Aides to Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State could face prosecution for mishandling classified material. The FBI is now investigating how such material wound up in Hillary’s inbox.
A new report at Bloomberg cites an unnamed official with knowledge of the FBI’s ongoing investigation who says there is already some indication that Clinton’s aides at State summarized classified sources in emails sent to her.
“There’s a responsibility to safeguard classified information,” Michael Hayden tells Bloomberg. Hayden is a former NSA and CIA director who is now an adviser for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.
Clinton’s story regarding classified information in her email has shifted gradually since March. At first she offered a flat denial that she either sent or received any classified information. Later she shifted to saying any such information wasn’t classified “at the time.” More recently, Clinton has emphasized that nothing she received was “marked” classified.
So far, there is no evidence of classified material being sent to Clinton with security markings removed, which would be a crime. But the inspectors general for State and the Intelligence Community believe information gleaned from classified sources did appear in Hillary’s inbox. Representatives of the intelligence community have sided with the IGs, judging that two emails contained Top Secret information from satellites or wire intercepts.
The State Department, in the form of Undersecretary Pat Kennedy, continues to deny this and has appealed to the Director of National Intelligence to overturn the decision. Meanwhile, a review of about 20% of the emails Hillary turned over to State has identified 305 emails which were recommended for classification. Most of these would be classified below Secret. It’s not clear how many would have been classified at the time they were sent/received and how many were classified retroactively.
As for Hillary herself, she is not out of the woods even if she was not the source of any of the classified material. Admiral Pickering tells Politico, “She might have had some responsibility to blow the whistle.” Pickering says a conclusion can’t be reached until the details of the emails are investigated; however, there are circumstances in which Hillary, as Secretary, would be expected to know material was classified and did not belong on her private server.
Political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted the following statement from an unnamed Senior Obama administration source earlier today:
Senior Obama Admin official (to me): “If I did what (Hillary) Clinton did, I think I’d be in jail.”
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 20, 2015
Bremmer’s anonymous quote jibes with what Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department employee, told me earlier this month, “It’s clear she has done stuff that is way out of the bounds of what any other employee in the State Department would be allowed to do without an investigation.” However, Van Buren was skeptical that Hillary would be held accountable, pointing out that many people at State and the White House had known about her private account for years and apparently done nothing.