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Clinton Uses Bogus Analogy To Defend Sending Of Classified Information Via Email

- January 11, 2016

Today, At A Des Moines Register Editorial Board Meeting, Clinton Dismissed Claims She Sent Classified Information On Her Secret Server As The Equivalent Of Retroactively Changing The Speed Limit And Handing Out Tickets

Clinton Claimed That Because Information Was Not Marked Classified When She Sent It, Blaming Her For Exposing Classified Information Would Be The Equivalent Of Changing The Speed Limit And Handing Out Tickets Retroactively. CLINTON: "I don't, I think it should be resolved by pointing out that there were no classified materials sent or received by me. And that should answer any questions anyone has. If you're going to be retroactively classifying materials that's an impossible standard. You know it'd be like somebody in the Department of Transportation setting speed limits that had cameras where cars were going down a road, and pictures of license plates were being taken and let's say the speed limit was 35. And then retroactively the police say that speed limit should've been 25, so let's go back and look at anybody who drove down that road and exceeded 25, we need to follow up on that. That makes no sense in that context, it makes no sense in this context of, you know, you had no reason to know or you were certainly given no notice; you were certainly given no notice to know that something might later be viewed as potentially classified. That's just not the way we do business in the government." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks Before The Des Moines Register's Editorial Board, 1/11/16)

But Clinton Sent "Foreign Government Information" That Was "Born Classified"

The U.S. Government Defines Any Information Written Or Spoken That Is Provided In Confidence To U.S. Officials By Their Foreign Counterparts As "Foreign Government Information." "In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department's own 'Classified' stamps now identify as so-called 'foreign government information.' The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts." (Jonathan Allen, "Exclusive: Dozens Of Clinton Emails Were Classified From The Start, U.S. Rules Suggest," Reuters, 8/21/15)

Foreign Government Information Must Be "Presumed" Classified To Protect National Security And The Integrity Of Diplomatic Interactions. "This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be 'presumed' classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters." (Jonathan Allen, "Exclusive: Dozens Of Clinton Emails Were Classified From The Start, U.S. Rules Suggest," Reuters, 8/21/15)

  • Former Director Of The U.S. Government's Information Security Oversight Office J. William Leonard Said This Information Is "Born Classified." "'It's born classified,' said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Leonard was director of ISOO, part of the White House's National Archives and Records Administration, from 2002 until 2008, and worked for both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations." (Jonathan Allen, "Exclusive: Dozens Of Clinton Emails Were Classified From The Start, U.S. Rules Suggest," Reuters, 8/21/15)

Clinton Emails Released By The State Department Revealed That Clinton Sent More Classified Emails That Contained Foreign Government Information. "'Here's my personal email,' Hillary Clinton wrote to U.S. special envoy George Mitchell on a summer Sunday in 2010 as he telephoned one European official after another in an effort to keep peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians on track. 'Pls use this for reply,' Clinton wrote in her email, sent from the clintonemail.com account she set up on an unsecured, private server in her New York home for her work as secretary of state. Over the following hours, Mitchell wrote back to Clinton with summaries of his conversations, including one with Spain's foreign minister, who had briefed him on discussions with Palestinian leaders. The State Department has redacted the summary of the minister's thoughts, saying it is classified information. The exchange is among dozens in a new batch of Clinton's emails released this week that shed further light on how Clinton handled information while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013." (Jonathan Allen, "Another 57 Clinton Email Threads Contain Foreign Governments' Information," Reuters , 9/2/15)

Reuters Headline: "Another 57 Clinton Email Threads Contain Foreign Governments' Information" (Jonathan Allen, "Another 57 Clinton Email Threads Contain Foreign Governments' Information," Reuters , 9/2/15)

Since 2005, The State Department Foreign Affairs Manual Has Stated That "Sensitive But Unclassified" Information Should Not Be Sent Through Personal Email Accounts. "Since 2005, the State Department Foreign Affairs manual has stated that 'sensitive but unclassified' information should not be transmitted through personal e-mail accounts. 'Classified information must be sent via classified E-mail channels only, with the proper classification identified on each document,' the manual says." (Glenn Kessler, "Clinton's Claims About Receiving Or Sending 'Classified Material' On Her Private E-Mail System," The Washington Post , 8/27/15)

Clinton's Distribution Of Classified Materials Contradict Past "Statements In Which She Denied Sending Or Receiving E-Mails Containing Classified Information. "They suggest that her role in distributing sensitive material via her private e-mail system went beyond receiving notes written by others, and appears to contradict earlier public statements in which she denied sending or receiving e-mails containing classified information." (Carol D. Leonning and Rosalind S. Helderman," The Washington Post , 9/1/15)

The Washington Post's "Fact Checker": The State Department Redactions Of Clinton's Emails Prove She Was Exchanging Classified Emails On Her Secret Server. "At The Fact Checker, we judge statements through the perspective of an ordinary citizen. The classification rules are complex but, legal technicalities aside, the question is whether classified information was exchanged over her private e-mail system. Never mind the IG's concerns. According to the State Department redactions of the released e-mails, the answer is yes. Clinton earns Two Pinocchios for excessively technical wordsmithing." (Glenn Kessler, "Clinton's Claims About Receiving Or Sending 'Classified Material' On Her Private E-Mail System," The Washington Post , 8/27/15)

The Washington Post Headline: "Clinton Wrote Classified Emails Sent Using Private Server" (Carol D. Leonning and Rosalind S. Helderman," The Washington Post , 9/1/15)

In Two Instances, The Intelligence Community Has Assessed That Information Sent To Clinton Was "Top Secret" At The Time It Was Sent

Intelligence Officials Confirmed That Clinton's Secret Server Contained Information Classified As "Top Secret" At The Time It Was Sent. " The intelligence community is standing by its conclusion that two emails sent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contained information classified 'Top Secret' at the time it was sent, but is acknowledging that one of those messages can now be treated at a lower classification level, a U.S. official said Tuesday." (Josh Gerstein, "Intelligence Agencies Say 2 Clinton Emails Were 'Top Secret,' But One Is No Longer," Politico, 12/15/15)

 


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