Hillary Clinton has claimed time after time that she neither sent nor received information on her private email server that was marked classified at the time of transmittal. As recently as Wednesday, she told Bret Baier, “the fact is, nothing that I sent or received was marked classified, and nothing has been demonstrated to contradict that.”
This claim, as we and others have said time after time, is no defense. A document need not be marked classified to be classified or, more to the point, to be encompassed by the terms of the Espionage Act.
In any event, Fox News has now shown that Clinton’s “not marked classified” assertion is false. Reporters Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne cite a 2012 email released by the State Department that carries a classified code known as a “portion marking” that was on the email when it was sent directly to Clinton’s account.
The document pertains to an April 2012 phone call with Malawi’s first female president, Joyce Banda, who took power after the death of President Mutharika in 2012. It reads:
(C) Purpose of Call: to offer condolences on the passing of President Mukharika and congratulate President Banda on her recent swearing in.
According to Herridge and Browne, the “(C)” means the document was marked classified at the confidential level.
Everything after the text quoted above was redacted before being publicly released by the State Department. The redaction confirms that the information is classified, presumably because it reveals sensitive government deliberations.
The April 2012 document apparently is not the only Clinton email that was marked classified when she sent or received it. A U.S. government source tells Fox News that there are others.
The existence of such documents undercuts Clinton’s primary “defense” of her email practices. Although the defense is bogus, it may contain enough superficial appeal to have taken hold.
Thus, the demise of the factual predicate of the defense might affect public opinion in two ways: by causing the defense to collapse and by once again demonstrating that Clinton isn’t truthful.
Asked by Fox News Asked how Clinton campaign can reconcile the classified marking with Clinton’s public statements, spokesman Brian Fallon had no answer. Instead, he relied on a different defense — that the State Department classifies too many document:
This email was just a request for Secretary Clinton to make a phone call to express condolences over the passing of the President of Malawi. The fact that this email was classified after the fact suggests again that agencies in the government tend to err on the side of classifying even routine matters of diplomacy.
Fallon may well be right that the government errs on the side of classifying documents. But the redaction of material in this documents shows that it was more than just a request for Clinton to make a phone call offering condolences.
Anyway, government over-classification is no excuse for ignoring classification markings and then lying about it.