During an interview on Face the Nation this weekend, Hillary Clinton stumbled on fresh questions about her treatment of classified information while Secretary of State.
Clinton’s latest controversy, which many have dubbed a ‘bombshell’ or ‘smoking gun,’ involves an email where she appeared to instruct a top aide to send secure information via unsecure means.
She struggled to explain the email instructing an aide to remove classified headings from a fax and “send nonsecure,” insisting it was “common practice and “there’s no there there.”
Watch the interview below …
CBS’S JOHN DICKERSON: “This week another batch of your emails were released by the State Department. One of them is a back-and-forth between you and a staffer about a secure fax that won’t come through and you directed him to ‘turn into non-paper with no identifying heading and send non-secure.’ Aren’t you ordering him to violate the laws on handling classified material there?”
CLINTON: “No, not at all, and as the State Department said just this week, that did not happen and it never would have happened because that’s just not the way I treated classified information. Headings are not classification notices and so often times were trying to get the best information we can and obviously what I’m asking for is whatever can be transmitted. If it doesn’t come through secure to be transmitted on the unclassified system. So no there is nothing to that like so much else that has been talked about in the last year.”
DICKERSON: “So in no instance — what’s striking about that particular email suggests you were very facile with how to do this, this process. You knew the instructions about how to get around the restrictions for sending classified information. So your saying there was never an instance, any other instance in which you did that?”
CLINTON: “No, and it wasn’t sent. So, I think, you know, this is another instance where what is common practice, namely look I need information, I had some points I had to make, and I was waiting for a secure fax that could give me the whole picture, but often times there is a lot of information that isn’t at all classified. So, whatever information can be appropriately transmitted unclassified often was, that’s true for every agency in the government and everybody who does business with the government. But the important point here is I had great confidence because I had worked with Jake Sullivan for years. He is the most meticulous, carful person you could possibly do business with and he knew exactly what was and wasn’t appropriate and in fact as the State Department said there was no transmission of any classified information. So, it’s another effort by people looking for something to throw against the wall, as you said in the beginning of the program, to see what sticks, but there’s no there there.”
DICKERSON: “Well, this one is a little different since the FBI is investigating this specific question of whether a classification was meddled with.”
Previously, the Associated Press reported that the State Department won’t say whether the document she instructed be sent “nonsecure” was classified or not. Or if it was appropriate for Clinton to instruct a staffer to remove email headings and send via a nonsecure system.
Was the document classified or unclassified? The State Department won’t say. And was Clinton wrong to instruct a senior aide to send it through nonsecure means, even if that request wasn’t fulfilled? The department says it isn’t making a judgment.”
RNC National Press Secretary Allison Moore issued a statement regarding the controversy and Clinton’s excuses during the Face the Nation interview:
“Hillary Clinton must be desperate if she is resorting to a ‘trust me’ defense when there is email evidence of her clearly instructing her staff to do the exact opposite of what she is now claiming. Add this to the long list of reasons the American people find her to be dishonest and untrustworthy.”
An official back in August alleged that somebody in Hillary’s inner-circle may have stripped classified markings from documents, something he said “constitute(s) a felony.”