Skip to content

Get Judicial Watch Updates!

DONATE

Judicial Watch • Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Records of Hillary Clinton’s Training on Handling Classified Information

Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Records of Hillary Clinton’s Training on Handling Classified Information

Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Records of Hillary Clinton’s Training on Handling Classified Information

OCTOBER 29, 2015

Federal law requires that “Department of State employees with original or derivative classification authority for national security information must complete training on proper classification marking”

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on October 16, 2015, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State to obtain records about Hillary Clinton’s training on “making and marking” classified information.  The lawsuit also seeks similar records for Clinton’s top State Department aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-01696)).

President Obama issued an Executive Order in 2009 requiring all employees with “original” or “derivative” classification capability to take mandatory training. The requirement became federal law in 2010.  The State Department subsequently created a course, “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information:  Making and Marking,” to satisfy that requirement.  Those employees with “original classification authority” who fail to take the course each year are supposed to have their classification authority suspended.  State Department employees also are routinely denied access to classified and unclassified networks and systems for failure to complete this required training, according to Judicial Watch’s investigation.

The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to comply with two separate FOIA requests for information on the required classified training by Clinton, Mills, Abedin, and other covered State Department officials.  Both requests were submitted on August 18, 2015. The first request sought:

  • Records related to lists of employees required to complete the Foreign Service Institute course “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information: Identifying and Marking” (PK323) either annually or biannually provided to A/GIS/IPS by the Office of the Secretary of State; and
  • Records regarding reports of employees whose classification authority was suspended due to failure to complete FSI course PK323 as required provided to A/GIS/IPS by the Office of the Secretary of State.

The second August 18 Judicial Watch FOIA request sought:

  • Records concerning the successful completion of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Course PK323, “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information: Identification and Marking,” by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Such records include, but are not limited to, any records identifying the training requirements for former Secretary Clinton, any reports from FSI indicating the completion of the course by former Secretary Clinton, and any transcripts or certificate of completion for PK323 provided by former Secretary Clinton to the designated bureau training official in the Office of the Secretary of State;
  • Records regarding the successful completion of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Course PK323, “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information: Identification and Marking,” by Huma Abedin. Such records include, but are not limited to, any records identifying the training requirements for Ms. Abedin, any reports from FSI indicating the completion of the course by Ms. Abedin, and any transcripts or certificate of completion for PK323 provided by Ms. Abedin to the designated bureau training official in the Office of the Secretary of State;
  • Records of the successful completion of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Course PK323, “Classified and Sensitive but Unclassified Information: Identification and Marking,” by Cheryl Mills. Such records include, but are not limited to, any records identifying the training requirements for Ms. Mills, any reports from FSI indicating the completion of the course by Ms. Mills, and any transcripts or certificate of completion for PK323 provided by Ms. Mills to the designated bureau training official in the Office of the Secretary of State.

On December 29, 2009, President Obama made the classified information training mandatory with “Executive Order 13526 – Classified National Security Information”:

All original classification authorities must receive training in proper classification (including the avoidance of over-classification) and declassification as provided in this order and its implementing directives at least once a calendar year.  Such training must include instruction on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the sanctions in section 5.5 of this order that may be brought against an individual who fails to classify information properly or protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure.  Original classification authorities who do not receive such mandatory training at least once within a calendar year shall have their classification authority suspended by the agency head or the senior agency official designated under section 5.4(d) of this order until such training has taken place.

In October 2010, the training became a federal law under the “Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-258)”. According to the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual:

The training is mandatory: [Emphasis added]

On an annual basis for all employees who have original classification authority; and

On a biennial basis for all employees who classify information by using information already classified by another source or who classify based on a classification guide (derivative classification). Any employee with a security clearance may make a derivative classification decision.

“Did Hillary Clinton and her top aides bother to take the training legally required for the handling of classified information?  The Obama State Department is illegally covering up the answer to this question,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “What training did Hillary Clinton take to allow her to make credible representations about classified information on her illicit email system?”

###


Read more about