News & Politics

Navy Vet Tells Hillary: I Would Be Imprisoned if I Handled Classified Material Like You Did

Wednesday night at the Commander-in-Chief Forum held by MSNBC, Hillary Clinton was questioned by a Navy veteran who took issue with the way she handled the classified material sent and received on her controversial home-brewed email server.

Lt. John Lester asked Clinton:

As a Naval flight officer I held the top secret sensitive compartmentalized information clearance. And that provided me access with materials and information highly sensitive to our war fighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information not following the prescribed protocols I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who are and were trusted with America’s most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security.

Clinton responded:

Well, I appreciate your concern, and also your experience, but let me try to make the distinctions that I think are important for me to answer your question. First, as I said to Matt, you know and I know, classified material is designated. It is marked. There is a header so that there is no dispute at all that what is being communicated to or from someone, who has that access, is marked classified. And what we have here is the use of an unclassified system by hundreds of people, in our government, to send information that was not marked. There were no headers. There was no statement, “top secret,” “secret,” or “confidential.” 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. So, I did exactly what I should have done, and I take it very seriously. always have, always will.