Worse: Hillary's "inner circle" may have stripped e-mail classification markings, official theorizes

Now that you’ve read Taylor’s post and know, via John Schindler, how important the classifications are on sensitive government communications, you can guess that it’d be a very bad thing indeed if those classifications were to mysteriously disappear from a document. Try to find a good reason for it logically. When would it ever make sense to remove a warning to a reader that the information contained in a document is classified?

And yet, some of those markings were absent on the documents found on Hillary’s server. How come? One State Department official has a theory:

But a State Department official told Fox News that the intelligence community inspector general, who raised the most recent concerns about Clinton’s emails, made clear that at least one of those messages contained information that only could have come from the intelligence community. 

“If so, they would have had to come in with all the appropriate classification markings,” the official said. 

The official questioned whether someone, then, tampered with that message. “[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.”

I asked Schindler if there’s any conceivable innocent reason for removing the classifications from a sensitive document. Reply:

And so we come to the next question. Why would anyone in Hillary’s inner circle want to remove those markings? The only apparent reason is to preserve semi-plausible deniability that she knowingly handled classified information on an insecure system, right? Without the markings, you can’t prove that she knew that the info on the server was classified even though it should have been obvious, between the sensitivity of the info and fact that satellite photos were part of it, that the material was likely classified and shouldn’t be included in private e-mail. The deeper this gets, the clearer it seems that Hillary undertook this private e-mail set-up from the beginning on the assumption that she could and would plead negligence if it was ever discovered what she and her inner circle were up to. She can probably survive negligence politically. If it turns out that her lackeys were intentionally laundering classified documents of their formal classifications in order to protect her and other top cronies like Huma Abedin, though, I don’t know. At some degree of brazenness, even Hillary’s not above the law. I think. In theory.

Since we’re already scratching our heads, let’s keep scratching for this:

After she left government service in early 2013, the Clintons decided to upgrade the system, hiring Platte River as the new manager of a privately managed e-mail network. The old server was removed from the Clinton home by Platte River and stored in a third party data center, which are set up to provide security from threats of hacking and natural disaster, Wells said.

Platte River Networks has retained control of the old server since it took over management of the Clintons’ e-mail system. She said that the old server “was blank,” and no longer contained useful data.

“The information had been migrated over to a different server for purposes of transition,” from the old system to one run by Platte River, she said, recalling the transfer that occurred in June 2013.

“To my knowledge the data on the old server is not available now on any servers or devices in Platte River Network’s control.”

If I’m following that correctly, the data on the old server from her tenure as Secretary of State was copied over to one of Platte River’s servers. Then Hillary’s server was wiped clean. Then, somehow, the data from the old server also disappeared from Platte River’s server such that now there seems to be no archive of the old server anywhere. Why? The FBI’s hopefully/presumably trying to recover the data from Hillary’s old server, which is now in their possession, but I’m not sure why a copy wouldn’t have been preserved at Platte River. Maybe they’re periodically deleting old info from their own servers to preserve memory and Hillary’s archive got caught up in that?

Two takeaways here. First, Ace’s co-blogger Jeff B. is right that it seems significant that Fox’s source on all of this is a State Department official. That suggests someone in the department, likely in the IG’s office, is angry about Hillary’s malfeasance here, which means she may have real enemies on the other side of this investigation. This inquiry may be for real.

Second, there’s an oddness to the server saga insofar as the whole thing seems sloppier than you’d expect a Clinton operation to be. One question that’s never really been answered is why the server was so poorly secured from hackers in the first place. Why, for that matter, was it run out of her basement instead of being outsourced to some highly secure private outfit that knew what it was doing? Everyone’s laughing at the news that Hillary once requested a book on good e-mail practices which included tips on how to make sure a deleted message is unrecoverable, but there’s a serious point to that in that her data management appears to have been, to some as yet unknown extent, largely DIY. She and Bill are worth nine figures; she could have paid someone to do it for her, but didn’t. How come? One obvious explanation is that the Clintons are famously secretive and therefore wouldn’t have trusted an outside party to run their shady e-mail operation for them, but that doesn’t add up. The more amateurish/DIY the server security was, the greater the risk that it would be penetrated by hackers and enemy spies, which could in turn wreck her chance at the presidency. Surely a tech professional could be found who’d run this for them and who’d keep his mouth shut about what was going on for the right price.

All of which raises a larger question: Why was a private e-mail server so important to her to begin with? The headaches involved in maintaining the server, deleting the e-mails, scrubbing the classifications, etc, seem way, way more trouble than they’re worth compared to just sticking to secure government e-mail. If this all about “convenience,” as her fans claim, there seems to have been nothing actually convenient about it. There has to be a good reason why she insisted on transacting official business on a private server, away from prying federal eyes. That’s still the mystery at the heart of all this.

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