So, we've gone from "there is no classified material," to no one "deemed" the material classified at the time, to any material she "receive(d)" may have been deemed classified but was not "marked or designated" so. The Reuters report even blows up that last bit by indicating the type of information in question was among the most basic kind of classified information there is.
Which perhaps is why Clinton's campaign's newest talking point is:
(It's worth noting this "former Justice Department official" might be better described as a "longtime Democratic operative," given
his past work
for Sens. Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez and John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign -- all of which he served, just like at the Justice Department, in a communications role, not a policy role.)
While I might be sympathetic to the argument our federal government classifies too much information -- just as it regulates too much, criminalizes too much and generally does too much --
is a great example of the "blowing smoke" mentioned above. Might there be some government information out there that really shouldn't be considered classified? I'm sure there is. Does that include "foreign government information" that both other governments and ours would regard as secretive, as well as other information related to national security? Certainly not.
To underscore that point,
Bloomberg reports today
that some of the information in question concerned armed forces movements and diplomatic personnel's evacuation plans in Libya in April 2011. That is just one of the emails now being reviewed by the FBI.
All of this, remember, is a story now for one big reason: Hillary Clinton's insistence on exclusively using her private email account, on her own private, unsecured server, rather using a secure government account. Had she sent and received emails with classified information on a secure government account, we wouldn't be talking about this. Heck, you would expect the secretary of state to send and receive classified information via email at least from time to time, which is exactly why it should have been obvious from the start that her sole use of a private account was certainly foolish and probably, not just possibly, illegal.
And that gets back to one final question: Why? Why did Clinton insist on conducting her official public business in this way? What did she gain from it, and how did that trump -- in the public's interest, not her own -- what she risked by doing it?
As I wrote the other day, the legal questions are interesting and must be answered. But that shouldn't distract us from the larger question about why she put herself -- and our national security -- in this position in the first place. She should be asked that question at every opportunity until she gives us a good answer.