Sunday January 31, 2016
The email scandal deepened for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday with the announcement that the State Department will not release 22 emails because they contain “top secret” information, the highest level of government classification. The latest batch of emails contains seven email chain with top secret information. While Clinton once insisted that she never sent or received classified information, it is now official that many of the emails did indeed contain classified information. Clinton later argued that she did not send or receive information “marked” as classified.
While many of us in the field noted that such markings are not the only issue for those who handle classified information, the classification level given so many emails will likely increase the criticism of Clinton’s decision to use exclusively her own, unsecure email system over the protected system in place at State. She has insisted that this was done for “convenience” and recently rejected the suggestion that the use of the system showed “an error in judgment.” In the very least, the decision to use a private email system was a horrendously bad decision for a Secretary of State when a secure system was available. It is hardly a compelling argument to advance that you took this reckless step for “convenience.”
Additional emails between President Obama and Clinton were withheld to protect presidential communications, though the use of a private server made such communications vulnerable to foreign interception. Notably, the State Department said today that it has not been established that none of the email information was marked classified.