Paul Ryan Says Hillary Clinton Too Dangerous For CIA Briefings, Trump Just Fine

You can't let her in here! She'll see everything! She'll see the Big Board! You can't let her in here! She'll see everything! She'll see the Big Board!

Update: The White House has replied. See end of post. House Speaker Paul Ryan has just about had it with our former Secretary of State and her endless string of email crimes, which he's pretty sure endangered the Republic so severely that she can't be trusted with receiving routine CIA intelligence briefings that all presidential candidates are given following the nominating conventions. Never mind that the FBI recommended against prosecution, because what does the FBI know about crime, anyway? This is a matter of national security, after all, not to mention helping Donald Trump win an election.

On Fox's "The Kelly File" Tuesday, Ryan explained that he's just building on exactly what FBI Director James Comey said, anyway:

When I was Mitt Romney's running mate, I got classified briefings every week by the CIA, by National Intelligence, very sensitive information, which you get as a candidate once a convention occurs ... Comey said short of prosecution, some kind of administration action should occur, bringing consequences. I think the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence should block her access to classified information given how recklessly she handled this during the presidential campaign. If she becomes president, that's one thing. But I don't think she should get classified information, and I think the DNI should block it given how recklessly she handled this from the start.

Ryan added that the Obama administration should make the decision to cut off Clinton's intelligence briefings, but hinted that if it didn't, maybe Congress will "look into seeing if that is something we can do as well."

Now, if you really want to get all technical about it, what Comey actually said was that if a current government employee screwed up with email in a way that fell short of breaking the law -- which Clinton has admitted she did -- then there would be job-related consequences:

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

A couple of problems for Ryan. For one thing, those less-than-criminal sanctions would be decided by the State Department and/or the intelligence agencies, and depending on the seriousness of the infraction, could involve loss of a security clearance or even firing. Or, who knows, maybe a note in someone's personnel file. Let's also not forget that "official" leaks happen all the time. Strangely, Paul Ryan hasn't insisted that Trey Gowdy lose his security clearance for revealing the name of a classified CIA source. In any case, those less-than-criminal penalties would not be decided by Congress, and certainly not by the speaker of the House, who's also chair of the Republican National Convention. For a far bigger thing, Hillary Clinton is not a government employee anymore, so she can't get an employment sanction any more than Donald Trump can retroactively fail Ethics 101 at Wharton Business School.

And speaking of Donald Trump, here's the real reason Ryan's smart idea isn't going to get any traction, unless maybe Ryan manages a veto-proof majority to change the law: As we mentioned a while back, major party nominees are routinely given intelligence briefings by the CIA, even if they're motormouthed Twitter sharers whose top aides have repped Russian oligarchs. Presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates have never been required to have a security clearance, because of the whole "commander in chief" thing. It's all part of how things are done, because Harry Truman, who found out about the Manhattan Project only after he was sworn in following FDR's death, decided no other president should take office without having a solid grasp of what was going on out of the public eye.

Frankly, Ryan sounds just a little unhinged: Comey made it clear there was no intentional misuse of classified information, and that while Clinton screwed up as far as storing information on her email server, there was no evidence that she personally can't be trusted with classified information. We'd also point out that she seems far less likely than one of the other candidates to casually mention classified briefing materials when he's worked up at a rally or playing around with Twitter while sitting on the crapper.

Hell, Clinton has so far managed to prevent highly placed Republicans from finding any evidence of how she personally did Benghazi or how she murdered Vince Foster. We'd say she's pretty good at keeping secrets.

Update: The White House says, "Nahhhh":

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said it’s a “longstanding tradition” for major party presidential nominees to receive such briefings — and indicated that practice is almost certain to continue. “What the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has indicated is that they expect those briefings to move forward after the party conventions,” Earnest said.

“And the expectation that the DNI has is that they'll provide the same information to both candidates,” he added. “We should leave those decisions in the hands of our intelligence professionals and not risk them being sullied by the political debate.”

Earnest noted that he’s given a similar response to questions about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s fitness to receive classified briefings.

So, nice try, Paul Ryan. Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling donut? Why don't you take a flying fuck at the moooooooooon?

[TPM / The Hill / Atlantic / USA Today / Guardian / Update: The Hill]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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