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President Obama Commenting On Hillary Clinton's Email Investigation Opens The Door For New Scrutiny

Recently, President Obama defended Hillary Clinton's email scandal by saying "there's classified and then there's classified." This implied that some classified information is more sensitive than other classified information. As a result, critics came out in droves.

Government leaker Edward Snowden tweeted, "If only I had known." Snowden is currently facing multiple federal charges for leaking reams of classified documents about global surveillance. Bradley Moss, a lawyer who handles matters related to classified information said, "For a lower rank-and-file person, that's not a defense you can ever use."

The Republican National Committee stated, Obama “concede[d]” that Clinton “mishandles classified information” and then “twist[ed] to defend her." Ron Hosko, a former high-ranking FBI official, said “It leaves you with a sense that he is reaching his thumb toward the scale. I think it is, as I said, unnecessary and, from an investigators’ point of view, not at all beneficial.”

Obama made the comment in an interview with "Fox News Sunday" by saying “There’s stuff that is really top-secret, top-secret, and there’s stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of State, that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open source."

Criminal charges for mishandling classified information does not have any distinction between different levels of classified information.

Moss said, “I can’t make an excuse for someone mishandling a confidential document by saying, ‘Oh it was just confidential.' I’ll get laughed out of the room by security.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest had to defend Obama's remarks by saying that it was a sign of the “disputes in the national security bureaucracy” about how to treat classified information that has been widely discussed in the media. Earnest also told reporters, “His knowledge of the case is based on public reporting."

Yet, if Obama isn't getting direct information from the investigation on Clinton's emails, Hosko asks “How does he know? For the president to weigh in on what might be the facts or might be wildly erroneous, I think it does little to help preserve the view of the integrity of the investigation and that it isn’t being politicized. His comments certainly influence people.”

Last Friday, the Navy reportedly brought charges against Lt. Cmdr Edward Lin for handing classified information over to other countries, including potentially China and Taiwan. Morgan Wright, a cybersecurity consultant who has worked with the U.S. government, asked “Now does this guy get to pick and choose what’s classified and what’s not classified? Can you imagine now the legal arguments that people are going to create because of this?”

On Sunday, Snowden tweeted “Anyone have the number for the Attorney General? Asking for a friend.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore

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