The U.S. Department of State rushed through its security check on Hillary Clinton’s book to meet her “expectations,” according to a bombshell release of internal documents.
Hillary Clinton revealed sensitive conversations she had with top Chinese leaders, and about Benghazi and Iran, in her pre-campaign 2014 memoir Hard Choices. Those conversations were rapidly vetted to make sure State Department employees could avoid an angry “high-level” call. Even the CIA was kept in the dark about the book.
The information was so sensitive that draft copies of the book had to be destroyed.
The State Department still rushed through its full review in the three-day timespan allowed, and approved sensitive information about Benghazi for publication, despite finding factual errors in the book regarding Iran,
Charles Daris, the State Department’s senior reviewer, urged his State Department colleagues to rush their security review to meet the “expectations of the author.”
“Per conversation with David Wisner, I am delivering to your office(s) shortly a draft chapter of Secretary Clinton’s memoirs, submitted to this office for pre-publication security review,” Daris wrote in a March 10, 2014 email to officials at the Near East Affairs Bureau (NEA).
“At a minimum there appear to be equities for NEA/IR and NEA/ARP. There will be more to come, and we hope that under your coordination NEA can turn these around as quickly as possible to meet the hopes and expectations of the author,” Daris wrote.
The author, of course, was Hillary Clinton.
Later in the day, State Department official Neil Silver blasted out an urgent email to his colleagues, telling them to hurry up and don’t challenge Clinton’s personal staff. “Since I won’t be here tomorrow, please direct any reactions you have to the draft to Charles Daris, a senior FOIA reviewer. All your email addresses are above,” Silver said.
“Timing: The FOIA office is under great pressure to turn this around quickly. If you are tardy in your response, you may get a high-level Department official call,” Silver reported.
“As I indicated, since these issues do not involve U.S. national security questions, at least by one interpretation, it may only be possible to convey these or similar views ‘informally’ to Clinton,” Silver said. “Are you comfortable with having Clinton quote extensively from her diplomatic talks with Chinese officials? I did not see the need to second-guess her and her staff. But, if you feel differently, please suggest what you would redact.”
Daris later wrote a March 13 memo to colleagues urging them to hurry up with the Benghazi stuff. “I have read the Benghazi chapter (“Under Attack”). On Friday can you please prepare a memo for NEA staff aides (use the one we sent to them on Tuesday as a model) and get it over to them asap. Ask for response by COB Tuesday,” Daris wrote.
“It also needs to go to the CIA but Gelber said not to send it to anyone outside the building before he gets back to us. I’ll pick up on this first thing Monday. Thanks. Chuck.”
On March 20, Daris ordered that “all” of the draft copies had to be rounded up and “destroyed.”
“New marching orders from our Front Office. Will you please suspend our request for clearance and find a way to get all/all of the copies back that you sent to EAP [East Asian and Pacific Affairs]. Please confirm to me when you have done so,” Daris wrote to a State Department official with the last name Blackburn.
“I have just retrieved the two copies of the chapter portions Neil passed to the China and Japan desks (i.e., pages 53-73 of “Back to Beijing” and 87-119 of “Green Light.”) In each case, I was assured that no reproductions were made, so I think we now have “all/all of the copies,”” Blackburn wrote.
“Excellent, Paul. Please destroy them. Thank you. C,” Daris replied.