“Aren’t you ordering [Jake Sullivan] to violate the laws on handling classified material there?” John Dickerson confronted the Friday e-mail release from Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server head-on in an interview with the former Secretary of State yesterday on Face the Nation. Hillary responded by attempting to spin, leaving Dickerson unconvinced at best. “As the State Department said just this week,” Hillary replied, “that didn’t happen.” Actually, what the State Department said was that they had no records to show what happened, but … forget it, she’s rolling. Dickerson presses onward:
CBS NEWS’ JOHN DICKERSON: What’s striking about that particular email is it suggests you were very facile with how to do this, this process. You knew the instructions for how to get around the restrictions for sending classified information. So you’re saying there’s never an instance, any other instance in which you did that?
HILLARY CLINTON: No. And it wasn’t sent. So I think this is another instance where what is common practice, namely, look, I need information, I had some points I had to make and I was waiting for a secure fax that could give me the whole picture, but often times there’s a lot of information that isn’t at all classified so whatever information can be appropriately transmitted unclassified often was – that’s true for every agency in the government and anyone who does business with the government. But the important point here is I had great confidence because I had worked with Jake Sullivan for years. He’s the most meticulous, careful person you could do business with, and he knew exactly what was and wasn’t appropriate and in fact as the State Department has said, there was no transmission of any classified information. So, it’s another effort by people looking for something to throw against the wall to see what sticks but there’s no “there” there.
DICKERSON: Well this one is a little different since the FBI is investigating this specific question of whether classification was meddled with.
Hillary didn’t tell Sullivan to remove classified information from the talking points. That e-mail specifically instructed Sullivan to convert the data into an informal document or electronic transmission with “no identifying heading” in order to transmit it “nonsecure.”
Hillary tries arguing that “headings are not classification notices,” but classification is noted in headings — and that’s why they would need to be removed in order to move from a secure transmission to nonsecure transmission.
Clearly in this context, “identifying headings” relate to classification levels. If the information was unclassified, this e-mail would have been entirely unnecessary. As I noted earlier, someone as “meticulous” and “careful” as Sullivan would have already known that he didn’t need to have unclassified material transmitted securely in the first place. On top of that, Hillary wanted this information urgently. If it was unclassified, why would it be so urgent, and why couldn’t Hillary or her immediate team simply dig it up for her?
Chuck Ross believes that the information related to an explosive situation in Sudan. An e-mail two days earlier to the one in question dealing with the crisis has been redacted in large part and marked classified:
The sensitive nature of the crisis was underscored by one June 15 email Princeton Lyman, the special envoy to Sudan, sent to a group of State Department officials, including Sullivan, apprising them of developments in the region. The bulk of the email is classified as confidential. It is unclear if any of that information was included in the talking points Sullivan was preparing for Clinton.
On June 16, Sullivan emailed Clinton: “Still inching toward an Abyei deal.”
He also stated that State Department staff were asking that Clinton might call both Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s vice president at the time and a leader of the SPLA, and Nafie al Nafie, al-Bashir’s assistant.
As Clinton’s email traffic shows, at 5:51 p.m. on June 16, 2011 Sullivan forwarded Clinton an email from Matthew Spence, who then worked at the National Security Council. The email is redacted, but Sullivan added a note to Clinton telling her, “you’ll get tps this eve.” …
Other email traffic shows that Clinton was seeking the talking points just minutes before she was scheduled to talk to Salva Kiir.
“And kiir is now locked for 830 am,” one Clinton aide wrote.
At almost the same time, Bob Woodward told Fox News Sunday that Hillary’s living in a bubble. Clearly she wanted to “subvert the rules,” but the big question is whether the DoJ will allow Hillary to continue to live in that bubble. Woodward also explains that the “nonpaper” effort is itself a dodge around the rules (via John Fund):
BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, because here you have the secretary of state in 2011 saying let’s subvert the rules, which say you’ve got to send — presumably — I mean, it’s very clear from the earlier e-mails that this was a security issue, and I’ve written about nonpapers or no papers, and this is the way people in the government take the heading off and create something that exists.
WALLACE: Explain that, explain that to the rest of the world here. What’s a nonpaper and what is taking the heading off?
WOODWARD: By taking it off, it’s just a piece of paper that has a bunch of paragraphs. And there’s no classification, there’s no subject, so it’s not in the system, so no one can discover it through Freedom of Information Act or some sort of subpoena.
I mean, look, here is Hillary Clinton, somebody who worked on the staff of the Nixon impeachment committee, and what was the lesson, one of the lessons from that? Never write anything down.
She did years of Whitewater investigations where she was the target, and here, many years later, she’s saying oh, let’s subvert the rules and writing it out herself? You know, whether that’s some sort of crime I think is not the issue. The issue is, it shows she kind of feels immune, that she lives in a bubble, and no one is ever going to find this out. Well, now we have.
In other words, it’s a deception all the way down. Is it a crime? If Sullivan balked at doing this, then not in and of itself, but we don’t know whether he did or not — and neither does State. But it demonstrates that Hillary was well aware of the import of classified markings and had ordered her aides to defeat that system. That makes her “none of it was marked classified” excuse moot, and gives any prosecutor within six weeks of passing a bar exam plenty of evidence to pursue a case in federal court — especially when more than 1300 other examples of classified transmission and storage through unsecured means exist in the system Hillary forced everyone else to use.