WASHINGTON – It’s likely former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not complete a legally-required training course on how to identify classified information, Breitbart News has learned.
Numerous State Department employees under Clinton’s watch skipped the class even though doing so should have resulted in their suspension from the practice of classifying information at the State Department.
Therefore Clinton, whose claim that she did not send or receive classified information on her private email server has been thoroughly debunked, allowed her underlings to make determinations about what should or should not be classified even though they didn’t have the legal authority to do so.
President Obama created the training requirement himself in an executive order, which evidently was ignored by his own State Department.
“Persons who apply derivative classification markings shall receive training in the proper application of the derivative classification principles of the order, with an emphasis on avoiding over-classification, at least once every 2 years,” President Obama stated in his December 29, 2009 Executive Order 13526.
“Derivative classifiers who do not receive such training at least once every 2 years shall have their authority to apply derivative classification markings suspended until they have received such training,” Obama stated. “A waiver may be granted by the agency head, the deputy agency head, or the senior agency official if an individual is unable to receive such training due to unavoidable circumstances. Whenever a waiver is granted, the individual shall receive such training as soon as practicable.”
The requirement was then passed by Congress in the Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2010.
The State Department sent out a telegram in June 2010 and a notice in July 2010 informing employees about the new law and the existence of a forthcoming online course to meet the legal requirement. That course was called “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information: Identifying and Marking.”
The Department’s Office of Information Programs and Services introduced the online course on August 19, 2011 and also set up a live in-person class to teach all State Department employees about classification procedures.
The Department made clear in announcing the course that “Department employees with National Security Clearances should enroll.”
Tuition for the course was listed on an internal document as $55.
On September 6, 2012, the State Department sent out a telegram to employees reminding them that the course was mandatory and required by law.
But when the inspector general looked at 13 State Department employees who helped make classification markings on some documents, he found numerous errors and a lack of required training.
“Of those 13 employees, four employees stated that they had not received training on proper classification procedures and were unaware that such training was required,” the March 2013 report stated, noting that the nine other staffers had gotten some training from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
“However, none of the document classifiers OIG interviewed had taken the required FSI online training course Classified and Sensitive But Unclassified Information: Identifying and Marking (PK323) or attended an in-person classification briefing provided by A/GIS/IPS,” according to the report (p. 10).
“After learning of the appropriate classification standards, the preparer stated that she recognized that the telegram had been overclassified and acknowledged that she had not taken the PK323 online training,” the report stated, referring to an employee who made an error.
It turns out that government employee unions blocked the Department from promoting the mandatory nature of the online course.
“An official from A/GIS/IPS stated that an action memorandum to make the course mandatory had been prepared on August 8, 2011, for the Under Secretary for Management’s approval, but the memorandum was not advanced because the Director of Human Resources and the employee unions had not reviewed and approved the training,” the report stated.
Clinton’s probable failure to complete the course is evidenced by the State Department’s refusal to hand over documents showing that she took the class. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for those records in August and they still haven’t been turned over, forcing the nonprofit watchdog group to sue the agency.
“Did Hillary Clinton and her top aides bother to take the training legally required for the handling of classified information? The Obama State Department is illegally covering up the answer to this question,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “What training did Hillary Clinton take to allow her to make credible representations about classified information on her illicit email system?”
Ironically, Clinton’s campaign even cited “overclassification” as a problem at the State Department that was hurting Clinton during the email scandal.
Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon discussed “the point we are making about how entire agencies within the government can have competing views on what is sensitive and what is not. This is a window into the phenomenon of overclassification that is currently bottling up the review of former Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
Fallon did not mention that Clinton’s staffers were not given the proper training on the matter.
Breitbart News has reached out to the State Department for a definitive answer as to whether or not Clinton completed the course.