Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have instructed a United States envoy to send information obtained from foreign government officials, which is “born classified” under government rules, to her personal e-mail account.
The messages, which undermine Clinton’s claims that she did not knowingly receive classified information on the private, unsecured e-mail account she used to conduct all of her government business, were released by the State Department on Tuesday. “Here’s my personal e-mail,” Clinton writes in the subject of a July 25, 2010, message to former Senator George Mitchell, the special envoy for Middle East Peace. “Pls use this for reply.”
In the ensuing messages, Mitchell describes conversations that he had with “Moratinos” and “Frattini,” apparent references to then-Spanish foreign minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos and then-Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini. Sections of both messages are redacted and marked classified. The classification markings signify that the messages contain “foreign government information” and information about “foreign relations and confidential human sources,” according to a State Department classification guide issued in January of 2005.
#share#State Department officials insist that all classified information released in the latest batch of e-mails was classified retroactively, but the nature of these messages challenges that claim.
“It’s born classified,” J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) told Reuters last month. “If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession.”
#related#Independent government watchdogs investigating Clinton’s use of the e-mail server have disputed previous State Department claims that various e-mails were classified only retroactively. “These e-mails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to [intelligence community] classification officials, the information remains classified today,” State Department inspector general Steve Linick and Intelligence Community inspector general I. Charles McCullough said in a joint statement on July 24.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.