FBI Investigating Hillary Clinton's Use of Private Email To Send and Receive Classified Information

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 8:20 AM
FBI Investigating Hillary Clinton's Use of Private Email To Send and Receive Classified Information

Last week the New York Times reported two Inspectors General recommended the Department of Justice look into the security of Hillary Clinton's private email server and asked it be determined whether she kept, sent or received classified information that could have been compromised by an outside source. 

Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.

The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management.

Now, the FBI is looking into it. From the Washington Post

The FBI has begun looking into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail setup, contacting in the past week a Denver-based technology firm that helped manage the unusual system, according to two government officials.

Also last week, the FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Ken­dall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state.

The inquiries by the FBI follow concerns from government officials that potentially hundreds of e-mails that passed through Clinton’s private server contained classified or sensitive information. At this point, the probe is preliminary and is focused on ensuring the proper handling of classified material.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, declined to comment on the FBI’s actions. He noted that Clinton has called repeatedly for the State Department to release her e-mails to the public, a process that is ongoing.

In a statement, Merrill said that Clinton “did not send nor receive any emails that were marked classified at the time. We want to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed as these emails are reviewed while not unduly delaying the release of her emails. We want that to happen as quickly and as transparently as possible.”

We learned earlier this week that Clinton did in fact store classified information from at least five different intelligence agencies on her private server, which by the way, is illegal. 

The classified emails stored on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server contained information from five U.S. intelligence agencies and included material related to the fatal 2012 Benghazi attacks, McClatchy has learned. Of the five classified emails, the one known to be connected to Benghazi was among 296 emails made public in May by the State Department. Intelligence community officials have determined it was improperly released. Revelations about the emails have put Clinton in the crosshairs of a broadening inquiry into whether she or her aides mishandled classified information when she used a private server set up at her New York home to conduct official State Department business. While campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton has repeatedly denied she ever sent or received classified information. Two inspectors general have indicated that five emails they have reviewed were not marked classified at the time they were stored on her private server but that the contents were in fact “secret.” … “Even if Secretary Clinton or her aides didn’t run afoul of any criminal provisions, the fact that classified information was identified within the emails is exactly why use of private emails ...is not supposed to be allowed,” said Bradley Moss, a Washington attorney who specializes in national security matters. “Both she and her team made a serious management mistake that no one should ever repeat.”

The Clinton campaign, and Hillary Clinton herself, have consistently argued Clinton is in the clear because she "didn't send or receive any information that was classified at the time." They make this argument to avoid legal issues with keeping classified information on an unsecure, non-government email server but fail to acknowledge how reckless the practice was. The information Clinton kept on a private server was sensitive enough to either be classified at the time or eventually classified. The information in question clearly should have been kept on a government server for national security purposes, classified or not. Clinton's deliberate decision to use personal email to conduct State Department business was extremely reckless and clearly shows Clinton's lack of regard for protecting highly sensitive information.

As a reminder, General David Petreaus was prosecuted and sentenced for keeping fewer than a dozen pages of classified information locked in a desk drawer at home. In April, he honorably plead guilty to mishandling classified information. If only Clinton would do the same. 

The upside to this whole thing is that the FBI, under the Department of Justice, is in fact investigating.