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FBI Releases Summary of Clinton Email Probe, Interview

Image: FBI Releases Summary of Clinton Email Probe, Interview

By    |   Friday, 02 Sep 2016 01:38 PM

Hillary Clinton told the FBI she did not recall being trained on the proper handling of classified information before and during her tenure as secretary of state and said she "did not pay attention" to the various levels of classified material. In one instance, she questioned whether one classified email needed to be marked as such.

On Friday, the FBI released the report of its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email system, which concluded with an interview of Clinton herself on July 2. Nearly 2,100 emails were found to be classified.

During the interview, agents asked Clinton about several specific emails that were found to have contained information that was classified. Regarding one, which carried a subject line of "Call to President [Joyce] Banda," who was the president of Malawi from 2012-2014, and Clinton was asked about a classified portion marking contained in it.

"When asked what the parenthetical 'C' meant before a paragraph within the captioned email, Clinton stated she did not know and could only speculate it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order," the FBI report reads.

"Clinton could not say for sure if the parenthetical 'C' is used for portion marking classified documents. Clinton understood the top of the email is marked 'Confidential' and asked the interviewing agents if that was what 'C' referenced.

"When asked of her knowledge regarding Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential classification levels of U.S. government information, Clinton responded that she did not pay attention to the 'level' of classified information and took all classified information seriously. Clinton was not concerned the displayed email contained classified information. Clinton believed the email amounted to a 'condolence call' and questioned the classification level."

Clinton said she relied on the judgment of others at the State Department when it came to sending her information that could be classified on her unsecured, personal email server.

She also had no recollection of seeing any classified material on her email. She did say, however, that at least 100 people and perhaps even several 100 people knew her email address, which was on the clintonemail.com domain.

The private server was located in the basement of the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

"Clinton did not recall receiving any emails she thought should not be on an unclassified system," the FBI report reads. "She relied on State officials to use their judgment when emailing her and could not recall anyone raising concerns with her regarding the sensitivity of the information she received at her email address."

Clinton, who was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the FBI in July, has come under fire for her private email system over which several pieces of classified information were sent and received. She served as secretary of state in the Obama administration from 2009-2013.

Clinton told the two FBI agents who interviewed her she thought information should be classified when it discussed "covert military action, the use of sensitive sources, and where sensitive deliberations took place."

The report continued, "When asked whether Clinton believed information should be classified if its unauthorized release would cause damage to national security, she responded, 'yes, that is the understanding.' Clinton believed the classification level of future drone strikes depended on the context."

Many of the emails discovered on Clinton's server contained classified information pertaining to drone strikes.

FBI director James Comey said the government found no direct evidence that Clinton's private server was hacked but said foreign government hackers were so sophisticated — and the server would be such a high-value target — that it was unlikely they would leave evidence of a break-in. Clinton told the FBI she was unaware of specific details about the security, software or hardware used on her server and occasionally received odd-looking emails. But she told agents there were never so many suspicious emails to cause concerns.

She also said she had no conversations about using a private email server to avoid her obligations under the Federal Records Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Clinton told investigators that she directed her aides in early 2009 to create a private email account and that it was "a matter of convenience" for it to be moved onto a system maintained by her husband's staff.

In December 2014, Clinton's team handed over more than 30,000 emails it deemed work-related to the Department of State for its official records. An additional 30,000 plus emails were deemed personal in nature and were deleted from the server.

Clinton told the FBI she played no role in determining which emails were related to her work and which ones were personal. Several deleted emails have been recovered from that batch of deleted messages that were deemed to have classified, work-related content.

The FBI discovered Clinton used 11 different Blackberry devices to send and receive email on the clintonemail.com server during her time at the State Department. She used an additional two devices for email after she left the post.

None of the 13 Blackberry devices could be located for FBI analysis. Clinton aide Justin Cooper, who played a key role in setting up two email servers at the Clinton residence, told the FBI he remembers destroying at least two devices either with a hammer or by breaking them in half.

The FBI also identified five separate iPads Clinton "potentially" used for email during her tenure. Three of them were located and searched by bureau investigators, and only one contained emails from the clintonemail.com domain. The messages on it were not found to be classified.

Clinton's national press secretary Brian Fallon reacted to the FBI's findings: "While her use of a single email account was clearly a mistake and she has taken responsibility for it, these materials make clear why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Hillary Clinton told the FBI she did not recall being trained on the proper handling of classified information before and during her tenure as secretary of state and said she "did not pay attention" to the various levels of classified material.
clinton, fbi, email
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2016-38-02
Friday, 02 Sep 2016 01:38 PM
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