No current senior-level Department of State officials have completed the required classification training that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told the FBI she could not recall taking.
“When department employees and contractors are unaware of classification standards and no mechanism is in place to enforce training requirements, there is an increased risk that information could be incorrectly marked, misclassified, and/or improperly restricted or disseminated,” the State Department Office of Inspector General (IG) said in a new report.
A December 2009 executive order from President Barack Obama required employees and contractors with access to sensitive documents to undergo classification training at least every two years. State officials never created a method for tracking whether employees took the training. It isn’t suspending noncompliant employees’ classification authority as required, either.
Only one in five non-senior State Department employees with clearances have taken the required training, according to the IG. The classification training explains the different classification levels and how and when to use them.
Doug Welty, director of public affairs for the IG, said he couldn’t confirm whether current Secretary of State John Kerry also failed to take classification training because he can’t speak beyond what is in the report.
The IG couldn’t determine how many contractors took training because the State Department has no idea who those contractors are. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security couldn’t provide the IG with a full list of all current, security-cleared contractors.
Clinton, during her tenure at the State Department, sent and received hundreds of classified documents on the private email server she used instead of secured government channels.
Clinton told the FBI during its interview with her about the private email server she didn’t know that “C” stands for “classified.” (RELATED: Exclusive: Hillary Failed To Take Highest Security Training At State Department In 2009)
“Clinton was aware she was an original classification authority at State,” the FBI’s summary of its interview with Clinton said. “Clinton could not recall how often she used this authority or any training or guidance provided by State. Clinton could not give an example of how classification of a document was determined. Clinton said there was a process at State before she arrived and she relied on the career foreign service professionals she worked with to appropriately handle and mark classified information.”
Clinton’s behavior reflected a culture of “careless” conduct on classification, FBI Director James Comey said in July when he announced his decision to not recommend prosecuting Clinton.
The FBI, “developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government,” Comey said.
The IG recommended that State Department officials issue guidance to all offices to make sure they know all the requirements for classification training and to suspend classification authority for all noncompliant employees and contractors.
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