Clinton Stressed Protecting State Dept.09/01 06:36
Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State Department were acutely
aware of the need to protect sensitive information when discussing
international affairs over email and other forms of unsecure electronic
communication, according to the latest batch of messages released by the agency
from Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton and her aides at the State
Department were acutely aware of the need to protect sensitive information when
discussing international affairs over email and other forms of unsecure
electronic communication, according to the latest batch of messages released by
the agency from Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.
The State Department made public roughly 7,121 pages of Clinton's emails
late Monday night, including 125 emails that were censored prior to their
release because they contain information now deemed classified. The vast
majority concerned mundane matters of daily life at any workplace: phone
messages, relays of schedules and forwards of news articles.
But in a few of the emails, Clinton and her aides noted the constraints of
discussing sensitive subjects when working outside of the government's secure
messaging systems --- and the need to protect such information.
Senior adviser Alec Ross, in a February 2010 email intended for Clinton,
cited frustration with "the boundaries of unclassified email" in a message
about an unspecified country, which Ross referred to as "the country we
discussed." The email appears to focus on civil unrest in Iran during the
period preceding the Green Movement, when Iranian protesters used social media
and the Internet to unsuccessfully challenge the re-election of then-President
In an exchange from Feb. 6, 2010, Clinton asks aide Huma Abedin for talking
points for a call she's about to have with the newly appointed foreign minister
of Ecuador. "You are congratulating him on becoming foreign minister, and
purpose is to establish a personal relationship with him," Abedin replied.
"Trying to get u call sheet, its classified...."
In another email from January 2010, Clinton aide Cheryl Mills responds
angrily to a New York Times story based on leaked classified cables sent by
Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. "The leaking of classified
material is a breach not only of trust, it is also a breach of the law," Mills
Clinton also expressed frustration with the State Department's treatment of
certain ordinary documents as classified. After an aide noted the draft of
innocuous remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was on the State
Department's classified messaging system, she responded, "It's a public
statement! Just email it."
Sent a moment later, the statement merely said that U.S. and British
officials would work together to promote peace. "Well that is certainly worthy
of being top secret," Clinton responded sarcastically.
All those email conversations with Clinton took place via her private email
account, highlighting the challenge the front-runner for the Democratic
presidential nomination faces as she struggles to explain her decision to set
up a private email server at her New York home. She now says her decision to
use a personal email account to conduct government business was a mistake.
Government employees are instructed not to paraphrase or repeat in any form
any classified material via unsecured email, which includes both the official
state.gov email system and the account Clinton ran on her private server.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday none of the information
censored in Monday's release was identified as classified when the emails were
sent or received by Clinton, noting the redactions were made subsequently and
only prior to the release of the emails under the Freedom of Information Act.
In total, the State Department has now released 13,269 pages of Clinton's
emails, more than 25 percent of the total that she turned over from her private
server, Toner said. Clinton provided the department some 30,000 pages of emails
she classified as work-related late last year, while deleting a similar amount
from her server because she said they were solely personal in nature.
Clinton's use of a private email may have also created logistical problems
communicating with State Department aides.
"Well its clearly a state vs outside email issue," wrote Abedin in August
2010, after another aide reported missing some messages from Clinton. "State
has been trying to figure it out. So lj is getting all your emazils cause she's
on her personal account too."
Despite approving the creation of a relatively complex email system in her
home, Clinton seemed puzzled by basic technology. In a July 2010 exchange,
Clinton quizzed former staffer Philippe Reines on how to charge the Apple
tablet and update an application.
Reines asks Clinton if she has a wireless Internet connection, and she
replies: "I don't know if I have wi-fi. How do I find out?"
A few of the messages released Monday hint at the ways Clinton's family was
involved in her work at the agency.
Following the devastating Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Clinton wrote
about her efforts to involve Bill Clinton in the disaster response. After an
unnamed party assumed that former President Clinton's preexisting role as a
United Nations envoy to Haiti would sideline him from the reconstruction
effort, Hillary stepped in.
"I just spent an extra hour explaining the architecture" of the relief
organizations, Clinton wrote. "Will fill wjc in on the plane." Bill Clinton,
who is often referred to by his initials "WJC," ended up as co-chairman of the
Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, a body with significant power over
An email from Chelsea Clinton, addressed to "Dad, Mom," offers a
densely-written, seven-page assessment of conditions on the ground in Haiti
based on her "data set and its clear limitations" after she took a four-day
trip to the devastated island. "Please do not forward this in whole or in part
attributed to me without asking me first," she writes to her parents, saying
she's "happy to be an invisible soldier."