At the NBC News “Commander in Chief” forum on Wednesday night aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invented a new alibi for her mis-handling of classified information, telling host Matt Lauer that she used a secure server when she needed to send classified information.
In July, FBI director James Comey revealed that Clinton not only withheld and deleted work-related emails, but also sent classified emails — many marked as such — on her private, non-secure email server.
Clinton told Lauer on Wednesday evening:
I communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system. I took it very seriously. When I traveled, I went into one of those little tents that I’m sure you’ve seen around the world because we didn’t want there to be any potential for someone to have embedded a camera to try to see whatever it is that I was seeing that was designated, marked, and headed as classified.
In fact, the FBI report released last week confirmed that Clinton declined to use a state.gov email account, and defied her own department’s policy to use an “authorized information system” for official business. She had no computer in her office, which was a secure environment, nor did she use a computer inside the secured area in her homes. (In her FBIinterview, she said she could not recall receiving any advice about email policies.)
The report implies that the only time Clinton used a secure system for sending email was when she was traveling abroad — when State Department career staff, not her personal entourage, were responsible for setting up her communications.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a town hall forum Wednesday tried to assure voters that she was careful in her handling of classified information as secretary of state.
Clinton said, "I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously. Always have, always will."
Clinton was asked by a veteran during a "commander in chief forum" hosted by NBC how she could be trusted, given her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Clinton insisted she never used an insecure system to handle classified material designated and marked with clear headers.
She said that she "communicated about classified material on a wholly separate system" and "took it very seriously."
Clinton said none of the emails she sent or received had a header that clearly marked "top secret."
She noted that she has years of experience dealing with classified material dating back to her time as a senator. Classified material usually has a heading marked "top secret," she said.
She insisted that none of the messages sent or received on her private server had such a heading.
Clinton conceded that some of the messages included references to the covert drone program. But she said there was no discussion of "covert actions" that were being considered in the messages.
She also said there was no evidence her email server was hacked.