The latest batch of emails released from Hillary Clinton’s personal account from her tenure as secretary of state includes 66 messages deemed classified at some level, the State Department said early Friday. In one email, Clinton even seemed to coach a top adviser on how to send secure information outside secure channels. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has repeatedly maintained that she did not send or receive classified material on her personal account. The State Department claims none of the emails now marked classified were labled as such at the time they were sent. 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.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the least serious revelation, and work our way up: (1) Hillary evinced surprise that a State Department underling had used his personal account to send an official email. How rich. Yes, the State Department had explicitly instructed employees to follow the rules and only use secure means to disseminate official information. State sanctioned at least one top diplomat for disregarding those rules. Mrs. Clinton may have been especially “surprised” at Godfrey’s actions because they came after she’d been issued a dire warning that foreign entities were aggressively targeting State Department officials’ personal, unsecure email accounts. But lest you need reminding, Hillary Clinton exclusively used such accounts to conduct all of her official business — via an improper, unsecure, private server — before and after this urgent red flag was brought to her attention.
(2) “Clinton…has repeatedly maintained that she did not send or receive classified material on her personal account.” This assertion has been disproven by the more than 1,000 classified emails discovered on her private server, including 66 additions from this batch alone. Her myriad excuses for this have been debunked piece by piece.
(3) Her final justification — which is legally irrelevant, as Hillary herself has personally attested — is that none of the sensitive material that she wrongfully transmitted through her unsecure server was “marked classified” at the time. Again, this is meaningless, especially when it comes to highly secret material that she was obligated to recognize and protect as soon as it was produced. But the email chain referenced above includes an instruction from Hillary Clinton to a State Department aide (who now works on her campaign) to strip classified information — it remains redacted to this day — of its classified markings [“identifying heading”] and “send nonsecure.” Ed Morrissey, who posts a screen shot of the exchange, reviews the relevant criminal statute and thinks this looks like a smoking gun: