In one of the newly released emails, Hillary Clinton appears to instruct an aide to remove the classifying markings and send her the information through unsecured means.
The State Department overnight released another 3,007 emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. According to State, this batch contains an additional 66 messages deemed classified at some level. However, one email in particular is raising eyebrows and serious questions.
In it, Secretary Clinton requested a set of since-redacted talking points from top adviser Jake Sullivan. Sullivan responds: “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.” Clinton replies, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper [with] no identifying heading and send non secure.”
The Secretary of State appears to be instructing her underling to send secure information through unsecured means after removing classifying markings.
Townhall‘s Ed Morrissey is already wondering: “Has the State Department released a smoking gun in the Hillary Clinton email scandal?” He also reviews the relevant criminal statutes, including 18 USC 793.
Morrissey thinks Hillary’s request explains “why more than a thousand pieces of classified information have found their way into Hillary’s unauthorized and unsecured email system — and why the markings have been stripped from them.”
The Hill urges caution in making too much of the email. “It is not clear what the contents of the email were, whether information sent was classified or secure or whether the order was carried out.” However, as Morrissey points out, there’s no obvious reason to send unclassified information via a secure fax “and no reason to strip out the headers of unclassified material in order to work around secure-transmission channels.”
Powerline‘s Paul Mirengoff summarized the matter this way:
Central to Hillary’s defense of her receipt of classified material on a non-secure system has been her claim that the documents in question lacked security markings at the time she received them. Yet, here she is ordering that such markings in effect be stripped before she receives a document.
It’s not yet clear whether Sullivan sent the document or whether, instead, the secure fax was fixed in time. Nor should it make a difference except when it comes to determining Sullivan’s culpability. Hillary’s order to Sullivan is what matters for purposes of determining hers.
Ed [Morrissey] says: “That should be game, set, and match, yes?” Yes, it should be. But with the Clintons, somehow it never is.
Hillary’s willingness to eliminate an “identifying heading” lines up with what a State Department official told Fox News in August about at least one classified email from the intelligence community. This anonymous official concluded that someone at State had tampered with its classification markings.
“[S]omewhere between the point they came into the building and the time they reached HRC’s server, someone would have had to strip the classification markings from that information before it was transmitted to HRC’s personal email.”
The official said doing so would “constitute a felony, in and of itself. I can’t imagine that a rank-and-file career DOS employee would have done this, so it was most likely done by someone in her inner circle.”
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on today’s revelations.
An Evolving Denial
The Democratic front-runner has repeatedly maintained that she did not send or receive classified material on her personal server. Clinton put it this way during an Iowa press conference last August: “I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified.”
Her inclusion of the word “marked” signaled a more nuanced answer than one she had given when the scandal broke in March. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said in March. “There is no classified material. I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
Meanwhile, the FBI investigation into Clinton and her personal computer server set-up continues.