When Hillary Clinton's defenders claim that the top secret emails on her improper, unsecure server were "innocuous" in nature, one way they support this assertion is by suggesting that the highly classified material in question pertained to the US drone program, which they insist is a poorly-kept secret. This spin, aside from being legally irrelevant, is also untrue. We know that some of the classified emails dealt with North Korea's nuclear program, Iranian negotiations, and Pakistan's reaction to the Bin Laden raid. Intelligence officials familiar with the FBI's criminal investigation into Clinton's email scheme have told the media that some of the information she compromised also dealt with extremely sensitive operational and human intelligence, including the closely-guarded identities of CIA assets. Fox News' Catherine Herridge has new details this week about one of these email threads:
One of the classified email chains discovered on Hillary Clinton’s personal unsecured server discussed an Afghan national’s ties to the CIA and a report that he was on the agency’s payroll, a U.S. government official with knowledge of the document told Fox News. The discussion of a foreign national working with the U.S. government raises security implications – an executive order signed by President Obama said unauthorized disclosures are “presumed to cause damage to the national security." The U.S. government official said the Clinton email exchange, which referred to a New York Times report, was among 29 classified emails recently provided to congressional committees with specific clearances to review them. In that batch were 22 “top secret” exchanges deemed too damaging to national security to release. Confirmation that one of these exchanges concerned a reported CIA asset means the emails went beyond issues like the drone strike campaign. Democrats repeatedly have said some messages referred to this, reinforcing Clinton's position that the documents are over-classified.
She writes that the chain of messages was likely initiated by one of two New York Times stories reporting about Afghan nationals in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency. "Fox News was told the email chain included then-Secretary of State Clinton and then-special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and possibly others. The basic details of this email exchange were backed up to Fox News by a separate U.S. government source who was not authorized to speak on the record," Herridge reports, adding that her sources confirm statements from a member of the House Intelligence Committee who says Clinton's emails "do reveal classified methods. They do reveal classified sources and they do reveal human assets." The State Department has deemed dozens of Hillary emails so sensitive that they cannot be released in any form, even heavily redacted. The Obama-appointed and unanimously-confirmed intelligence community Inspector General revealed in January that some of Hillary's emails were classified beyond the level of top secret. Here is Herridge laying out the story with Gretchen Carlson:
Mrs. Clinton swore to do everything within her power to protect classified material, "marked and unmarked," upon assuming her role as America's top diplomat. She continued to exclusively use her unsecure server even after she was specifically warned that foreign hackers were targeting top US officials' private emails. When the existence of her rules-violating server was revealed last year, she claimed it contained "no classified material." In fact, it held at least 1,700 classified emails, ranging from "confidential" to "above top secret" -- not including the messages due for release on February 19, or any of the 32,000 emails she and her lawyers deleted without any oversight. The FBI's twice-expanded probe into the matter is ongoing.