FBI re­leases Clin­ton probe files

Re­port in­cludes info on in­ter­view with in­ves­ti­ga­tors

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Del Quentin Wil­ber and Evan Halper

WASH­ING­TON — Hil­lary Clin­ton told fed­eral agents and pros­e­cu­tors that she did not re­call re­ceiv­ing any emails that were too se­cre­tive to be han­dled by her pri­vate com­puter server and did not be­lieve any of her de­vices had been hacked or com­pro­mised, ac­cord­ing to FBI records re­leased Fri­day.

The for­mer sec­re­tary of state re­it­er­ated ear­lier com­ments that she de­cided to use a sin­gle pri­vate email ad­dress to send per­sonal and work cor­re­spon­dence as “a mat­ter of con­ve­nience” and was not seek­ing to avoid hav­ing to com­ply with open­records laws, ac­cord­ing to an FBI sum­mary of a three­hour in­ter­view with agents and pros­e­cu­tors July 2.

The Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee added that she re­lied on her staff and ca­reer diplo­mats to fil­ter out se­cret in­for­ma­tion be­fore it reached her un­clas­si­fied email ac­count.

She pushed back when pressed by agents about spe­cific emails con­tain­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial, say­ing she was not con­cerned that the in­for­ma­tion was sen­si­tive or should have been deemed clas­si­fied.

Dur­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the FBI de­ter­mined that 110 emails con­tained ma­te­rial that should have been sent only on a clas­si­fied sys­tem, even though they were not marked as such at the time. Hil­lary Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server as sec­re­tary of state con­tin­ues to dog her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. An­other three emails in­cluded mark­ings to in­di­cate they con­tained clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

The 11-page in­ter­view sum­mary and 47-page FBI re­port, which un­cov­ered no ev­i­dence that Clin­ton’s emails had been hacked or that she broke the law, were re­leased Fri­day by the bureau in re­sponse to a num­ber of Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quests.

In July, the Jus­tice Depart­ment de­clined to file charges in the case, fol­low­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey. The di­rec­tor told re­porters that although Clin­ton had been “ex­tremely care­less” in her use of a pri­vate email ac­count there was no “clear ev­i­dence that Sec­re­tary Clin­ton or her col­leagues in­tended to vi­o­late laws gov­ern­ing the han­dling of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.”

The par­tially redacted re­ports con­tained no bomb­shell dis­clo­sures, though they pro­vided de­tails of the FBI’s year­long probe into Clin­ton’s con­tro­ver­sial use of a pri­vate email server while she served as the na­tion’s top diplo­mat. The re­lease pro­vided an­other vivid ex­am­ple of how the email scan­dal will likely con­tinue to dog the Clin­ton cam­paign un­til Elec­tion Day and be­yond.

The Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee con­tin­ues to strug­gle with un­easi­ness among the elec­torate about her trust­wor­thi­ness. In an ABC News-Wash­ing­ton Post poll last month, 59 per­cent of those sur­veyed said they do not find Clin­ton to be hon­est and trust­wor­thy.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign is­sued a state­ment say­ing it was pleased the FBI re­leased the records. “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 cam­paign said.

The re­lease of the FBI re­port will not be the last dis­clo­sure in the email scan­dal. Dur­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the bureau un­cov­ered thou­sands of work- re­lated emails that Clin­ton had not pre­vi­ously turned over be­cause her lawyers as­cer­tained they were per­sonal. The State Depart­ment is ex­pected to re­lease that trove of cor­re­spon­dence in com­ing weeks.

Some of those emails in­volve the State Depart- ment’s re­sponse to the 2012 ter­ror at­tacks on Amer­i­cans in Beng­hazi, Libya, which Repub­li­cans ac­cuse Clin­ton and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of botch­ing and try­ing to down­play.

At the State Depart­ment’s re­quest, Clin­ton di­rected her lawyers in 2014 to cull through about 60,000 emails to de­ter­mine which ones were work-re­lated and should be handed over to the State Depart­ment. They handed over about 30,000 emails to the State Depart­ment and FBI and deleted the rest.

In its anal­y­sis of her server and other com­put­ers, the FBI un­cov­ered an ad­di­tional 17,488 work-re­lated and per­sonal emails that had not been turned over to the bureau. It has turned work-re­lated ones over to the State Depart­ment.

The re­port dis­closed that Clin­ton was in­volved in at least 81 email chains con­tain­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial. Of those, 68 re­main clas­si­fied and 8 con­tain in­for­ma­tion la­beled as top se­cret, the high­est level of clas­si­fi­ca­tion, the re­port says.

The records por­tray Clin­ton and her staff as some­what un­so­phis­ti­cated with tech­nol­ogy and the work­ings of the server, which was first stored in the base­ment of her house in New York and later at a com­puter fa­cil­ity in New Jer­sey.

For ex­am­ple, Clin­ton told FBI agents that she thought a mark­ing used to in­di­cate that cer­tain in­for­ma­tion in a para­graph was clas­si­fied — a let­ter “c” in paren­the­sis — was sim­ply ref­er­enc­ing a para­graph in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der.


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