To be sure, the American people are sick and tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s damn emails. Nonetheless, they remain a hot topic as Republicans, knowing that they will be facing one of the most qualified presidential candidates in history with one of the most hated, frantically search for and invent scandals to tarnish Hillary. Now even Robert Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, has come to Clinton’s defense on the issue of email classification.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos today, Gates described the rampant overclassification, confusion, and retroactive classifications that have resulted in many of the emails Clinton handled on her private server being labelled classified after the fact. Responding to a question about whether or not he would have a good idea of the degree of classification an email would be marked as in the future, Gates said:
Sometimes not. The truth is, things are overclassified, and sometimes I would get something and it would be classified Secret or Top Secret. And I would look at somebody and say, I’m about to tell a foreign leader what is on this piece of paper that’s marked Top Secret… Why are you giving it to me as a talking point if it’s classified Top Secret? So it is tough sometimes. And if you don’t have any markings on a piece of paper, it is tough sometimes to tell whether it’s classified or not.
Despite the irrefutable evidence that Clinton did not knowingly send or receive classified information, and therefore did not commit any crime, prominent Republicans continue to slander her as an immoral and dangerous criminal. They have dismissed her argument that any classified emails she handled were deemed so only retroactively as a result of overclassification, despite the fact that former Republican secretaries of state like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice have suffered from the same issue of unknowingly handling classified information on a personal email server.
Gates, however, has the courage and dignity to overcome party lines, admit the truth, and defend an esteemed colleague from slanderous attacks by telling the truth that most Republicans refuse to admit. As he says, there is rampant overclassification in the State and Defense departments and it is incredibly difficult to know in the moment whether even the most mundane of information will at some point be retroactively classified. If even Robert Gates admits that he could have easily unknowingly handled classified information, we ought to need no more proof that there is no so-called scandal in Clinton’s emails. And yet the desperate Republicans will continue to grasp at straws.
Watch the video below:
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.