Hillary Clinton’s road to the Democratic nomination may be strewn with stones like Bernie Sanders, who won the West Virginia primary Tuesday night. But Clinton can always count on rock-solid support from her base at the New York Times. On Wednesday’s front page, reporter Steven Lee Myers mounted an “everyone-does-it” defense of Hillary in her ongoing controversy over classified intelligence documents on her private home-brew server while she served as Secretary of State: “Sensitive Email Routinely Sent As Unclassified.”
Meanwhile, the Times and the broadcast networks have ignored the latest revelation in HRC's classified document saga: All the emails from Hillary Clinton’s top IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who set up her private server, have gone missing.
Myers, a fan of Hillary as secretary of state, argued in Wednesday’s paper that what Clinton is accused of is commonplace.
On the morning of March 13, 2011, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, Jeffrey D. Feltman, wrote an urgent email to more than two dozen colleagues informing them that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were sending troops into Bahrain to put down antigovernment protests there.
Mr. Feltman’s email prompted a string of 10 replies and forwards over the next 24 hours, including to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the Obama administration debated what was happening and how to respond.
The chain contained information now declared classified, including portions of messages written by Mr. Feltman; the former ambassador in Kuwait, Deborah K. Jones; and the current director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John O. Brennan.
The top administration officials discussed the Bahrain situation on unclassified government computer networks, except for Mrs. Clinton, who used a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
Her server is now the subject of an F.B.I. investigation, which is likely to conclude in the next month, about whether classified information was mishandled.
No big deal, Myers suggested.
Whatever the disposition of the investigation, the discussion of troops to Bahrain reveals how routinely sensitive information is emailed on unclassified government servers, reflecting what many officials describe as diplomacy in the age of the Internet, especially in urgent, fast-developing situations.
Myers devoted several paragraphs to the State Department’s argument that documents containing only “foreign government information” should not be classified, before half-heartedly bringing up why maybe sending unclassified emails around may be a bad idea:
There are, to be sure, other emails that do not fall into the category of “foreign government information,” and some raise questions about the sort of information senior officials sent in unclassified emails.
In 18 emails, for example, information has been classified on the grounds that it identifies C.I.A. officials, including two instances that are now considered “secret.”
The only Times story of late to mention Hillary's IT guy Pagliano was a positive one from March showing Clinton vindicated for perhaps not being hacked -- a rather low bar for a Secretary of State:
A former aide to Hillary Clinton has turned over to the F.B.I. computer security logs from Mrs. Clinton’s private server, records that showed no evidence of foreign hacking, according to people close to a federal investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
The security logs bolster Mrs. Clinton’s assertion that her use of a personal email account to conduct State Department business while she was the secretary of state did not put American secrets into the hands of hackers or foreign governments.
Also smoothing out potential Clinton embarrassments in Wednesday’s paper was chief Hillary reporter Amy Chozick, who turned Clinton’s ponderings about space aliens as a sign of her “grasp of policy” in “A Candidate Who Is Resonating With U.F.O. Buffs.” One can hardly imagine the razzes Sarah Palin would have received if she had approached the issue with similar sobriety:
When Jimmy Kimmel asked Hillary Clinton in a late-night TV interview about U.F.O.s, she quickly corrected his terminology.
“You know, there’s a new name,” Mrs. Clinton said in the March appearance. “It’s unexplained aerial phenomenon,” she said. “U.A.P. That’s the latest nomenclature.”
Known for her grasp of policy, Mrs. Clinton has spoken at length in her presidential campaign on topics as diverse as Alzheimer’s research and military tensions in the South China Sea. But it is her unusual knowledge about extraterrestrials that has struck a small but committed cohort of voters.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ left-wing campaign continues to be the stone in Clinton’s shoe that keep her from focusing wholly on the Republicans. Reporter Trip Gabriel came off a bit impatient about Sanders’ stubborn insistence on holding up Clinton’s coronation in “Sanders Takes West Virginia, Pulling Clinton Left as Race Goes On.” The online headline delivers the exasperated vibe of the Sanders’ phenomenon as something to be endured: “Bernie Sanders Wins West Virginia, Prolonging Race With Hillary Clinton.”
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont captured the West Virginia primary on Tuesday, forcing Hillary Clinton to continue a costly and distracting two-front battle: to lock down the Democratic nomination and to take on Donald J. Trump in the general election.
Mrs. Clinton has a nearly insurmountable lead in delegates, which Mr. Sanders’s victory, one week after he won Indiana, did little to narrow. But by staying in the race, as he has vowed to do until the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in July, Mr. Sanders continues to tug Mrs. Clinton to the left.