Despite Hillary Clinton’s claims of never having transmitted classified information using her private email server, new revelations Friday showed that some of that information was actually classified from the start, regardless of any designation marking it as such.
The former Secretary of State has offered little information to press inquiries about her use of the private server, but such stonewalling does not seem to be having an effect as investigators dive deeper into the case.
From emails that have been made public, 30 threads of correspondence from 2009 have already been found to be part of this “presumed classified” group.
Former director of U.S. Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), J. William Leonard, stated, “It’s born classified… If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession.”
The government’s standard non-disclosure agreement warns that classified information may not be marked that way, and may be oral.
In a telling response that may illustrate her ignorance of the rule quoted by Leonard, Clinton has moved from her original position of having never sent classified information to stating, “I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified.”
Yet ignorance will probably not form an effective defense for a cabinet level official, especially on an issue fundamental to her performance of that role.
The FBI’s investigation of the issue is ongoing and they recently obtained Clinton’s server from Platte River Networks, which had been in possession of it since 2013.
The server was said by Clinton to be “wiped clean,” leaving the FBI to perform retrieval efforts on what data that may still remain. The agency is also looking for a backup server which has not been turned over and could contain copies of Clinton’s messages.
Whether or not the investigation results in Clinton’s guilt may not matter. With every press conference she holds where the issue is brought up, her evasive behavior only serves to damage her credibility as a candidate.