Hillary Clinton was finally asked on Sunday about a non-disclosure agreement she signed in Jan. 2009 which completely undermines the defense she uses to downplay the existence of classified information on her private email server. But as is often the case with the Democratic presidential candidate, she dodged the question and gave an inconsistent answer.
“You know, you’ve said many times that the emails were not marked classified,” said ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.
“But the non-disclosure agreement you signed as secretary of state said that that really is not that relevant,” he continued.
He was referring to the “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement” — or Standard Form 312 — that Clinton signed on Jan. 22, 2009, a day after taking over as secretary of state. (RELATED: Document Completely Undermines Hillary’s Classified Email Defense)
“It says classified information is marked or unmarked classified and that all of your training to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference,” said Stephanopoulos, describing the document.
Clinton responded to Stephanopoulos but did not address the meat of his question. In fact, she appeared to reject the language of the SF-312, saying that “there has to be some markings” on classified information.
“I take classified information very seriously,” Clinton said. “You know, you can’t get information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system, no matter what that system is.”
“We were very specific about that and you — when you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain had thought that this was classified and that was not the case.”
However, as the SF-312 makes clear, classified information does not have to be marked as such in order to require being handled as classified information. The document applies not just to physical documents and emails but also to oral communications.
Clinton revised her defense of the classified information on several occasions, as federal agencies release more damaging information about her home-brew email system.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified materials,” she said in March, when news of her personal email account and server first broke.
In July, after the State Department began retroactively classifying many of Clinton’s emails, she revised her claim saying that she was “confident” that she “never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent or received.”
Days later, she changed her tune again, adopting the now-familiar claim that she did not send or receive information that was “marked” as such. That was after it was reported that the Intelligence Community’s inspector general had found highly classified emails which were classified when originated.
Clinton’s statement to Stephanopoulos about the inability to transfer “information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system” also fails to hold water.
Earlier this week, Fox News reported on a 2013 video showing Wendy Sherman, who served as Clinton’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, discussing how State Department officials often used Blackberries during overseas negotiations to send and receive information that “would never be on an unclassified system.” (RELATED: Video Indicates Hillary Used Her Blackberry To Send Emails That ‘Would Never Be On An Unclassified System)