Since March, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly claimed that nothing that she sent or received through her e-mail system contained information that was classified at the time. Two Inspectors General referred the matter to the Department of Justice, claiming that material transmitted in four of the 40 emails they sampled contained information that was “classified when they were sent and are classified now.” Who is correct? An exclusive report from McClatchy provides some much-needed context. The information contained in those e-mails came from five intelligence agencies, including the NSA — sources that produce some of the most sensitive and classified information for the US government:
Intelligence officials who reviewed the five classified emails determined that they included information from five separate intelligence agencies, said a congressional official with knowledge of the matter.
The public Benghazi email contained information from the NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a spy agency that maps and tracks satellite imagery, according to the official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The other four classified emails contained information from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA, the official said.
This exposes the absurdity of Hillary Clinton’s position all along. If a Secretary of State can e-mail for four years without discussing anything of a classified nature, then the US probably needs a Secretary of State who actually works for a living. The position entails dealing with all sorts of classified data, not the least of which pertains to security of State Department facilities. The State Department, in fact, has its own intelligence group that produces classified data for the benefit of the SecState.
The McClatchy team makes another point about the presumption that those with this kind of access will know how to determine what’s classified:
Government employees with access to classified information are trained to identify classified information, Fitzpatrick said.
“The requirement to mark is so that you know it when you see it,” he said. “Failure to observe any of the requirements for marking or safeguarding would be in a category known as a security violation.”
Once again, the material would have come to Hillary marked with its level of classification. Otherwise, the sources of that material would have been referred for discipline or investigation by the IGs. But let’s assume for a moment that Hillary didn’t see the markings on this data. If it came from the NSA or the NGIA, anyone concerned with security would have at least wondered whether the information should be protected. The same could reasonably be said about all five sources, but the NSA especially deals in top-classification data, the kind of information that could wreak havoc on American intelligence operations if exposed, as Edward Snowden proved all too well a few months after Hillary’s departure.
Hillary’s claim to have used e-mail only for unclassified and non-sensitive communications has always been a laughable lie. The proof of that lie has just begun to emerge. This particular set of evidence came from a small audit sample of 40 e-mails from an overall group of 33,000. Imagine what else will emerge.
Plus, there may be more e-mails coming. Late yesterday, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines surrendered more than 20 cartons of printed e-mails to the State Department. That came in response to a FOIA claim from the Associated Press, and it might be interesting to see what still exists in Reines’ cache and not in Hillary’s:
Long-time Hillary Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines handed the State Department 20 boxes of work-related emails taken in part from a personal email account, State officials said Wednesday, calling into question the extent to which top aides to the former secretary of state also engaged in controversial email practices.
State Department top document official John Hackett, who heads Freedom of Information Act requests for the agency, told a federal judge in a court hearing Wednesday that Reines was among several officials asked to turn over any any work-related documents in his possession.
He handed over 20 boxes last night, according to a separate State lawyer present at the hearing. The hearing involved a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press that charges the agency with failing to respond to FOIA requests.
That’s a bit of a reversal from Reines, as Politico’s Rachel Bade notes:
Reines did not respond to an emailed request for comment. But earlier this year he took Gawker to task for publishing a story suggesting he used personal email for work purposes.
Yeah, there have been a lot of those claims from Hillary’s circle about e-mails and their use. They don’t seem to hold up well to scrutiny, which prompts the question of why these fables got told in the first place.