knowing. Nor will we ever find out! Discussions of important topics no longer occur in our culture.

If something like this is true, it might help explain Clinton's peculiar responses to Wallace's questions, which were perfectly reasonable. That said, her responses did appear to be strange—strange and ineffectual.

What's the truth about those 110 emails? None of us will ever find out! Real discussion has ceased to exist in our orange-shoed Trumpian culture.

In the modern journalistic context, Yale grads fill the pages of the Post with trips to the Clintons' underwear drawer, followed by post-Foucaultian ruminations about post-pop campaign songs. Meanwhile, millionaire liberals on corporate cable entertain us with videotapes of blunders by Nixon and Agnew.

They grin weirdly at us as they do. Their orange-shoed clowning is designed to make us liberals feel good.

Can we talk? Sometimes a weird response to an obvious question is just a weird response. Sometimes, though, a weird response may involve a large and growing American "press corps gap."

17 comments:

  1. I think the main takeaway is that Hillary Clinton believes she didn't lie about her emails and servers and that she also believes Comey's report exonerated her.

    Being nearly 70 and speaking off script, those two beliefs would account for her statement, which may be incorrect but maybe not a lie (defined as a deliberate falsehood intended to deceive).

    When you rely on memory you default to stereotypes and generalities and lose the details. That's where mistakes get made. This is true of everyone but more true of those who are getting older, as she indisputably is. It doesn't mean she has Alzheimer's or incipient dementia -- this is normal memory behavior.

    This kind of thing may be why she avoids press conferences and asks for questions ahead of time, so she can prepare her answers. She will make mistakes speaking off the cuff. The press and the right will pounce on them and she will be characterized negatively, way beyond what would happen to any other candidate. She knows there is no leeway for her.

    Can a person function as president with this kind of problem. Absolutely yes. Most people over 40 can and do. The tradeoff to decline in memory function is increase in knowledge, wisdom and judgment and a better ability to deal with people and regulate one's own emotional states. These are the strengths of older people and this is partly why the Constitution has an age limit for becoming president.

    Shorter version: cut her some slack! It wasn't a lie.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but if we cut slack for Hillary, we have to cut it for David, too.

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    2. Hi. Im 25years old and I was with my ex for 3years after a year of being together we moved in with eachother with my daughter who calls my ex daddy our relationship was great living apart but once we moved in with eachother the arguments started and my trust issues. I always use to get funny about him going down the pub with his mates while im at home and we then ended up falling out and he would be gone all night and come in at like 3-4am drunk. I also use to get funny about him going away on holiday with his mates every year. I know him breaking up with me was my fault but not sure why he broke up with me anyway money was getting tight living together so we decided to move out and he go back to his mums and I get a place for me and my daughter we argued alot at that point because of the stress trying to find somewhere to live he said he wanted to go on a months break after moving out so we can clear our heads 3weeks into our break me text me saying we’re over I was really upset because I love him so much I was always texting him and ringing him saying I love him give me another chance then he blocked my number so I couldn’t contact him do then I message him on fb asking about my daughter as she was going on about how she doesn’t understand why she’s nit seeing daddy anymore he replies with contact me once your over me and I will have contact with your daughter.so I left it a week and even though im not over him still till this day I messaged him saying I was over him so he replies with im glad to hear your over me we will arrange something for me to see your daughter. I still love him and I wanted him back i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Prophet Akim,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and im sure he will never leave me again. i am so happy now,you can also get in touch with akim on his email .(prayerstosavemarriage@hotmail.com) :)

      Delete
  2. If Kaplan is right, Clinton and her associates actually weren't putting secret material at risk.

    False. Kaplan was talking about a small number of e-mail messages that were marked "classified" at the time Hillary sent of received them. But, there were a bunch of other messages that were retroactively classified, some with the very highest level of security. It's certainly possible that some of these contained truly secret material and that Hillary put it at risk.

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    Replies
    1. Wrong again David.

      Kaplan was specifically referring to the 110 emails in 52 email chains that Comey described as containing classified information. None of which were marked.
      Most of which the Secretary was sent at the end of the chain, ie, she didn't originate them but might have replied when she received them.

      ***
      the FBI agents found 110—the back and forth of 52 email chains—that contained classified information. Of these, just eight had material that she should have known was “top secret”; 36 of them had “secret” information; and eight more had stuff that she should have known was “confidential.”
      *****


      ***********

      Seven of the eight email chains dealt with CIA drone strikes, which are classified top secret/special access program—unlike Defense Department drone strikes, which are unclassified. The difference is that CIA drones hit targets in countries, like Pakistan and Yemen, where we are not officially at war; they are part of covert operations. (Defense Department drone strikes are in places where we are officially at war.) But these operations are covert mainly to provide cover for the Pakistani and Yemeni governments, so they don’t have to admit they’re cooperating with America. Everyone in the world knows about these strikes; nongovernment organizations, such as New America, tabulate them; newspapers around the world—including the New York Times, where some of the same reporters are now writing so breathlessly about Clinton’s careless handling of classified information—cover these strikes routinely.


      The other top secret email chain described a conversation with the president of Malawi. Conversations with foreign leaders are inherently classified.


      In other words, even if Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or Syrian spies had hacked into Clinton’s email servers, and if they’d pored through 60,000 emails and come across these eight chains that held top secret material, they would not have learned anything the slightest bit new or worthy of their efforts. The FBI’s discoveries should be viewed in that context.
      ********************* LINK

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. What's also crazy and weird is that 10 years ago, the entire news cycle of the week would have been dissecting and pouncing on this. But instead we have Trump campaign members going after a single citizen and their family and Trump literally arguing about a baby! A baby!!!

    These skits write themselves, people. We've skipped the bounds of reality in to the truly post-irony world of absurdism.

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  4. There is an erroneous assumption that politicians have ever spoken the truth and that reporters were somehow better at recognizing these falsehoods and explaining them to the public. I do not believe this to have ever been the case

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  5. Bob is bringing back one of the activities popular in the 90s: Explaining how a blatant lie isn't *really* a lie. This will keep him occupied during the 8 years of Hillary's reign.

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  6. Bringing in this U2 flights, Eisenhowers' reluctance to keep those secret, frankly its baffling. Gary Powers was detected flying over Russia in early 1960. He was shot down in May, 1960. There was nothing secret about U2 flights there after. Obviously May 1960 was months before the conventions and election heat.

    Something else is at works here.

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  7. It is possible Mr.Kaplan has erred. Back on the day Director Comey emphatically stated that Ms.Clinton received, replied to, or forwarded few dozen email which carried C or secret classification. Mr.Kaplan on the subject wrote exactly opposite.

    Re Ms.Clinton, she has a problem on the issue of email. There are emails missing. Some were to Tom Friedman and others that she does not and did not want seen.

    There is a story here, Bob.

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    Replies
    1. Plum, I watched the Comey testimony before the Senate committee. My recollection is that Comey said there were only 3 emails with the "C" designation - not a few dozen. And on these 3 emails with the "C" the "C" wasn't placed in the place where it should have been placed to designate any "secret" was involved; and that Comey testified that it was understandable and reasonable to conclude that Clinton wouldn't have realized from the misplaced "C" that the email was classified as being a secret.

      Delete
    2. Plum: Besides being wrong or lying in virtually everything you wrote, I have just one quick question for you.

      If Secretary Clinton had written some emails to Tom Friedman, do you think you're entitled to read it?

      Delete
    3. No I am not and I did not think I was.
      However, my contention is: she wishes to hide and never release some emails, atleast one of which is to Tom Friedman of NYT. I have my reason to believe this.

      Delete
  8. Someone should explain to Bob that consumption and regurgitation of imaginary orange shoe leather, regardless of the alleged category of entertainment performed by previous wearers of such leather, will not result in acknowledgement of, nor complicity for
    atrocities against sons of Senators who should have made their Harvard roomies proud by being Preisdent.

    ReplyDelete
  9. When you have a security clearance, the rule is that you don't look at classified material unless you have the need to know. So if someone with a security clearance looked at classified stuff on WikiLeaks for example , that would be a breach worthy of a reprimand or loss of clearance. But it would pose no additional danger to national security. To pretend that Clinton endangered national security is just political wishful thinking by her enemies.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi. Im 25years old and I was with my ex for 3years after a year of being together we moved in with eachother with my daughter who calls my ex daddy our relationship was great living apart but once we moved in with eachother the arguments started and my trust issues. I always use to get funny about him going down the pub with his mates while im at home and we then ended up falling out and he would be gone all night and come in at like 3-4am drunk. I also use to get funny about him going away on holiday with his mates every year. I know him breaking up with me was my fault but not sure why he broke up with me anyway money was getting tight living together so we decided to move out and he go back to his mums and I get a place for me and my daughter we argued alot at that point because of the stress trying to find somewhere to live he said he wanted to go on a months break after moving out so we can clear our heads 3weeks into our break me text me saying we’re over I was really upset because I love him so much I was always texting him and ringing him saying I love him give me another chance then he blocked my number so I couldn’t contact him do then I message him on fb asking about my daughter as she was going on about how she doesn’t understand why she’s nit seeing daddy anymore he replies with contact me once your over me and I will have contact with your daughter.so I left it a week and even though im not over him still till this day I messaged him saying I was over him so he replies with im glad to hear your over me we will arrange something for me to see your daughter. I still love him and I wanted him back i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Prophet Akim,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and im sure he will never leave me again. i am so happy now,you can also get in touch with akim on his email .(prayerstosavemarriage@hotmail.com) :)

    ReplyDelete