Are you in trouble? Looking to cover something up? Worried that reporters might actually be on the verge of digging up some dirt that would make you look really, really bad? Well, here’s some free advice. Never, ever, ever ask Marie “Maybe ISIS Would Go Away If They Just Had Better Jobs” Harf to come to your defense. Harf may be a lovely person who showers everyone around her with warmth and kindness, but she’s also kind of terrible at her job and you should probably never put her on the witness stand to testify on your behalf.
At yesterday’s press briefing, Harf was repeatedly asked questions about Hillary’s e-mails. Did Hillary send or receive classified information through her private, unsecure e-mail account? How can you be certain? How does the State Department go about making sure classified information isn’t transmitted through unclassified channels? Marie Harf responded to these questions by repeatedly stepping on a rake while swearing that she totally meant to do that, and no, it doesn’t hurt at all, why do you ask?
Via Real Clear Politics, here’s the meat of Harf’s exchange with a reporter over Hillary’s e-mail use. It is Classic Harf:
QUESTION: And then one follow-up question from yesterday: Do you have anything further on whether there’s going to be a comprehensive review of the contents of these emails or how it is that you’ve reached the, I guess, decision that there was no classified information included?
MS. HARF: Well, obviously – and part of this is coming up because 300 of her emails were provided to the select committee, so somebody obviously had to go through all 55,000 pages and determine if there was anything that was deemed responsive to the select committee’s request. So that process for that request was undertaken. If other requests come in the future, they will be gone through as well, to see if there’s anything responsive and appropriate to be provided. She and her team has said that it was not used for anything but unclassified work. We don’t undergo scans of everyone’s unclassified email to make sure they’re only doing unclassified work, so I don’t think there was any indication she was doing anything but here, so I don’t think it’s really a pertinent question.
There major things jump out from that exchange. First, we have this gem: “[Hillary] and her team ha[ve] said that [Hillary’s e-mail] was not used for anything but unclassified work.”
Oh. So Hillary and her team super duper double pinky swear that everything was totes above board? Well, then. Case closed. If there’s one thing we know about the Clintons after observing them in action for roughly three decades, it’s that they’re just a couple of straight-shooters whose default mode is being honest. When a Clinton tells you that she did not have classified relations with that server, it’s best to just take her word for it and not investigate further.
The second part of that exchange that kind of blows my mind is that the State Department apparently doesn’t have any mechanism to determine if classified documents are being sent through unclassified channels. I’m no Internet security expert, but that strikes me as…problematic. That Harf views it as exculpatory — Calm down you guys: I swear I don’t know if reams of classified info were sent through Hillary’s e-mail. We don’t even have systems to check for that kind of thing! — is nothing short of amazing. And then she kept digging. Here’s how she added to that answer later in the press conference:
MS. HARF: But on the work email, that’s not scanned for classified information either, Brad. If she had had a state.gov email, there wouldn’t have been a classification review to make sure everything on that email was unclassified.
Translation: “Who cares if she didn’t use a state.gov e-mail address? We don’t even, like, check that e-mail system for shady classified document transfers and stuff.”
Again, what’s noteworthy about that line of defense is that she thinks it’s a good idea. Let that sink in for a moment.
In true Harf fashion, though, she didn’t stop there. Nope. She capped it off by saying of the inquiry into Hillary’s classified activity: “I don’t think it’s really a pertinent question.”
It’s almost enough to make you wish this guy could be present at all future Marie Harf press conferences: