The State Department and the intelligence community are now reviewing 305 emails sent or received by Hillary Clinton to determine whether they contain classified information, potentially deepening concerns over the former secretary of state's handing of sensitive information.
The examination identified the 305 emails from among 6,100 of her emails from a personal account and routed through the private server in her New York house, according to a document filed by the State Department in response to a lawsuit about the emails Monday.
“It doesn't mean that all 300 are going to end up at some level of upgrade,” said John Kirby, a State Department spokesman. “I suspect some will and I suspect some won’t. We just have to let the process work its way out, but this is a healthy thing, and it's again part of the seriousness with which the State Department wants to take the proper scrutiny in looking at in looking at these e-mails, particularly with respect to potentially sensitive information.”
Meanwhile, a Senate committee chairman asked FBI Director James Comey if the bureau will determine if Clinton’s server was ever hacked.
So far, the review has scrutinized about 20 percent of Clinton’s emails, according to the document filed in the Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Jason Leopold, a reporter for Vice News. Now, a State Department official said, the reviewers “are conducting a relatively simple screening process to determine whether there are IC equities in the emails, not a full-scale FOIA review of the emails.” The official would not be quoted by name because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General had previously examined a sample of 40 emails out of the more than 30,000 that had been turned over to the State Department by Clinton.
Portions of 63 documents, some of them duplicates, were classified during a review of three batches of Clinton emails that have been released by the department. The inspectors general for the Intelligence Community and the State Department said that two emails’ content is now deemed to be “Top Secret.”
I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, said State Department officials had warned that there were “potentially hundreds of classified emails” on Clinton’s private server.
Clinton, now the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, has said she did not sent or receive any emails that were marked as classified.
“It's not about e-mails or servers,” Clinton said while campaigning in Iowa this weekend. “It's about politics.”
Her use of the private system set up at her Chappaqua, N.Y., house in 2009 has become the focus of multiple inquiries by the FBI, a pair of inspectors general and Congress, prompting questions about her judgment and motive for actions that potentially led to national security risks. Several groups also have filed suit seeking access to the emails.
Clinton abruptly announced last week that she would turn her server over to the Justice Department after months of resistance. Her attorney David Kendall also gave investigators a thumb drive as well as two additional copies of the thumb drive with more than 30,000 of her emails.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, pressed FBI Director Comey for details of the bureau’s inquiry into Clinton’s handling of classified information and asked whether its agents are examining whether her email account was hacked, according to a letter obtained by McClatchy.
Johnson asked the FBI director to disclose how many agents and employees are involved in the inquiry, how soon it will be completed and if it is exploring whether deleted material from Clinton’s private email server is recoverable. Clinton turned the server over to the FBI last week.
Also on Monday, a second Senate committee chairman asked Clinton’s attorney to explain what, if any, precautions he and his law firm took to ensure that the handling of the former secretary of state’s emails did not jeopardize national security.
In a letter released Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked Kendall to describe what security clearance he and his employees had that allowed them access to tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails that were eventually stored on a thumb drive.
“The transmission of classified material to an individual unauthorized to possess it is a serious national security risk,” wrote Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter dated Friday. “Moreover, if a person unauthorized to maintain custody of the classified materials does in fact maintain custody, it raises legitimate questions as to whether the information was properly secured from foreign governments and other entities. Many intelligence community personnel, uniformed personnel and the American people may be at risk when classified material is not properly secured.”
Kendall has not answered numerous questions about what he did to secure the sensitive data after U.S. officials found classified information among Clinton’s emails last May. But the situation provoked enough concern that in early July, State Department officials delivered a safe to Kendall’s Washington law office to secure a thumb drive he held containing all of the emails, according to the individuals with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to its sensitivity. Kendall did not respond to questions Monday.
Grassley also wants to know when Kendall received Clinton’s emails and whether he or Clinton currently hold security clearances.
Kendall, a prominent Williams & Connolly attorney, previously had a security clearance when he represented former CIA director David Petraeus against charges of mishandling classified information. In his letter, Grassley asked when that clearance was terminated. Petraeus was sentenced to two years probation in April on charges related to sharing classified information with his lover.
Clinton has turned over 30,490 work emails to the State Department late last year in response to a request from the agency, but said that she deleted another 31,830 personal emails.
The State Department has begun to release Clinton’s emails in response to a public records lawsuit. Clinton said that the use of personal email by State Department employees was permitted at the time, but State Department and White House officials decline to say whether she sought or received prior approval from anyone or whether anyone objected to it later.