Hmmm... I need some classified documents right away but the secure fax isn't working just now. Hey! No problem. Just strip off the data security headings and send me the info via non-secure means. ...If I had been a normal government employee, I would probably be in a heap of legal trouble by now. However, if you are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the security rules don't apply to you...or so she apparently thinks.
Cliinton delivered her spin yesterday to John Dickerson on Face The Nation about why she told an aide to strip a security heading off a document so it could be sent to her without having to wait for the glitches on a secure fax machine to get worked out but the host didn't seem to be buying her excuses as we shall see. First let us look at the email exchanges between Hillary and her aide in which she demanded that the data be stripped of its classification marking:
Unlike Chris Matthews who acted like a purring kitten that justed wanted love from Hillary during a gushing softball interview, Dickerson maintained a healthy level of skepticism in the face of Hillary's desperate spin control.
JOHN DICKERSON: Your emails were released by the State Department. One of them is a back and forth between you and a staffer about a secure fax that won't come through and you directed him to quote turn into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send nonsecure. Aren't you ordering him to violate the laws on handling classified material there?
HILLARY CLINTON: No. Not at all. As the State Department said just this week, that did not happen and it never would have happened because that's just not the way I treated classified information. Headings are not classification notices and so oftentimes we try to get the best information we can and obviously what I'm asking for is whatever can be transmitted if it doesn't come though secure to be transmitted on the unclassified system. So, no, there is nothing to that like so much else that has been talked about in the last year.
It did not happen beause it never would have happened. Nothing to see here so move along while I babble my way past it until my coronation next year.
Unfortunately for Hillary, John Dickerson seemed not to be willing to assume the purring kitten mode which Chris Matthews eagerly embraced:
DICKERSON: What’s striking about that particular email is it suggests you were very facile with how to do this, this process. You knew the instructions for how to get around the restrictions for sending classified information. So you’re saying there’s never an instance, any other instance in which you did that?
Eeek! Off with his head! How dare he cast aspersions upon my integrity! Okay, okay. Time to babble my way out of this with a dismissive tone.
CLINTON: No. And it wasn’t sent. So I think this is another instance where what is common practice, namely, look, I need information, I had some points I had to make and I was waiting for a secure fax that could give me the whole picture, but often times there’s a lot of information that isn’t at all classified so whatever information can be appropriately transmitted unclassified often was – that’s true for every agency in the government and anyone who does business with the government. But the important point here is I had great confidence because I had worked with Jake Sullivan for years. He’s the most meticulous, careful person you could do business with, and he knew exactly what was and wasn’t appropriate and in fact as the State Department has said, there was no transmission of any classified information. So, it’s another effort by people looking for something to throw against the wall to see what sticks but there’s no “there” there.
See! There is no "there" there so that settles it. Or so it would have if the interviewer had been purring kitty Matthews but in the case of Dickerson, he fired back with this zinger.
DICKERSON: Well this one is a little different since the FBI is investigating this specific question of whether classification was meddled with.