State Dept. official: Looks like someone in Hillary's inner circle stripped classifications from e-mails

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Thursday August 13th, 2015

That's a felony.

Hillary's people have for some time now been riding this classic Clinton line with respect to classified information moving through her completely insecure homebrew e-mail server. She didn't send or receive any e-mails that were marked classified at the time.

I'm having a flashback: It depends what the meaning of the word is is. If is means isn't now and never was, then . . .

But remember, that's Bill. He's the guy who can steal your clothes and still sell you a cleaning ticket. Hillary is nowhere near as good at lying, which is funny because she doesn't seem capable of making a truthful statement about anything. So when they tell you none of the e-mails were "marked classified at the time," your first thought (or at least mine) is this: Do they regularly send around e-mails containing sensitive information and only after the fact decide to mark them classified? I'm in no way an expert here but just from a common sense perspective, that strikes me as a strange way of dealing with highly sensitive information.

Then again, maybe they weren't "marked classified at the time" because someone illegally removed the classification marking in order to give Hillary plausible deniability. That's what a Fox News source within the State Department thinks:

The latest revelations about top secret information traversing Hillary Clinton's private email server have triggered accusations that someone in her "inner circle" likely stripped the classification markings, illegally. 

The claims come after the Clinton campaign stuck to the argument that the Democratic presidential candidate, while secretary of state, never dealt with emails that were "marked" classified at the time. 

"Hillary only used her personal account for unclassified email. No information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them," campaign Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement to supporters Wednesday. 

But a State Department official told Fox News that the intelligence community inspector general, who raised the most recent concerns about Clinton's emails, made clear that at least one of those messages contained information that only could have come from the intelligence community. 

"If so, they would have had to come in with all the appropriate classification markings," the official said. 

The official questioned whether someone, then, tampered with that message. "[S]omewhere between the point they came into the building and the time they reached HRC's server, someone would have had to strip the classification markings from that information before it was transmitted to HRC's personal email.

"The official said doing so would "constitute a felony, in and of itself. I can't imagine that a rank-and-file career DOS employee would have done this, so it was most likely done by someone in her inner circle." 

Here's the part I'm having trouble with: If I'm following the source's theory, someone in Hillary's inner circle knew back then that Hillary could get in trouble if she dealt with classified information on her private server. But since she was Secretary of State and obviously had to be privy to certain pieces of information, you couldn't very well leave her out of the e-mail loop. So he or she chose not to go to her and say, "Look, Madame Secretary, we've got to set you up with a state.gov e-mail account so you're within the law when we send you classified information." No, instead of doing that, this person took it upon himself or herself to strip the e-mails of the classification marking, thus creating the opportunity to claim - however disingenuously - "It wasn't marked classified when Hillary got it!"

Why would you do the latter instead of the former? The only reason I can think of is this: Lots of people in Hillary's inner circle knew she should have been using the government server, but they also knew that she would not hear of it and it was one of those subjects you don't bring up with the boss because . . . yeah, that's not going to go well for you. So in an attempt to create some sort of legal protection for her, however flimsy, someone came up with this dumbass idea of removing the classification markings before any of the e-mails reached Hillary's account.

The problem with the theory? From an IT perspective, I'm not even sure how you would do that. Of course, I don't use the government's e-mail server, so I'm not familiar with how they mark or unmark items classified. But how could one person be able to filter all of one recipient's e-mails? Then again, the source is apparently inside State, so maybe he knows something I don't.

One thing I'm sure is not in dispute: If it's dishonest and possibly illegal, Hillary's inner circle would do it if they could.

Dan just served as editor of a fantastic book by Katherine Jeffries about a secret vigilante organization. It's called Stranglehold and you can download it here. Dan's Royal Oak Series of spiritual thrillers is available here. Follow all of Dan's work by liking his page on Facebook.