Newly Released Email Shows Clinton Instructing Aide To Strip Header and Send Information Over Unsecured Lines After Objections Over Security

loose-lips-sink-shipsHillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziThe e-mail scandal involving former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has continued to unfold, as we have been discussing. The number of classified emails have now grown to 1340. While the vast majority have low level classification, a few contained information classified at the secret level. This is not the first such allegation of someone stripping classification headers in scandal.  The mishandling of classified information is a crime and the level of gross negligence in the use of the private server by Clinton is staggering. However, there has long been a good-faith debate over whether Clinton is being given a pass on a criminal investigation by the Obama Administration or whether her actions (while negligent) were not criminal in nature. A recent story could change that debate considerably  if critics are proven correct. One of the emails released recently reportedly shows Clinton instructing an aide to strip off classification markings from a document and to send by unsecure means. Such an act could be charged as a criminal offense under federal classification laws.  However, it is not clear that any email was sent and the Clinton staff could claim that she was referring to clearly unclassified material contained in a document.  There has been a suggestion that the material in question were “talking points” that were meant to be public or were clearly unclassified.  [Update: Clinton says that the email was never sent and that she trusted her aide to make the right choices on what could be sent.]

The 2011 email could add significant pressure for the Obama Administration, even though the House Select Committee on Benghazi said that it is not investigating Clinton’s potential mishandling of classified data through her private, home-based email server.

The email from Jacob Sullivan tells Clinton that “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.” Clinton responds by ordering “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.” To remove classification headings from a classified document is usually treated as a very serious matter, though the level of the classification is not known.

Here is one of the pertinent provisions:

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.

It is important to note that we do not know if the document was in fact classified or, if so, at what level. We also do not know if the aide followed the instructions, stripped the headers, and sent the information on the unprotected server. The concern raised about the transmission and reference to the headers would support the view of some classification level. Notably, this law covers any information “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.”

At a minimum, the instructions raise a serious question of judgment in overriding such concerns about unsecure transmissions and circumventing protections for sensitive material. Having worked since the Reagan Administration with classified information, I remained floored by all of these allegations from the exclusive use of an unsecure personal server to this latest controversy of stripping headings and overriding security objections. I remain confused as to why this is even necessary for a high-ranking official who has a host of security officers who can supply classified material in proper form and under proper controls. I can understand (even if I strongly disagree with) the effect to retain control over communications by relying exclusively on a private server. However, stripping headers of classification markings (assuming that is what happened) would appear a case where simple convenience trumped national security protections for these officials.

Again, however, we will still need to see the classification level of the information to judge the gravity of the act. Telephone books can be classified as “confidential” even though information within the documents are public. What is surprising however is that such a high-ranking officials would send an email to strip markings rather than instruct aides to find an unclassified source.

What is equally perplexing is the expression of shock by Clinton that an aide was using a private email account despite her virtual exclusive use of a personal unsecure server. In another involving Jacob Sullivan, Clinton sends an email dated Feb. 27, 2011, expressing surprise that a State Department staffer was using a personal email account. The diplomatic officer named John Godfrey wrote a detailed summary of information about Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that was forwarded to Clinton. Clinton responds by asking for whom Godfrey works. “Us,” Sullivan writes back. Clinton replies: “Is he in NEA [Near Eastern Affairs] currently? Or was he in Embassy? I was surprised that he used personal email account if he is at State.”

In addition to the Sullivan emails, there is a rising controversy over a Sidney Blumenthal email that many believe was derived from classified sources, including the highly sensitive intelligence generated from the National Security Agency. At the time, Blumenthal held no government position even though he was actively advising Clinton on a host of issues.

hillary-e-mail2

102 thoughts on “Newly Released Email Shows Clinton Instructing Aide To Strip Header and Send Information Over Unsecured Lines After Objections Over Security

  1. Even Geraldo Rivera knows what a natural born citizen is.
    Geraldo: Trump Is Right Ted Cruz May Not be a Natural Born Citizen

    As usual our horrifically left brained ‘society overthinks this issue ad nauseaum. Picture this: An American man and an American woman conceive a child who is then born on American soil. It’s NATURAL as in NATURE m’kay? You know; natural? Oh never mind!

  2. I love the guy who does these reports.

    US And The Coalition Forces Are Pushing A New Plan To Derail Peace In Syria –

    French government introduces law to spy on all French citizens.

    Dutch voters do not want Ukraine in the EU.

    Western airstrikes have been hitting the Syrian infrastructure and it has cost the country billions.

    US Navy plans a long-term presence in the Mediterranean.

    Western news organizations pushing fake pictures and stories of starving children in Syria, blaming the Syrian government, more propaganda.

    Turkey is now using a false flag to push the agenda to invade Syria, they are saying ISIS is bringing the war to Turkey.

  3. It is obvious that Hillary Clinton is guilty. The classification of the emails make it worse, but is not necessary to document that a crime has been committed.

    ——
    18 USC 793 (f)(2):

    (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, … having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody … 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.
    —–

    The proper place of custody is not in her bathroom on a private email server. The proper place of custody is with the federal government.

    If a person took a piece of paper off her desk and took it home, that would be a criminal act. Yet she is allowed to bring all her emails to her home and keep custody of them, preventing the federal government from having access to them. The emails belong to the federal government, not to Hillary Clinton. How can people not see that this is a crime? The fact that some were classified makes it worse, but even if none of them were classified, then it is still a crime.

    • david, ALL her predecessors did the SAME THING! The law was only changed AFTER she had left office. GET REAL. I will agree when Rice and Powell are also tried FIRST.

      • randyjet,

        The government didn’t even have much to do with email when Colin Powell was in office. He purchased 44,000 computers that would have internet capability in order to modernize the government. Powell never maintained his own email server. He used both a government email address and a personal email address, and sometimes he sent a personal email to a government office. That is not the same as maintaining government emails offsite. It is like mailing a personal letter to a government office. Nothing is illegal with that. If you ask Powell to turn over emails, he has nothing to turn over.
        http://blogs.abcnews.com/Politics/week-transcript-secretary-state-colin-powell/story?id=29463658

        What makes Clinton’s actions a crime is that she was maintaining government property which by law is supposed to be maintained by the government. What she did is like loading up file cabinets from her office and taking them home. How far do you think she would make it through security if she tried to do that?

        Eight months after Clinton became Secretary of State, a rule was put into effect allowing for personal email use, but not a personal server. Here is how it is worded:

        “National Archives, Oct. 2, 2009: Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”
        http://www.factcheck.org/2015/09/more-spin-on-clinton-emails/

        So here is where Hillary Clinton made a mistake. Her records were not maintained by an appropriate agency recordkeeping system. They were maintained on an unsecured personal server offsite where the federal government did not have access to them. Imagine a FOIA request coming in for some information, or a subpoena from Congress for information — how could the government comply? It cannot comply because Hillary Clinton was in control of the emails, not the federal government. If an employee did this to any employer, it would be a crime.

  4. Thee are really two aspects to Clinton’s actions. The first has to do with the handling of emails and the claim that the requirement to use agency resources is a new one. The other aspect has to do with the handling, or actually the mis handling, of classified material.

    Mis handling classified material has been a crime for a long time – as Wen Ho Lee, former CIA Director Deutch, and Gen Patraeus can tell us. And if we any more convincing evidence, there are numerous low level civilian and military personnel who can tell us that leaving classified material out, unattended, transporting it to unsecured locations, or placing it on unsecured computer resources is frequently charged and punished.

    I am still curious when case law determined that emails are in fact agency documents that must be preserved. I believe there were cases in the early 1990s that made it clear agency emails require the protection afforded any other agency document. Surely some one reading this has access to LesixNexis, Westlaw or something similer.

    • bfm – just to make things more interesting, Clinton would have been assigned an email address at the State Department. So, there seems to have been some thought that went into this whole not opening things to the public.

  5. BFM, Let’s get real here.

    There is but ONE “aspect” to Clinton – she is now and has been for 35 years, a criminal.

    The only related question is whether the President and AG are going to be complicit – well, we already know the President is considering his gal Lois down at the IRS and the very cagy “it-was-an-anti-Muslim-video Susan Rice (O sure hid her down in the dungeon, huh?) – so it’s all about whether the AG is going to set out on a life of crime or take the high road.

    I presume you’ve read the following:

    A former U.S. Attorney predicts a Watergate-style showdown in the Department of Justice if Attorney General Loretta Lynch overrules a potential FBI recommendation to indict Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    “The [FBI] has so much information about criminal conduct by her and her staff that there is no way that they walk away from this,” Joseph diGenova, formerly the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney, told Laura Ingraham in a Tuesday radio interview. “They are going to make a recommendation that people be charged and then Loretta Lynch is going to have the decision of a lifetime.

    “I believe that the evidence that the FBI is compiling will be so compelling that, unless [Lynch] agrees to the charges, there will be a massive revolt inside the FBI, which she will not be able to survive as an attorney general. It will be like Watergate. It will be unbelievable.”

    P.S. Tonight that “Sicko,” Hillary called the parents of the Seals who died at Benghazi, liars. That is disgusting. Their unfortunate, brave, courageous children gave their lives for Hillary, the State Department and America. The Clintons – how low can you go?

  6. Jonathan, this post does not hold up well at all. FBI Director James demolished the idea that anything was amiss here. In fact, he said the explanation of this email that he heard from Clinton and many others was reasonable.

    You seem to ignorant of what is going on here, particularly as to what nonpaper is and you didn’t seem to investigate this before making your claims and buying into others hyped claims of wrongdoing. You claim there is something wrong “at minimum” when, in fact, Clinton was asked her aide to RESPECT the rules of classification. She was asked for the “TP” that is talking points. Talking points, by definiton are not classified. Neither is Nonpaper.

    Nonpaper is documents INTENDED TO BE SHARED with foreign governments. It’s adiplomatic term. She asked for NONclassified information, the talking points, to be removed from a document that contains both classified info and non classified information intended to be shared. That is, she is asking that the classified info be left on the SECURE system and the non classified infomation that they are going to share and discuss with other government be given to her on the NONsecure system. Nonpaper should never have classification headers, because it should never contain classified info.

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