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How State's Declaration Shreds What's Left Of Clinton's Email Scandal Defense

- January 29, 2016

CLAIM #1: CLINTON CLAIMS THE CLASSIFICATION OF HER EMAILS AS "TOP SECRET" WHEN SENT WAS PART OF AN INTERAGENCY DISPUTE

In On October Interview On CNN, Clinton Claimed That She Had Not Sent Or Received Classified Information, A Position Supported By The State Department Pursuant To An Interagency Dispute. CLINTON: "Well, first of all, nothing and I will underscore nothing that I was sent or that I sent was marked classified. We have a system in our government, in our State Department. It was there before I came in." CNN'S JAKE TAPPER: "Right." CLINTON: "It has continued after I left where there are decisions made about what is classified information in real time and nothing was marked classified." TAPPER: "The inspector general of the intelligence community said some of this stuff contained classified information when it was generated whether or not it was marked classify." CLINTON: "Well, that is just a very strong difference of opinion. The State Department does not agree with that." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 10/18/15)

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SHREDDED: But Today, The State Department Confirmed That The Decision To Fully Withhold Emails And Upgrade Them To "Top Secret" Classification Was A "State Department Decision"

Today, The State Department Confirmed That The Decision To Fully Withhold "Top Secret" Emails From Clinton's Server Was A "State Department Decision." MATT LEE: "The Clinton campaign, spokesman for the campaign, says that this is the case of rampant over-classification and that they object withholding to you guys withholding these emails from public release. What's your response to that?" JOHN KIRBY: "I'm not going to be getting into debating or discussing candidates one way or the other on the campaign trail but what I will tell you is that we work closely with the intelligence community on this, as we have throughout this process, and at their request, we are upgrading this particular traffic." LEE: "So, it's not your determination necessarily that this information was top secret. In fact, you guys were prepared to release it until the intel community came in and said hey, wait a second." KIRBY: "No, I wouldn't say that. As I said, we had a long ongoing discussion about this traffic with them. At their request, we have decided to make this upgraded is a State Department decision. We are doing it but we are doing it at the request of the intelligence community and were going to continue to coordinate and consult with them going forward." (John Kirby , State Department Briefing, Washington DC, 1/29/16)

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The State Department Did Not Dispute The Intelligence Community's Contention That Clinton Emails Were "Top Secret" When Sent. REPORTER: "Ok so I just want to be clear, because the IC IG's letter from January 14th we've confirmed that it was the finding of the agencies who owned the intelligence that they were top secret even containing SAP information when they hit the server. So this is a settled matter, this is not something that is still being pursued do you accept that." KIRBY: "The emails that have been upgraded at the request of the intelligence community, not." REPORTER: "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I don't want to get into this upgrading conversation. Because the finding of the agencies who control the information is that it was top secret SAP when it hit the server. That is the finding that was communicated in this letter. Does the state department now accept that finding." KIRBY: "I'm not going to speak specifically to that letter or the IC IG's finding, you'd have to talk to them about that. What I can tell you Catherine is that in consultation with the Intelligence Community we are making this upgrade, and we believe it's the prudent responsible thing to do. I'm not going to speak to the IC IG's findings or their correspondence with Congress." REPORTER: "Alright well the finding is that they were top secret SAP when they hit that server. So I also want to clarify that you mentioned one of the top secret emails from last summer. That email has also been adjudicated, those two are settled matters as well is that not known to the State Department." KIRBY: "I already mentioned the fact that one of the emails that is being upgraded in this tranche to TS is one of those emails that we talked about last summer, and the other one was returned to the State Department as not possessing any Intelligence Community equities." REPORTER: "Well there are so many top secret I guess we can't all keep them straight, but our understanding is that the two top secret." KIRBY: "We're doing our best to keep it straight at the State Department, Catherine." (John Kirby, State Department Briefing, Washington D.C., 1/29/16)

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CLAIM #2: CLINTON CLAIMS THAT BECAUSE HER EMAILS WEREN'T MARKED CLASSIFIED, THEY WERE NOT AT THE TIME THEY WERE SENT OR RECEIVED

Clinton Claimed That She Had Not Sent Or Received Classified Information Because It Was Not Marked Classified. TAPPER: "The inspector general of the intelligence community said some of this stuff contained classified information when it was generated whether or not it was marked classify." CLINTON: "Well, that is just a very strong difference of opinion. The State Department does not agree with that. And it is almost an impossible standard because we had two separate systems. We had the unclassified systems, so anybody who was on the unclassified system with the State Department would only be able to tell if something were classified if it were marked classified. We dealt with classified information on a totally different system. Nobody had access to that from an unclassified device. So, I think a lot of this is being a public display of the very common arguments that go on between different agencies in our government." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 10/18/15)

SHREDDED: Today, The State Department Also Confirmed That Unmarked Materials Can Indeed Be Classified

The State Department Confirmed That Unmarked Information Could Still Be Considered Classified. REPORTER: "Over and over again you've said that nothing was marked classified at the time it was sent, but that doesn't necessarily mean, correct me if I'm wrong that it shouldn't have been or wasn't. Isn't that right?" KIRBY: "That's correct." REPORTER: "Just because something doesn't have a label on it doesn't mean that it isn't what is." KIRBY: "That's correct. REPORTER: So, in fact it could be that this stuff, in addition to be retroactively upgraded to top secret was in fact top secret at the time it was sent." KIRBY: "Well I'm not going to speculate and hypothesize but as I said questions about classification at the time these emails were sent will be and are handled by the state department." (John Kirby, State Department Briefing, Washington DC, 1/29/16)

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CLAIM #3: CLINTON CLAIMS DECIPHERING CLASSIFICATION FROM UNMARKED DOCUMENTS CREATES AN "IMPOSSIBLE STANDARD"

Clinton Claimed That Being Able To Decipher Unmarked Classified Information Would Create An "Impossible Standard." CLINTON: "And it is almost an impossible standard because we had two separate systems. We had the unclassified systems, so anybody who was on the unclassified system with the State Department would only be able to tell if something were classified if it were marked classified. We dealt with classified information on a totally different system. Nobody had access to that from an unclassified device. So, I think a lot of this is being a public display of the very common arguments that go on between different agencies in our government." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 10/18/15)

SHREDDED: Today, The State Department Confirmed That Personnel Are Trained And Have An Obligation To Protect Unmarked But Classified Information

State Department: We Are All Trained And Obliged To Say Something If Something Should Be Classified. REPORTER: "Is there an expectation that someone sending or receiving, someone with top secret classification, is there an expectation that if they receive an email containing information that was not marked, but which they believed to be classified, there is an expectation that that person would do something about it." KIRBY: "Sure. If you have a sense that, and we're all trained, everybody that works in the government is trained to treat classified and sensitive information appropriately, and if you have a sense that you are dealing with information that is sensitive and should be protected, you have an obligation to do that." (John Kirby, State Department Briefing, Washington DC, 1/29/16)

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