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Obscenities Fly In Emails Between Reporter, Top Aide To Sec. Clinton

BuzzFeed says an email exchange between a journalist and one of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's top aides grew quite heated and profane on Sunday — marking at least the second time in recent months that a spokesman for a major political figure used an obscenity to get across his point.

This time it was the journalist who fired off the first word we can't repeat. But the Clinton aide deploys more verbal bombs.

BuzzFeed reprints in all the inglorious detail the emails between reporter Michael Hastings and Philippe Reines, a deputy assistant secretary for strategic communications and a longtime Clinton assistant.

Hastings, perhaps best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone piece that led to the recall of Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his post as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was asking about Reines' "blistering" (in The Associated Press' view) condemnation of CNN for that network's decision to report about what it found in slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal.

The journal was found, CNN says, four days after Stevens was killed during a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. CNN has reported that Stevens was worried about being on an "al-Qaida hit list."

Reines has blasted CNN for first telling Stevens' family it would not report about the journal's contents, then going ahead and doing just that. The network says issues raised in the journal "required full reporting."

Hastings began the email exchange Sunday. There's no serious cussing in the first two from each man. According to the chronology and texts posted by BuzzFeed, it was the reporter who dropped the first true obscenity — employing that commonly used eight-letter word for manure that we'll abbreviate to B.S.

Reines responds with three cusswords in the space of four sentences. He ends by telling Hastings to F-off. Their correspondence doesn't last much longer. Reines unleashes one more F-bomb and tells Hastings "I'm done with you ... have a good life." Hastings wishes Reines "all the best." We suspect there was some sarcasm in each man's words.

There's much more about what CNN did and the State Department's response on the blog of The Washington Post's Erik Wemple.

It was back in July, you may recall, when Mitt Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told journalists to "kiss my ass, this is a holy site for the Polish people." He was angry about how they were shouting questions at the GOP presidential nominee as he left Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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