August 21, 2015

Reuters Analysis: Clinton Should Have Known Which Emails Were Classified

A new report from Reuters shows that the State Department’s own rules made Secretary Clinton’s emails classified, regardless of whether they were labeled as such:

In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department’s own “Classified” stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information.’ The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.

This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be “presumed” classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters.

“It’s born classified,” said J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO).

In other words, based on the content of the email itself, Clinton—as chief U.S. diplomat—should have known what was classified and what was not.