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State Dodges Clinton Qs Again

- September 1, 2015

For The Second Consecutive Day, The State Department Refused To Answer Any Of The Many Questions Surrounding Clinton's Secret Server

DODGE #1: THE STATE DEPARTMENT WON'T SAY IF CLINTON'S SERVER WAS BREACHED

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The State Department Couldn't Answer If Clinton Server Was Breached. REPORTER: "Speaking of breaches is the State Department confident that nobody breached the Secretary's private server?" STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN MARK TONER: "Again, I don't have an answer for you on that, I don't know." ( State Department Press Briefing, 9/1/15)

DODGE #2: THE STATE DEPARTMENT WON'T SAY WHO - IF ANYONE - SIGNED OFF ON CLINTON'S SECRET SERVER

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The State Department Refused To Say Who Signed Off On Clinton's Secret Server. REPORTER: "The State Department signed off on Secretary Clinton having her own private email account and server?" TONER: "Sure, you know, my unsatisfactory but necessary answer to that is, you know, that's not our role in this process to really answer that question, publically. There are reviews and investigations under way that will look at possibly some of these issues is for other entities to speak to." REPORTER: "But do you know who signed off on her having a private server?" TONER: "Who signed off on her? I don't know. Again, I'm not going to answer that question, I'm not going to litigate that question from the podium." REPORTER: "So your saying that nobody signed off on her having a private server?" TONER: "No, I'm saying, look everyone, there were, people understood that she had a private server, I think we have talked about that in the past." REPORTER: "What level was that knowledge? How high up did that go up in this building?" TONER: "I mean, you know, you've seen from the emails, you have an understanding of the people who are communicating with her, at what level they were communicating at so." REPORTER: "Was there anybody in this building who was against the Secretary having her own private server?" TONER: "I can't answer that. I can't. I don't have the history, but I also don't have the authority to speak definitively to that. Again these are questions that are appropriate but are appropriate for other processes and reviews." REPORTER: "But not the State Department? She was the Secretary of State." TONER: "No, I understand what you are asking. But frankly it's perfectly plausible and I talked a little with Arshad about this yesterday, you know, for example we know that the State IG is at the Secretary's request is looking at the processes and how we can do better, and improve our processes and whether they'll look at these broader questions that's a question for them." ( State Department Press Briefing, 9/1/15)

In A Follow Up State Again Refused To Say Who - If Anyone - Signed Off On Clinton's Secret Server

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The State Department Again Refused To Say Who Signed Off On Clinton Server. REPORTER: "Last opportunity here. You don't know who signed off on Secretary Clinton having her own server." TONER: "Again, I don't personally, but I don't think it's necessary our responsibility to say that. I think that that's for other entities to look at." ( State Department Press Briefing, 9/1/15)

DODGE #3: THE STATE DEPARTMENT WON'T SAY IF THE SECRETARY OF STATE IS BOUND BY THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL

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The State Department Won't Say If The Secretary Of State Is Bound By The Foreign Affairs Manual . REPORTER: "I'm going to ask you to take on other question, it's a question that I asked the other day and I'd like to ask if the State Department will take a policy position on this, not with regard to Former Secretary Clinton, but with regard to current and past Secretaries of State. And that is, whether it is the view of the department, that the Secretary of State is bound by the rules laid out in the Foreign Affairs Manual?" TONER: "Ok. I mean I…" REPORTER: "As a general principle, do they apply to the Secretary of State, or not? Or do they apply selectively? That is the question." TONER: "Ok, I will get you an answer to that." (State Department Press Briefing, 9/1/15)

DODGE #4: THE STATE DEPARTMENT CAN'T EXPLAIN WHY EMAILS CONTAINING CLASSIFIED MATERIAL IN CLINTON'S SERVER WERE UNMARKED WHEN SENT

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The State Department Can't Explain Why Emails Containing Classified Material In Clinton's Server Were Unmarked When Sent. REPORTER: "On this topic of the now classified emails, which I believe totaled-with the addition of 125 yesterday-288-the simple question I have is why weren't those emails marked classified at the time they were sent?" MARK TONER: "Well…a couple points to make there. One is….just understanding what our role in this process is, which is that, you know, we're responding to a FOIA request to publically release these emails…" REPORTER: "I know. I know." TONER: "No no no, let me finish, then I'll try to answer your question, I promise. So that's where our attention is focused on, is looking at, and then upgrading these, before public release. Which is a common, frankly, thing, that we look at these, we redact where necessary, in light of the fact that they're going to be publically released. What we've said all along is we have not found anything that, you know, that was marked classified at the time, that it was sent…" REPORTER: "Right. But the question is, Mark, shouldn't it have been marked classified? Wasn't it-isn't it true that it was mishandled, because now you're calling it classified, and not because this is information that has changed over time, that is magically now sensitive that wasn't then. This information was mishandled, and should have been marked, or should not have been sent through unclassified systems. Is that an inaccurate statement?" TONER: "No, I reject that. Because, for a couple of reasons. One is, it is routine for us to look at this material. Again, in light of the fact that via a FOIA process it is going to be publically released, that this information is sensitive, and we don't want it to be publically released, so we're going to redact necessary portions. But we're only doing that now. In the sense that we can't go back in time and judge accurately what the conditions were, what the circumstances were of that information at the time it was shared with the secretary and make a judgment on that." REPORTER: "But wait a minute. But Isn't it true-isn't it true that when you, Mark Toner, use your unclassified email state department system as all these correspondence, all these 125 emails are basically based on unclassified, most of them-state department email systems, isn't it true that you're not supposed to be sending information that could at any point be deemed lassified? Whether it's the lowest level of confidential, or whatever. If you're going to be communicating that way you're supposed to use alternative, secure means. Isn't that true?" TONER: "I mean again, and we've talked about this a lot. And without getting into the specifics, but, you know, information that was shared at the time might years later be considered to be sensitive. And again, looking at it through the prism of we're ultimately going to release it publically, that does add an element to all of this." REPORTER: "Are you saying that the majority-and this is my last question-that the majority of these emails fall under that category of things that are-were just later deemed sensitive, that weren't sensitive at the time? Or isn't it true that they're just being classified now because you have to-because you're putting them on the website?" TONER: "So, a couple of things. One is, it's very difficult for us-and I've said this before-to go back and to judge what the circumstances were at the time this information was shared, and to make a judgment on whether that information was classified at the time. It's not a black and white issue. It's not a clear issue. We see nothing at this point in time, up till now, that would indicate that any of this information was marked classified at the time." REPORTER: "Well of course, but it would have been impossible to mark it classified at the time…" TONER: "Not necessarily…" REPORTER: "Using an unclassified system, it would have been impossible to property mark it classified." TONER: "But to the second part of your question, is, our role in this, as we have processed, or continue to process, this tranche of emails that we've received, we're looking at how this is-could be perceived now, upon public release. And that's been our focus here. How do we process these, and how do we ensure that any sensitive information-now-is redacted appropriately." REPORTER: "Do you think it's possible when all is said and done, and the FBI has had its look at it, and everybody else, whoever else is investigating this, that it could be determined that staffers within the state department are actually responsible for mishandling and sharing this information in ways they shouldn't have?" TONER: "Again, that's not for me to speak to from this podium today. Our role is to process this FOIA request. But you raise a valid point, which is that there are other investigations and reviews underway, and I would encourage you to speak to those entities to ask what they're looking at. But they well could be looking at some of these broader issues." ( State Department Press Briefing, 9/1/15)


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