posted at 8:41 am on September 8, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
The FBI may have bought Hillary Clinton’s claim that a classification designator looked like an alphabetical ranking, but Fox’s Catherine Herridge reports that Congress hasn’t. In a report last night picked up by the Free Beacon, her sources point out that the “(C)” marker for CONFIDENTIAL wasn’t the only such designation in the e-mail threads in which Hillary participated:
“One of our contacts has reviewed the three emails that had classified markings and they told us that one of the emails has multiple classified marketings, the ‘C’ for confidential, which is the lowest level of classification, and then every other paragraph is marked with the code ‘SBU,’ which means ‘Sensitive But Unclassified’ and you never see these codes in the context of anything but classified information,” Herridge said. “And this really undercuts Clinton’s claim to the FBI that when she was asked about the ‘C’ she thought it was like an ‘ABC’ alphabetical listing. This does not jibe with those documents.”
That is one clear reason why the “alphabetical” explanation is clearly a lie, but it’s not the only reason. As I wrote yesterday in my column for The Week, that explanation wouldn’t hold water even for a newbie when it comes to classified material, but Hillary was no newbie:
Anyone who has handled classified material would know this to be utter nonsense. Paragraph markings appear in all classified material to note the specific classifications within the sections of each page, while the page itself bears a marking of the highest classification information within it. Even without that knowledge, though, Clinton’s explanation still makes no sense, because the alphabet doesn’t start with C. If she legitimately wanted to employ this imbecilic alphabet defense, the follow-up question is obvious: “How could you think this if there was no (A) and (B)?”
Clinton’s explanation of her ignorance tests credulity even further. “Clinton could not give an example of how classification of a document was determined,” agents wrote, “nor could she recall any training or guidance provided by State.” Had she gone from a lifetime in the private sector to becoming secretary of state, that explanation might hold up. However, not only did Clinton spend eight years in the White House in somewhat close proximity to sensitive material, she spent an equal amount of time in the U.S. Senate. In fact, Clinton spent six of those years on the Armed Services Committee, which routinely accesses highly classified material as part of the legislative branch’s duty to oversee the operations of the executive branch.
So … where exactly does (SBU) fall in alphabetical order? After or before (C)? As far as not recalling any training, her own signature belies Hillary’s attempts to claim ignorance:
On that point, the FBI had clear evidence of deception. In a non-disclosure agreement dated Jan. 22, 2009, Clinton attested to having received a “security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of classified information.” That signature explicitly made Clinton “legally bound” to that testimony. Did investigators challenge her statement, or follow up on the potential perjury or obstruction ramifications? Apparently not.
Herridge also notes that Congress has a growing curiosity as to why the FBI didn’t pursue obstruction of justice charges in another part of the e-mail scandal. The deletion of e-mails turned out to take place after Congress issued a preservation order to retain those records after the New York Times went public with Hillary’s secret server:
“Then within that first week, there was a preservation order and also a subpoena for all of Clinton’s emails from Congress,” Herridge added. “By the 9th of March, the IT firm Platte River Networks that was managing the server was notified they had to preserve the records.
“By the 25th of that month, there was a conference call with Clinton’s lawyers and then shortly after that, the records were deleted by Platte River Networks using that Bleach Bit technology. So what you can see here, at least is lining up with the timeline to suggest that there was a deliberate deletion of records when there was an order to preserve.”
And yet, James Comey keeps insisting that the FBI didn’t find anything actionable in its investigation. The only way that could possibly be true is if he wasn’t interested in finding anything from the very beginning.