BREAKING: Refresher course on Clinton's emails!


Our TV stars gamboled and played:
Jared Kushner can't seem to get a "top secret" security clearance.

According to the Washington Post, his interim security clearance "was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information."

Kevin Drum offered the comment shown below. It made us think of a disastrous, highly typical matter from the not-too-distant past:
DRUM (2/27/18): “Secret”? Not even “Top Secret?” Seriously? Nothing of any real consequence is classified Secret. Kushner has been put in about the same category as a sixth grader, and for good reason...
"Nothing of any real consequence is classified Secret." Last night, Anderson Cooper made a somewhat similar comment:
COOPER (2/27/18): Let me point out, a top secret security clearance is not that big a security clearance. I mean there's code word security clearances which are much higher than that. You know, just about everybody gets a top secret security clearance.


You should be able to get it. A college student in college who applies to the CIA gets a top secret security clearance when you're working a summer job there. I can guarantee you that. And it's—that, you know, that takes a couple of months.
We don't know if Cooper knows whereof he speaks. We also don't know if security clearances for individuals correspond to the levels of classification which get placed on particular pieces of information—that is, if a "secret" security level only allows you to look at information which is classified as "secret."

We aren't real expert on this, but, in part, that's the point. Drum's statement made us think of Fred Kaplan's report at Slate in July 2016, right after Comey the God delivered his first divine attack on the hideous Candidate Clinton.

Comey the God had ranted and railed about the candidate's "extremely careless" handling of classified material. The very next day, Kaplan rolled his eyes at the magnificent god's mighty pique.

The headline on Kaplan's piece said this: "The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal Was Totally Overblown." Here's what Kaplan said about the classified material in the vilified candidate's emails:
KAPLAN (7/6/16): Let’s review the numbers.

Examining the 30,000 emails that Clinton turned over, the FBI agents found 110—the back and forth of 52 email chains—that contained classified information. Of these, just eight [email chains] 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 been known was “confidential.”

The agents also scrounged through the bits and pieces of 30,000 more emails that she didn’t turn over and found three—three!—that contained classified information: one secret and two confidential.
Acording to Kaplan, out of 60,000 emails, the FBI found a tiny amount of material which was actually "top secret." Even that material was pure piddle, Kaplan said, as we'll show you below.

First, though, Kaplan recalled his own experience as a young secret agent man. It was much as Cooper said:
KAPLAN: As anyone who’s ever had a security clearance will tell you, the labels secret and confidential mean next to nothing. When I worked on Capitol Hill in the late 1970s, the government gave me a secret clearance on my first day of work, pending the investigation into my worthiness to hold a top secret badge. As far as anyone knew, I might have been a Soviet spy, carting out confidential and secret documents every night and making copies for my handler. But they also knew the risk was low because there was nothing in those documents that the Soviets would have paid a dime for. The same is true of our various adversaries and stuff marked secret today.
Hey, that's what Cooper said! But what about the small amount of "top secret" material in Clinton's emails? Kaplan said this about that:
KAPLAN (continuing directly): Top secret information is another matter, but the stuff that showed up in Clinton’s private email wasn’t so special. 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.
The president of Malawi! Carelessly, Clinton had let something slip about him!

In short, even the small amount of "top secret" material was "top secret" in form only. According to Kaplan, the whole affair was complete and total absolute bullroar—bullroar all the way down.

Why do we recall this today? To help you remember how our lazy, feckless "career liberal journalists" helped Donald J. Trump reach the White House.

Kaplan is a serious, experienced specialist. In his analysis, he said the claim that Clinton had jeopardized "top secret" material was basically total bunk.

That was an important claim. But you never saw Fred Kaplan on your favorite cable entertainment program. Rachel kept propping Steve Kornacki before "the big board," where he'd do his carnival barker act, telling us how far ahead Candidate Clinton was.

The silly children gamboled and played. The lunatic candidate won. Astoundingly, Rachel never mentioned Comey at all until quite deep in the fall. In those days, cautious insider career corporate players didn't challenge the greatness of this particular insider god.

(On the brighter side, Rachel's incessant mugging and clowning helped us adepts learn to adore her more fully.)

Don't misunderstand! If Clinton had ended up in the White House, there would be total chaos today. She'd have been impeached a thousand times. Every imaginable pseudoscandal would have been rolled out by now.

That said, the failure to pursue what Kaplan said stands out from the year of entertainment our favorite cable stars gave us. The furor about the "top secret" emails was roughly the ten millionth pseudoscandal in twenty-five years of pseudoscandals aimed at Clinton, Clinton and Gore, as two generations of "career liberal journalists" refused to challenge what was being done, often by the major news orgs which largely define their careers.

Your Darling Rachel never mentioned Comey the God all through the summer and fall of 2016 until quite late in October. Four years before, she had refused to defend Susan Rice as the Benghazi pseudoscandal was being invented and was hardening, turning to solid stone.

These terrible, horrible corporate players have helped spread death across the globe. Their predecessors savaged Candidate Gore from March 1999 right through November 2000. Four cycles later, a new generation gamboled and played from 2014 on as the Washington Post and the New York Times revived their 25-year-old jihad against both Clintons and Gore.

The same old storylines got dragged out again. They produced a second disaster.

As all this bullroar rained down, Fred Kaplan never got interviewed! A great god's name was never mentioned. Are we happy with how that turned out?

Back to the board: Eight days ago, Brian Williams revived the shtick:
WILLIAMS (2/20/18): Coming up after a break, Steve Kornacki is among our guests tonight. He's going to be at the big board with new numbers on how we all feel about guns and gun safety reforms in the wake especially of this high school shooting in Florida. The 11th Hour, back after this.
Sure enough! There was Kornacki in his standard uniform, sleeves rolled up, hunched over from the waist, talking extremely fast.

Just a good solid guess. Kornacki is dressing and performing as his bosses have told him he must. They ran it before some focus groups, and this is what the people liked.

So with Maddow's constant forced laughter, which arrived fairly late in the game. Do you really think it's real? Do you think Kornacki invented that shtick? Or was it focus grouped?


  1. "The furor about the "top secret" emails was roughly the ten millionth pseudoscandal in twenty-five years of pseudoscandals aimed at Clinton, Clinton and Gore"

    I tend to agree about the "pseudo" part -- obviously the establishment would never talk about real scandals, war-mongering and neoliberal abomination.

    But hey, look on the bright side: she lost! The anti-establishment rebellion succeeded, against all odds. Thermonuclear war avoided. The TPP is dead. Syria survives. There's a real chance of NAFTA repeal.

    It's good, Bob. And if silly pseudoscandals helped -- take it, and be grateful.

    1. Charles Raymond ConoverFebruary 28, 2018 at 7:15 PM

      Nothing says anti-establishment rebellion more than Trump's $29 million french kiss to Berkshire Hathaway.

      Up the establishment!, right Sergei?

    2. "anti-establishment rebellion"?! Sorry to inform you but the plutocrats are fully in charge. Don't be a fool.

    3. "Nothing says anti-establishment rebellion more than Trump's $29 million french kiss to Berkshire Hathaway."

      Think you meant to say $29 billion.

    4. Syria survives. And Uncle Vova keeps trying to kill it.

  2. Fred Kaplan is a regular columnist for Slate. Does that make him one of our journalistic elites who was complicit in the deaths of millions? Except that Somerby calls him serious and experienced. So, perhaps you can find serious, experienced journalism within the shithole that is Slate...he has also written for The NY Times.

    Somerby also says that "Our TV stars gamboled and played", in reference to the Comey/Clinton email matter. Then he goes on to name only one such TV star, who didn't exactly "never" mention this, just "late" in the fall. That would be when Comey's second, more damaging announcement came out.

    The Comey stuff was all over MSNBC, CNN, etc from the time of Comey's first announcement.

    But Clinton's defeat is all Rachel's fault.

    1. You can't read. That's not what he said. He used Rachel as an example. There are many more examples he could have used but you don't pay attention.

    2. It's in part Rachel's, and other media stars', fault. That's not complicated.

      Bob's point that Maddow and others were (and are) largely derelict in their duty to inform and raise the national conversation is spot on.

      Rather than do some real work and reveal this "scandal" for the fraud it was, she fiddled while Rome burned.

      She is worse than useless.

    3. Tell that to Chris Christie.

  3. Hey Bob, Vox had an article yesterday about Lewinsky that claimed she was an intern while she was having an affair with Bill Clinton.

  4. Rachel isn't a fighter. I would never trust her to defend my interests.

    1. Why would you? She's a TV host, fer Chrissakes.

    2. Right, she's a mere entertainer. A creampuff at that.

    3. Technically, she could fight for our interests, but then her bosses would replace her with someone who won't.

    4. To use Bob Somerby reasoning, what are your "interests" and how are they "our interests"? And don't you know they are not bosses, they are owners. You don't pay attention to Bob.

  5. Having a top secret clearance matters to Kushner. It will dictate what meetings he will be allowed to sit in on, what documents he can read, what he can be told about the status of different situations. It means the difference between being able to function well in a White House job and being sidelined. So, yes, this matters. Of course, there is the possibility that he wasn't participating before this happened, just as there is the possibility that no one is showing Trump much in the way of classified material these days.

    Somerby says:

    "Don't misunderstand! If Clinton had ended up in the White House, there would be total chaos today. She'd have been impeached a thousand times. Every imaginable pseudoscandal would have been rolled out by now."

    I believe this is wrong. A republican congress with a democratic president will need to work together more than Trump and his Congress, because they will want to get bills signed. Clinton's threat to veto things would have kept them from persecuting her in the way Somerby suggests would happen. And Hillary would know how to use the power inherent in the presidency, as Trump does not. I believe they would quickly arrive at a truce with respect to investigations and she would be able to accomplish some progress in areas where republican and democrat interests overlap, because compromise is what she does best and because she truly has friends across the aisle, as Trump does not (not even within his own party).

    But Somerby's glum picture of a Clinton presidency is telling. It sounds like he has bought everything to Bernie bros told him about how she would be unable to govern, so why elect her anyway? He seems to lack all respect for and knowledge of anything she has accomplished in the past, and totally forgotten all those republican endorsements she got during the campaign. For a picture of what a Hillary presidency would be like, look at the last 6 years of the first Clinton presidency, minus the impeachment over sex misbehavior. Travelgate etc., but nothing real and nothing that got in the way much.

    I think Somerby is succumbing to CDS himself.

  6. I had a top secret security clearance for a job at a think tank. During the months before I got it, they let me sit in a room and read a novel. I couldn't do any part of my job because I wasn't permitted to see any of the written materials pertinent to what everyone was doing.

    If you are working on something at your desk and a person without a clearance walks in, you have to cover up everything on your desk. Major inconvenience for all.

    Organizations have staff who ensure security rules are followed. If you have too many violations (or too serious ones), they take away your right to work with those materials and make you get retrained. It is taken seriously.

  7. Byron York's HairhatFebruary 28, 2018 at 8:16 PM

    Speaking of rumors, there's one out that David in Cal is Trump's next Communication Director.

    Only the best people.

  8. Where is David in Cal with his secret Trump decoder when you really need him? I'm worried cause I just heard president pussygrabber say something I actually agreed with, so I know I must be making the mistake of taking him literally whereas David in Cal understands what he meant "seriously".

    “I like taking the guns early,” he said, adding, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

    1. He's memorizing tapes of God-Reagan's former Press Secretary, Larry Speakes, as he crams for his first presser:

    2. Where is Mao Cheng Ji with his decoder? We need him to calm Uncle Vova down. We elected Mr Trump, and now we get this:

  9. Nothing here is wrong, per say, but Bob’s wondering eye and mountainous shoulder chip loses whatever worthwhile points he might make in a wave of balderdash.
    Why Comey’s congressional attack on Clinton, in its utter inappropriateness, was allowed to occur is mysterious, but it is no impossible to understand. By the time it occurred it seemed unthinkable the Republican’s degenerate candidate could win, and it seemed a kind of peace offering towards national unity. We were exhausted from defending Mrs. Clinton from bullshit, just as we are now exhausted defending Bill Clinton from freakish, mercenary frauds like Jaunita Broaddrick.
    And who is to blame for that? Not fucking Rachel Maddow. Nope, it was the sick fucks at Fox News that created that cult of hatred.
    And Bob gave O”Reilly, and the rest of them, a pass. Eternal shame on him.

    1. Her defeat was unthinkable to you? That should show you how clueless and stupid you are. Nate silver gave Trump a 30% chance. That's unthinkable to you?

      You're describing to defeat. A defeat of a group of weakling losers. You're saying that Fox News is to blame for Rachel Maddow et al being "too exhausted" to defend the person in whom they believe? You're describing the behavior of a pathetically week dick-less, spineless group of pathetic group of shit heads. Too exhausted. "I couldn't fight and win the war I was fighting" "why?" "because I was too exhausted ... and losing was unthinkable."

      Democrats, and weakling chronic loser liberals like yourself are God's gift to corrupt Republicans.

      "It's not my fault! It's the people I'm fighting. They made me so exhausted! They're responsible for my defeat."

      Fucking fuck you you pathetic fucking loser.

    2. I agree with Greg. Advocates on our side like Maddow should not be expected to cover or even mention when Comey broke from traditional procedures and slimed our candidate of our choice. She was exhausted, so what was the point? She was too tired. Hell, we all were. Plus Clinton was up by 10 points in the polls. That meant losing was impossible. Listen, beating slimy corrupt political opponents in national elections is hard work. It's tiring. Sometimes you get exhausted. When that happens, I think Greg speaks for all of us when he points out that the best thing to do is nothing, stop trying, and support our leaders that do the same. Why try, Why fight? It's too tiring! Plus it's impossible to lose, right? After all, that's what the same leader who disappeared the sliming told me on TV!

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