The Clinton aide in question is Patrick Kennedy, whose name may ring a bell. He's the State Department official who allegedly helped rig the agency's internal investigation into the Benghazi attacks by packing the "independent" review board (which never bothered to interview Hillary) with Clinton allies. He's also been identified as one of the State Department higher-ups who denied requests for increased security resources in advance of that terrorist massacre. He was one of the people specifically blamed by the Benghazi committee for failing to anticipate the grave risk of an attack. Kennedy was also mentioned in a recent report from Fox News' Catherine Herridge, which garnered the most attention for its revelation that two boxes of Clinton email evidence vanished during the FBI's investigation. But later in the story, it was reported that Kennedy had attempted to change classification statuses on a number of Hillary's emails, in order to shield them form public release. Via the FBI case files:
State Department witness also told the FBI there was a deliberate effort to change sensitive Clinton emails bearing the “B(1)” code -- used in the Freedom of Information Act review process to identify classified information -- to the category of “B-5.” That category covers Executive Branch deliberations, “interagency or intra-agency communications including attorney client privileges,” and makes material exempt from public release. Over five pages of the single-spaced summary notes, the witness, whose name is redacted, alleges Clinton’s team which included Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy played classification games to confuse and obfuscate the formal FOIA review process...In early May 2015, the witness reported, "… KENNEDY held a closed-door meeting with (redacted) and (redacted) DOJ's Office of Information Programs where KENNEDY pointedly asked (redacted) to change the FBI's classification determination regarding one of CLINTON's emails, which the FBI considered classified. The email was related to FBI counter-terrorism operations.”
And now, we have this:
BREAKING: Undersecretary of State Kennedy asked FBI to make 'classified' Clinton email 'unclassified' for a 'quid pro quo' - FBI documents— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) October 17, 2016
There's that name again: Patrick Kennedy. The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes broke this story over the weekend, in advance of the release of the documents that have since confirmed his reporting. This is how he summarized Kennedy's attempts to manipulate the classification process, apparently dangling a quid pro quo offer -- ultimately denied -- to influence the FBI's decision-making process:
A senior State Department official repeatedly pressed the FBI to change the classification of emails stored on Hillary Clinton's private server, according to FBI interview summaries set to be released in the coming days. Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management, discussed providing additional overseas slots for the FBI in exchange for revisions to classifications of the sensitive emails...Kennedy raised the possibility of keeping at least one Clinton email from public disclosure by obtaining a "B9" exemption under the Freedom of Information Act, a rarely used exemption that refers to "geological and geophysical information and data." One email in particular concerned Kennedy and, according to the FBI summary, providing a B9 exemption "would allow him to archive the document in the basement of the department of state never to be seen again." The FBI official told Kennedy that he would look into the email if Kennedy would authorize a pending request for additional FBI personnel in Iraq. A summary of an interview with the section chief of the FBI records management division provides further evidence of Kennedy's attempts to have the classification of some sensitive emails changed. The FBI records official, whose job includes making determinations on classification, told investigators that he was approached by his colleague in international operations after the initial discussion with Kennedy. The FBI records official says that his colleague "pressured" him to declassify an email "in exchange for a quid pro quo," according to the interview summary. "In exchange for making the email unclassified State would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden."
Hayes writes that this information was gleaned from 34 FBI interview summaries scheduled for release, while two additional reports -- known as 302's -- are "being withheld because they contain information classified at the Top Secret/SAP level." Lo and behold, the now-released documents themselves bear out exactly what Hayes reported:
State realized that the sensitivity of multiple Clinton emails would destroy her "no classified material" lie -- which did, in fact, go down in flames. But in an effort to tip the scales beyond public scrutiny, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy tried to barter an and cajole his way to pressuring the FBI to change classification determinations after the fact. How else did powerful Clinton allies attempt to influence the criminal probe behind the scenes? Did they ever succeed? In his Saturday piece, Hayes also reports that Mrs. Clinton refused to comply with data security rules while she was at the State Department: "Clinton diplomatic security officials told the FBI they were frustrated by Clinton's unwillingness to abide by rules forbidding electronic equipment in 'Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities' or SCIFs. Clinton routinely brought her Blackberry and other electronic devices into the secure facilities despite prohibitions against doing so." The FBI's files back this up. This confirms what we already knew -- namely, that Hillary was specifically warned of her reckless conduct, yet she continued to engage in it anyway. Clinton's disregard for SCIF security protocols has been well established at this point. Despite all of this information, plus previously-released evidence, and numerous "false exculpatory statements," James Comey claims he could not prove intent on Mrs. Clinton's part, and therefore could not recommend criminal charges. A vast majority of agents and lawyers assigned to the case reportedly disagreed with this decision. I'll leave you with one more nugget about...that man again, Patrick Kennedy:
Kennedy, Sr State Dep official who sought FBI reclassification of HRC emails, also recommended State hire HRC aide who set up private server— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) October 17, 2016
Kennedy "oversaw the hiring" of Bryan Pagliano, who reported directly to Kennedy. If Comey hasn't already granted Mr. Kennedy blanket immunity, he might want to consider doing so. We wouldn't want anyone to be held accountable for anything, now would we?