Hillary Clinton has remained steadfast in her defense that “there is no classified material” on her secret server from her time at the State Department. And supporters keep trying to claim that none of those found thus far were marked classified at the time, a completely moot point from a legal perspective. She had, after all, signed a legally binding non-disclosure agreement that specifically defines classified material as “marked or unmarked classified information, including oral communications.”
Regardless, her defense went out the window when the Obama administration on Friday afternoon delivered a major blow to the Democrat presidential candidate, confirming 22 e-mails on her secret server contained “top secret” material.
Via the Associated Press:
The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s unsecured home server contained some of the U.S. government’s most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.
The State Department will release its next batch of emails from Clinton’s time as secretary of state later Friday.
But The Associated Press has learned seven email chains are being withheld in full because they contain information deemed to be “top secret.” The 37 pages include messages recently described by a key intelligence official as concerning so-called “special access programs” — a highly restricted subset of classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes or government eavesdropping.
The report indicates that the State Department is looking into whether or not the information was classified as such at the time. As we mentioned however, this is hardly relevant from a legal standpoint as evidenced by Clinton’s non-disclosure agreement.
The following is an exchange at the State Department press briefing which shreds that defense as well (emphasis mine):
REPORTER: “Over and over again you’ve said that nothing was marked classified at the time it was sent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean, correct me if I’m wrong that it shouldn’t have been or wasn’t. Isn’t that right?”
STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY: “That’s correct.”
REPORTER: “Just because something doesn’t have a label on it doesn’t mean that it isn’t what is.”
KIRBY: “That’s correct.”
REPORTER: “So, in fact it could be that this stuff, in addition to be retroactively upgraded to top secret was in fact top secret at the time it was sent.”
KIRBY: “Well I’m not going to speculate and hypothesize but as I said questions about classification at the time these emails were sent will be and are handled by the state department.”
America Rising Chairman Matt Rhoades issued a statement explaining that the State Department bombshell is merely confirmation of what was already known, that “Secretary Clinton recklessly transmitted classified material on her private email server.”
GOP Chairman Reince Priebus says that with the latest news “Hillary Clinton has removed all doubt that she cannot be trusted with the presidency.”
“Hillary Clinton’s attempt to skirt government transparency laws by relying exclusively on an unsecure email server in her basement put our national security and diplomatic efforts at risk,” Priebus said in a statement.
“Rather than tell the American people the truth, Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and her friends in the Obama Administration have obfuscated and misled at every available opportunity. If this isn’t disqualifying I don’t know what is.”
Priebus added, “Democrats will have to decide whether they really want to nominate a candidate who could face severe legal repercussions in the middle of the campaign and who has so brazenly violated the public trust with her reckless disregard for our national security.”
The initial investigation into her private e-mail server came about through the hard work of the Select Committee on Benghazi, though it’s important to note that it is the FBI that is investigating the mishandling of classified information in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, private server to conduct official U.S. government foreign policy.