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Tipsheet

Flashback: Hillary's Own Words Blow Up Her New 'Classification Headings' Excuse

In her post this morning, Katie highlighted an exchange between a US military veteran and Hillary Clinton during Wednesday's Commander-in-Chief forum on NBC. (For a few sharp takes on how awfully both candidates performed, and why the Left is pillorying moderator Matt Lauer so mercilessly, click the links). The questioner challenged Clinton on a glaring national security double standard: If I'd done what you did with your emails, I'd have been "prosecuted and imprisoned," he said:

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In response, Clinton ran through a litany of excuses, some of which were flat-out lies. She asserted, for instance, that none of her emails were marked classified, even though some were. That's the whole reason she had to concoct the nonsensical story that she believed '(C) for confidential' was an effort at alphabetizing paragraphs -- which is preposterous, especially given this context. She wrapped up her answer by insisting that she did "exactly what I should have done," which is also false. But a prominent new element of her shifting email spin is a heightened focus on the absence of classification headers at the top of her emails as a key exculpatory factor. This is irrelevant, misleading, and stands in direct contradiction to a previous Clinton claim. First, those headers are used to underscore classification levels on emails sent through the official secure systems, which Hillary was knowingly and intentionally bypassing with the exclusive use of her private and unsecure server. Second, at the outset of her term at the State Department, Mrs. Clinton signed a binding nondisclosure agreement swearing to identify and protect all classified information, "marked or unmarked:"

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Perhaps Clinton can be cut some slack for not immediately recognizing low-level classified information as such, but she also sent and received messages that were secret, top secret, and above top secret from the moment of origination. A number of these emails remain so sensitive that the State Department refused to release them in any form, even with major redactions. "But there were no headers" is not a valid explanation for these egregious security lapses, particularly in light of her formally-acknowledged duty to safeguard unmarked secrets. But since she suddenly wants to fixate on headers, how's this for a relevant flashback?

When this instruction to a subordinate to ditch the "identifying heading" on an email and "send nonsecure" caused a problem for her in January, Hillary told CBS News it was no big deal because -- ta da! -- "headings are not classification notices."  Oops:

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This week, a core facet of her email scheme defense is that she didn't do anything wrong because none of her emails contained those telltale and crucial headings, which are the determinative form of classification notices.  But just a few months ago, she said those same headings didn't meaningfully pertain to classification.  An incoherent, entirely self-serving about face.  She cannot keep her own lies straight.

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