On June 16, 2011, Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, was having trouble sending his boss a list of talking points that contained sensitive — and possibly classified — information. Sullivan told Clinton there were issues “sending secure fax,” an email released by the State Department early Friday shows.
So Clinton offered a shocking solution: remove the markings identifying the information as sensitive and send it by regular fax.
“Turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure,” Clinton instructed Sullivan.
Clinton has been criticized heavily for sending and receiving classified information on her personal email account, which did not have the same level of protection as the State Department’s communications systems. (VIDEO: Cyber Expert: Hillary’s Server Was A Huge Security Risk)
The State Department has retroactively classified information in more than 1,300 Clinton emails. And the Intelligence Community inspector general has found two emails that contained classified information that was classified at the time it was originated. But the Democratic presidential candidate has denied any wrongdoing by asserting that any classified information she did send or receive was not “marked” classified when created.
It is possible that the talking points Sullivan intended to send Clinton did not contain classified information. A document being sent via a secure method does not necessarily indicate that information contained in it is classified. But Clinton hadn’t seen the talking points at that point, and likely would not have known whether they contained classified information.
By instructing Sullivan to remove markings noting the sensitive nature of the talking points, Clinton appears to have invited her aide to violate the the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual, and possibly, federal law.
That document states that the “unauthorized reproduction of classified material will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.”
“Reproduced copies of classified documents are subject to the same accountability and controls as the original,” it continues.
The legality of Clinton’s command would likely depend on whether Sullivan followed through with his boss’ instruction. A State Department official told The Daily Caller that there is no indication that the stripped talking points were emailed to Clinton.
The official also declined to “speculate” on whether the talking points contained classified information.
“For questions about thought process or personal decision making, we would direct you to former Secretary Clinton’s staff,” the official said, adding that “the Department takes the protection of sensitive information seriously.”
But the email is troubling because it is the first to show Clinton displaying her willingness to skirt State Department protocol — and federal law, potentially — regarding the handling of sensitive information on her persona email account.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment.