Wednesday, March 30, 2016


From TalkingPointsMemo:
After The Washington Post published a lengthy investigation into the origins of Hillary Clinton's email scandal, including the bombshell revelation that 147 FBI agents were looking into her private server, the newspaper corrected its report late Tuesday to note the number of agents looking into Clinton’s emails as actually fewer than 50. 
The recently edited version of the 5000 word article by Robert O'Harrow in the WP has the following correction at the very end for those who have the stamina to read that far.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Clinton used two different email addresses, sometimes interchangeably, as secretary of state. She used only as secretary of state. Also, an earlier version of this article reported that 147 FBI agents had been detailed to the investigation, according to a lawmaker briefed by FBI Director James B. Comey. Two U.S. law enforcement officials have since told The Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50. 
When I read about the nearly 150 FBI agents in the original article, the number sounded incredible to me. Since the article has been linked several times, the number 150 will stick despite the correction. My guess for the anonymous source in the original is a GOP congressional staff member who had incomplete information or who passed on incorrect information to Robert O'Harrow, and - surprise! - the reporter fell for the story.  (Added note: I did not need to guess about the anonymous source; the statement "a lawmaker briefed by FBI director James Comey" appears in the article and in the correction.)

What those who hope for an indictment don't understand or don't care to understand is that Clinton would have had to knowingly send classified emails on an insecure server. Emails that were classified after being sent would not lead to an indictment. Who knows but that Clinton's server was more secure that the State Department server? Colin Powell said he set up a private server when he was Secretary of State because the Department's server was so old and clunky.

Chris Cillizza could not resist chiming in on his WP blog, and, as of now, his blog has not been corrected.  Cillizza noted the following:
Both stories make clear that, according to legal experts, Clinton is very unlikely to be punished for her exclusive use of a private email server during her time at State since the practice was not forbidden. (Worth noting: Lots of other secretaries of state used private email accounts to supplement their official accounts; none used only a private email account and server.)
But then Cillizza goes on to add:
Potentially more problematic for Clinton is her insistence that she never knowingly sent or received any messages that were marked classified at the time. It’s been shown in the year-plus of investigations into her server that there were a number of items on Clinton’s server that were classified after the fact, but there is no evidence to make her initial statement untrue.  (My emphasis)
If there is no evidence that Clinton's initial statement is untrue, why is her insistence that she never knowingly sent classified emails problematic?  It is a puzzlement.

Full disclosure: I skimmed through most of the article in the WP, because I've already read so much about the email "scandal", and I watched much of Clinton's 11-hour grilling in which she made fools of the six Republican members of the Benghazi!!! committee. 5000 words was just too much of the same old, same old.  How unfortunate that with all that work, the reporter made such a mistake.   A source who will not go on the record is problematic, too.

Update from NBCNews:
But a former federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Clinton investigation tells MSNBC an estimate anywhere near 50 agents is also off base.
"There are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case," says the source, who would only speak anonymously about an open investigation.
More anonymous sources, and the plot thickens.

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