Hillary: I Did Not Break the Law Handling Classified Material — ‘Headings Are Not Classification Notices’

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” while discussing  the latest round of released emails from her tenure as secretary of state, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said she did not break the law when instructing  Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff at the time to send her classified information by making sure there was “no identifying heading” and sending it through a non-secure channel.

Partial transcript as follows:

JOHN DICKERSON, “FACE THE NATION” HOST: This week another batch of emails were released by the State Department. One of them is back and forth between you and a staffer about a secure fax that won’t come through. You directed him to, quote, turn into non-paper with no identifying heading and send non-secure. Aren’t you ordering him to violate the laws on handling classified material there?

CLINTON: No, not at all. As the State Department said just this week, that did not happen. It never would have happened because that’s just not the way I treated classified information. Headings are not classification notices and so oftentimes we’re trying to get the best information we can. Obviously what I’m asking for is whatever can be transmitted, if it doesn’t come through secure to be transmitted on the unclassified system. No, there is nothing to that like so much else that has been talked about in the last year.

DICKERSON: What is striking about that particular email suggests you were very — how do this process you knew the instructions how to get around the restrictions for sending classified information. So you’re saying there was never any other instance which you did that?

CLINTON: No, and it wasn’t sent. I think this is another instance where what is common practice, namely I need information, I have points to make I was looking for secure fax that could give me the whole picture. Oftentimes there’s a lot of information that isn’t at all classified. Whatever information can appropriately transmitted unclassified often was. That’s true for every agency in the government and everybody does business with the government. But the important point here is, I had great confidence because I worked with Jake Sullivan for years. He is the most meticulous, careful person you could possibly do business with. and he knew exactly what was and wasn’t appropriate. In fact the State Department has said there was no transmission of any classified information. It’s another effort by people looking for something to throw against a wall, as you said in the beginning of the program to, see what sticks. But there’s no there there.

DICKERSON: This one is a little different since FBI is investigating this specific question of whether a classification was muddled with. Let me ask you about another email which you seem ex there’s surprise that somebody e-mailed on non-state department personal email. Which is what you were doing. Why was that a surprise to you?

CLINTON:  Well, I emailed two people on their government accounts because I knew that all of that would be part of the government system. Indeed the vast majority of all my emails are in the government system. That’s how I conducted the business. I was very clear about emailing anything having to do with business to people on their government accounts.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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