MSNBC legal correspondent Ari Melber said Friday that the Obama administration has prosecuted people for mishandling classified information, as news broke that the State Department is withholding 22 emails from Hillary Clinton's private server because they contained top-secret information.
Clinton, who used an unauthorized private server as secretary of state, has been dogged by the email scandal since it came to light last March.
“People do go to jail for mishandling classified information,” the left-leaning Melber said. “They have been prosecuted in the Obama administration for that. Now, no one here has come up with evidence that Hillary Clinton was the originator, was the creator of any of this material that gets that legal level.”
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon argued earlier on MSNBC that this was an example of over-classification by the government and that Clinton wasn't to blame for information that, according to her, was not marked classified at the time it was sent and received over her non-secure private server.
“The problem, of course, with that defense is it may catch you on the law, but it doesn't catch you on policy,” Melber said. “At the end of the day, what the Inspector General of the intelligence community is concerned about here in this breaking news is that these materials were on a private server and they were at least later determined to be classified and in some cases, allegedly top-secret … That's a problem for policy even if it doesn't in any way suggest that Hillary Clinton broke criminal law.”
The Washington Free Beacon reported in November that Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement where she took responsibility for ascertaining whether information in her possession was classified, and she acknowledged that “negligent handling” of that information could jeopardize national security. The NDA laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information.
The Iowa caucuses are on Monday.