Whoa: Hillary e-mail instructs aide to transmit classified data without markings

posted at 10:01 am on January 8, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Has the State Department released a smoking gun in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal? In a thread from June 2011, Hillary exchanges e-mails with Jake Sullivan, then her deputy chief of staff and now her campaign foreign-policy adviser, in which she impatiently waits for a set of talking points. When Sullivan tells her that the source is having trouble with the secure fax, Hillary then orders Sullivan to have the data stripped of its markings and sent through a non-secure channel.

That should be game, set, and match, yes?

hillary-e-mail2

“If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” That’s an order to violate the laws handling classified material. There is no other way to read that demand. Regardless of whether or not Sullivan complied, this demolishes Hillary’s claim to be ignorant of marking issues, as well as strongly suggests that the other thousand-plus instances where this did occur likely came under her direction.

Fox News also noticed the e-mail this morning, although they don’t yet have a copy of it linked:

However, one email thread from June 2011 appears to include Clinton telling her top adviser Jake Sullivan to send secure information through insecure means.

In response to Clinton’s request for a set of since-redacted talking points, Sullivan writes, “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.” Clinton responds “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper [with] no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”

Ironically, an email thread from four months earlier shows Clinton saying she was “surprised” that a diplomatic oficer named John Godfrey used a personal email account to send a memo on Libya policy after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.

It’s probably time to review the relevant criminal statutes again in this case, such as 18 USC 793:

d) Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense,
(1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or
(2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Did those talking points get illegally transmitted on Hillary’s order? If so, then Sullivan may find himself in legal trouble, too. Paragraph (g) makes it clear that “each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.”

This explains why more than a thousand pieces of classified information have found their way into Hillary’s unauthorized and unsecured e-mail system — and why the markings have been stripped from them. Hillary herself apparently ordered the Code Red, so to speak.

Update: Speaking of Code Red, thanks to the Drudge Report for the red-text link, and welcome to Drudge readers!

Update: I’ve been asked for a specific link to the file, but the State Department FOIA portal doesn’t easily provide one. That’s why media outlets have just downloaded the PDFs themselves and provided them for readers. I’ve done that here now, but if you want to check the provenance of the document, go to State’s FOIA portal and search for documents dated 6-16-2011. There is no subject or recipient listed, but the file name is C05787519.pdf.

Update: The Hill actually did figure out how to get the link, so here it is (or feel free to use ours). The Hill’s Brandon Richardson cautions that “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, there is little reason to send unclassified or sensitive material through a secure fax, and no reason to strip out the headers of unclassified material in order to work around secure-transmission channels.

Guy Benson has more on the latest e-mails; be sure to read it all.

Update: There are a few people wondering whether the “TPs” (talking points”) in question in this thread were classified in the first place. There are a couple points to remember in that context:

  • Unclassified material doesn’t need to be transmitted by secure fax; if the material wasn’t classified, Sullivan would have had them faxed normally.
  • Ordering aides to remove headers to facilitate the transmission over unsecured means strongly suggests that the information was not unclassified. On top of that, removing headers to avoid transmission security would be a violation of 18 USC 793 anyway, which does not require material to be classified — only sensitive to national security.
  • State did leave this document unclassified, but that’s because there isn’t any discussion of what the talking points cover. They redacted the subject headers with B5 and B6 exemptions, invoked to note that the FOIA demand doesn’t cover the material (in their opinion).

Ordering the headings stripped, and Sullivan’s apparent reluctance to work around the secure fax system, makes it all but certain that the material was classified at some level — and Hillary knew it.


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