The State Department waited until the middle of the night to execute its belated, court-ordered release of the latest tranche of Hillary Clinton's emails -- the ones she and her attorneys didn't unilaterally delete with no oversight, that is. Fox News notices a significant exchange that may point to criminal conduct:
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:
One wonders how many other emails and memos were improperly wiped clean of classified markings for the purposes of convenience, or what have you. You may recall allegations published last year that this may have been a more routine practice:
Flashback: State Dept official alleges Hillary's "inner circle" may have stripped classification markings, a crime: https://t.co/jYdsVwHdsj— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 8, 2016
That would "constitute a felony," the source said. Hillary's entire defense for sending and receiving hundreds upon hundreds of classified emails through unsecure means is that nothing was marked classified, so she didn't really know what was happening. That's a bogus and unacceptable explanation in the first place, yet here we have her explicitly asking that a document that was marked classified be un-marked as such and sent anyway.
(4) One last puzzle piece, via Lachlan Markay:
Clinton was apparently impressed with Sid Blumenthal's Egypt intel pic.twitter.com/bsl0fDUsgc— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) January 8, 2016
Remember, Blumenthal was Hillary's off-the-books intel-gatherer who was paid by the Clinton Foundation. The Obama administration had barred him from official work due to his notoriously checkered ethics. He fed Hillary all sorts of information, including intelligence from Libya -- some of which was clearly designed to enhance his personal financial interests. Hillary encouraged and solicited his emails (something she later denied), and occasionally kicked his information up the chain...after scrubbing his name from the missives. It was through Blumenthal's hacked personal emails that we discovered that Hillary had unilaterally deleted work-related content from her private email server, which she swore she hadn't done. (More evidence that she lied about this is here). Confronted with his evidence, she attempted to massively shift the goalposts of what counts as "work-related," insisting that Blumenthal was just an old friend whose correspondence was personal in nature. But here we have more evidence of Blumenthal acting as a high-level diplomatic informant, this time on matters related to Egypt. And Hillary quite obviously takes the material seriously, passing it along to other State Department officials for further discussion. This is the veritable definition of work-related material. Everything -- everything -- Hillary Clinton has said about her improper email scheme is a lie. What else does the FBI know that the public still does not?
UPDATES - Here's the State Department's slippery explanation:
They have no information "at this time" that this material ended up being emailed to her. Question: Why wouldn't it have been? More than 1,000 other classified emails were sent to her, including secret and top secret material. She wasn't remotely cautious about this stuff, even though it was her sworn duty to be cautious about his stuff. Plus, this State Department official says, the definition of "non-paper" (which I examine a bit here) is "colloquial" and capacious -- so who can really say what she meant, exactly? The official won't speculate as to whether the talking points in question were classified, as some non-classified material is also stored and disseminated securely. If that's the case here, why would Hillary request that the "identifying heading" be removed prior to being sent "nonsecure"? Once again, the cavalier manner in which she habitually treated classified material is highly relevant. According to Fox's report, the talking points have since been redacted. The subject of those talking points has also been redacted by the State Department, citing the "deliberative process" exemption to FOIA requests. The intelligence community is starting to weigh in:
Former senior Intel official on new HRC email: "Bombshell."— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) January 8, 2016
Oh look, a Federal crime! https://t.co/XeCJuDXKfA— John Schindler (@20committee) January 8, 2016
And some additional important context:
Hillary's email openly trafficked in confidential intelligence identities that are classified for 20 years. https://t.co/K7TXMPj8b0— Cuffy (@CuffyMeh) January 8, 2016
And finally, this email exchange seems to blow a hole through Hillary's luddite grandma / "like, with a cloth?" routine:
1. I'm just a little granny who can't handle two cell phones at once! 2.Turn into nonpaper w/no identifying heading and send nonsecure— John Hayward (@Doc_0) January 8, 2016