One of the most interesting things revealed in the FBI’s Friday-before-Labor-Day release of a heavily redacted version of their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s abuse of national security information was that she denied, under oath, of knowing much of anything about classified information.
Hillary Clinton never received training on how to handle classified information. By her own admission, she had little ability to discern whether a document included sensitive information. And when she did handle sensitive materials, she relied on her subordinates to ensure that nothing important was compromised.
Taken together, her responses to questions from FBI investigators reveal a high-level government executive who apparently had little grasp of the nuances and complexities around the nation’s classification system — a blind spot that helped allow classified communications to pass through her private email server.
“Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system,” the FBI’s report on Clinton’s interview states. “She relied on State officials to use their judgment when emailing her and could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address.”
This is an astounding claim. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is one of the handful of US officials with the personal authority to declare information TOP SECRET.
But this hasn’t always been her story. Let’s go back to October 16 when Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Jake Tapper. The subject of how she handled classified information came up.
JAKE 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 classified.
HILLARY 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 system, so anybody 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.
Now we know this is a total lie. It is balderdash through and through. The reflexively left “Politifact” classified this claim as FALSE:
In total, the investigation found 110 emails in 52 email chains containing information that was classified at the time it was sent or received. Eight chains contained top secret information, the highest level of classification, 36 chains contained secret information, and the remaining eight contained confidential information. Most of these emails, however, did not contain markings clearly delineating their status.
Even so, Clinton and her team still should have known the information was not appropriate for an unclassified system, Comey said.
“There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about the matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation,” Comey said of some of the top secret chains.
Significantly, the eight items classified TOP SECRET had to be purloined from a secure facility, a SCIF, and transferred to an unclassified network. This require intent. It is impossible for it to happen by accident.
But the interesting part occurs later in the interview:
CLINTON: I took classified information very seriously. I usually met with people to discuss it. It was delivered to me in hard copy… ahh… so marked. And then when I traveled I had one of those [draws air square about her head] hoods because we were afraid of prying eyes from certain governments. Then I would read classified material. So I’m very familiar with treating classified material as it should be: with great care.
Here Hillary Clinton is clearly referring to viewing classified material on a mobile device. You wouldn’t need a “hood” if you were viewing the device in a SCIF or a facility that had been swept for bugs, like a residence. I seriously doubt that anyone was lugging a computer around for her.
In this one interview we can conclusively demolish two of Hillary’s excuses. First, she declares that she was very up to speed on how to handle classified information. This is plausible given her official role as a classification authority. Secondly, we know that she not only knew how to access classified information on a mobile device and admits to having received classified information on such a device but that she received highly classified information on her own device. Did she adhere to the security requirements when reading that information? We can’t know. What we can know is that she was not the out of touch, concussed, ditzy old bat that she claimed to be for the benefit of the FBI.