Latest Email Dump Shows Hillary Clinton Telling Aide To Send Classified Documents Over Unsecure Fax Line
from the the-best-government-our-money-can-buy dept
In the latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails — forced out of the State Department’s gnarled fists by an FOIA lawsuit and a recently-released Inspector General’s report showing the agency flat out sucks at responding to FOIA requests — there’s a conversational thread suggesting the presidential candidate considers her access to classified information more important than the security of that information.
In one email exchange dated June 2011, Clinton instructed her top policy advisor Jacob Sullivan to send her talking points — which were scheduled to be forwarded over the State Department’s secured network — over a non-secure fax line. Sullivan reported a problem with the State Department’s secure transmission system, so Clinton told him to wipe off any “identifying heading” and send it over using a regular fax line.
Apparently, having faster access to the talking points is more important than following the correct protocols. That’s an incredibly irresponsible way to handle sensitive communications, especially for someone in Clinton’s position.
Calls for criminal charges are filling the air again, but if the US government hasn’t engaged fully at this point, there’s little reason to believe further mishandling of classified information by Clinton is going to get that ball rolling. Besides, the State Department claims the instructions were never followed and the classified info never sent to an unsecure line, as if that makes everything OK.
On Friday, the State Department faced a barrage of questions about the propriety of that order. “We did do some forensics on that and found no evidence it was actually emailed to her,” State Department Spokesperson Kirby said at a daily news briefing on Friday. “There are other ways it could have found its way to her for her use.”
The agency also claims that just because the document was described as “classified” doesn’t necessarily mean the contents of the paper were actually “classified,” as if that makes everything ok. But if that’s true, it’s just more evidence the government routinely abuses this designation to keep non-classified material secret. It also helps explain why the State Department is so FOIA-resistant. This “classified doesn’t necessarily mean classified” non-explanation somehow explains the following:
Though Clinton claims that none of the emails she received on that private server were marked classified, at least 1,340 of those emails have since been marked classified retroactively, according to the State Department’s own tally.
I guess it all comes down to how “classified” is defined by each individual State Department official. Clinton said nothing was classified because that makes using her own personal email server OK. The State Department says some of the emails are, but only now that it’s being forced to release these communications. The designation itself is devoid of any true meaning when it’s wholly arbitrary and can be deployed retroactively. The State Department’s post facto secrecy shows the agency as a whole has a cavalier attitude towards information in its possession. It’s this attitude that leads directly to Hillary Clinton suggesting by email that documents need only be designated as “classified” when it’s convenient to do so — whether it’s to access talking points faster or, in the case of the State Department, to withhold documents from FOIA requesters.