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FBI Director Admits Hillary Clinton Emails Were Not Properly Marked Classified

Hillary Clinton‘s political and media critics jumped all over a key portion of FBI Director James Comey‘s lengthy statement on the investigation into email practices at the State Department in which Comey said that a “very small number” of emails sent or received by Secretary Clinton “bore markings indicating the presence of classified information” as evidence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied when she said she hadn’t sent or received material that was marked classified.

At a Congressional hearing Thursday morning, however, Comey admitted that the three emails to which he was referring were not, in fact, properly marked as classified, and that even a person with reasonable expertise in identifying classified material could make the “reasonable inference” that these emails were not classified:

Rep. Matt Cartwright: were these properly documented, were they properly marked according to the manual with the little “cs”?

FBI Director James Comey: no…There were three e-mails. Yhe “c” was in the body, in the text but there was no header on the e-mail or the text.

Rep. Matt Cartwright: So if Secretary Clinton really were an expert at what’s classified and what’s not classified, and were following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

FBI Director James Comey: That would be a reasonable inference.

The  “Marking Classified National Security Information” training manual requires that any document containing a parenthetical “portion marking” also contain markings as follows:

Identify the overall classification of the document. This will be equal to the highest classification level of any one portion found in the document. In this example, the highest classification is “Secret,” found in paragraph 2.
• Conspicuously place the overall classification at the top and bottom of the page.
• If the document contains more than one page, place the overall marking at the top and
bottom of the outside of the front cover, on the title page, on the first page, and on the
outside of the back cover (if any).
• Mark other internal pages either with the overall classification or with a marking
indicating the highest classification level of information contained on that page.

The emails to which Comey was referring, the only ones, did not contain any markings beyond those “portion markings,” which the State Department says were added in error anyway. Therefore, in addition to the absence of the header, Secretary Clinton could also have made the reasonable inference that the documents were not classified because their content was of a sort not normally classified, either.

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