Politics & Policy

Clinton Acknowledged Penalties for ‘Negligent Handling’ of Classified Info in State Dept. Contract

A non-disclosure agreement signed by Hillary Clinton in January 2009 shows the incoming Secretary of State was well aware she could face criminal penalties for the “negligent handling” of sensitive information, raising questions about Clinton’s intent that could factor into her possible prosecution for sending classified material over an unsecured private e-mail server.

As first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Nondisclosure Agreement signed by Clinton the day after she took the job as State Department head reveals that she was specifically instructed not to place sensitive or classified material at risk.

“I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation,” she affirmed in the document. “I have been advised that any unauthorized disclosure of SCI by me may constitute violations of United States criminal laws,” and “nothing in the agreement constitutes a waiver by the United States of the right to prosecute me for any statutory violation.”

#share#Some national security experts claim Clinton violated the agreement in choosing to conduct government business exclusively through her private e-mail account. Hundreds of classified e-mails have been found on Clinton’s server — including two classified “Top Secret” and several found to be “born classified” — sparking worries that foreign governments could have breached the server and stolen its contents.

#related#The FBI is currently investigating the retention of classified information on Clinton’s server. If they find evidence that classified information was put at significant risk, they may recommend that the Justice Department pursue a criminal prosecution against the former secretary of state. National-security lawyers have said that decision may hinge on evidence of criminal intent — an indication that Clinton understood the law and violated it anyway. The nondisclosure agreement could thus be a crucial building block of any charges Clinton faces resulting from the FBI’s investigation.

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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