A “smoking gun” in the Clinton email saga? [UPDATED TWICE]

Ed Morrissey calls attention to seems like a “smoking gun” email in the batch of documents released by the State Department:

In a thread from June 2011, Hillary exchanges e-mails with Jake Sullivan, then her deputy chief of staff and now her campaign foreign-policy adviser, in which she impatiently waits for a set of talking points. When Sullivan tells her that the source is having trouble with the secure fax, Hillary. . .orders Sullivan to have the data stripped of its markings and sent through a non-secure channel.

Clinton told Sullivan, “If they can’t [fix the server], turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”

I’m not sure what “nonpaper” means in this context, but it certainly looks like Clinton is telling Sullivan that if the secure fax isn’t fixed, circumvent the rules on the handling of classified material by altering the document — i.e., removing its security markings. And clearly, she is instructing him to transmit by “nonsecure” means, material that is supposed to go through “the secure fax.”

Central to Hillary’s defense of her receipt of classified material on a non-secure system has been her claim that the documents in question lacked security markings at the time she received them. Yet, here she is ordering that such markings in effect be stripped before she receives a document.

It’s not yet clear whether Sullivan sent the document or whether, instead, the secure fax was fixed in time. Nor should it make a difference except when it comes to determining Sullivan’s culpability. Hillary’s order to Sullivan is what matters for purposes of determining hers.

Ed says: “That should be game, set, and match, yes?” Yes, it should be. But with the Clintons, somehow it never is.

UPDATE: Several readers inform me that in this context, “nonpaper” probably means an electronic transmission, via email, as opposed to a fax. In the electronic version, the classification markings would be removed. This explanation of what Hillary meant is logical and consistent with ordinary English usage.

According to a comment on Ace of Spades, in bureaucratic speak, nonpaper means a draft version of a memo or proposal that is intended to have some sort of informal or deniable status. But that usage doesn’t seem to fit the context here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader who recently left the State Department offers what looks like the most plausible explanation of “nonpaper” in this context:

In the State context, “nonpaper” has a very specific meaning, which makes sense here. Apparently, the original document consisted of “talking points,” essentially a script for a meeting with a foreign official. They were likely classified, although possibly only at the Confidential level. That’s not clear, but it would be why it was to be sent by classified fax. Since talking points for the Secretary of State would almost always be at least Confidential (I can think of some exceptions, such as a courtesy “Happy National Day” phone call, but Clinton classified even such routine matters within the Department to a far greater extent than any of her predecessors), they could not be sent in an unclassified e-mail or via an open fax.

A “nonpaper,” as the name implies, is a less formal document. It can be just general guidance for a meeting, or in other contexts a set of notes which can be left with the foreign interlocutor as an unofficial memo. What she seems to be saying here is to relabel the talkers as a nonpaper so it can also be sent as unclassified (or SBU — Sensitive But Unclassified — which has no legal meaning but alerts the recipient that it is not to be shared casually) in an unclassified e-mail.

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