Hillary Clinton’s own State Department legal adviser sent “confidential” and classified information on a private email address.
While Clinton continues to be dogged by revelations that she swapped classified materials on a non-secure private email server and faces an ongoing FBI investigation into her conduct, records reveal that her own legal team was unconcerned with State Department protocols governing the exchange of sensitive foreign policy materials.
In fact, the very legal adviser who counseled Clinton on her private email use was the one who brazenly engaged in the practice.
Harold Hongju Koh, a State Department “legal adviser,” sent an email on February 17, 2012, to State Department officials Kimberly Gahan and Mary McLeod discussing a “crisis” in Egypt that led to criminal charges for 19 Americans as part of a series of raids on non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the country.
Koh also sent the email to his official State Department account. Koh sent it from a non-State Department account, as evidenced by the fact that the sender’s name was listed as “Harold Koh” and not “Koh, Harold Hongju,” which connotes the use of his official email address. Additionally, Koh’s private email address was redacted in the State Department’s release of the email.
Koh later forwarded the privately-generated email directly to Clinton from his State Department account.
The subject of the email was “PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL.”
The email opened with the line “PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL/ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE/DELIBERATIVE PROCESS/ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT.”
The email was classified by the State Department and other federal entities. The email was marked with Redaction Codes 1.4 (B), which means that it had “Foreign government information” in it, and also 1.4 (D), which means that it pertained to “Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”
“Classified by DAS, A/GIS, DoS on 12/31/2015 — Class: CONFIDENTIAL — Reason: 1.4(B), 1.4(D) — Declassify on: 02/17/2027,” the released copy of the email states.
“At the invitation of the Egyptian Government, [Redacted] and I went to Cairo from February 14-16, 2012 to seek a solution to the impasse over NGO activities that has caused nearly two dozen NGO workers to be criminally charged and six Amcits from NDI and IRI to take refuge in Amembassy Cairo,” Koh wrote.
Accompanied by Ambassador Anne Patterson, we spent Feb. 15 seeing Foreign Minister Amr (twice); General Muwafi of the Egypt General Intelligence Service (EGIS) (for 3+ hours); Minister of Justice Abdallah; and the IRI/NDI personnel at the Embassy as well as their lawyers. Amr and Muwafi earnestly claimed to be eager to resolve the crisis in a way that mitigates the harm to the bilateral strategic relationship between our countries.
The email, which includes a major redacted portion, concludes, “We will be in touch with the NDI/IRI lawyers to see whether a hearing has been scheduled on the lifting of the travel ban, and will keep you posted with any new information we may have.”
Koh was responsible for advising Clinton on her email use during their shared tenure at the State Department.
“This is attorney-client privilege, I can’t answer that question,” Koh told The Guardian in 2015, referring to his work advising Clinton on her server. “You know, what as a lawyer you say to your client… I can’t answer that question.”
Clinton is currently under FBI investigation regarding her use of private emails to conduct classified State Department business.
Reached for comment, Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said, “That’s not true, and what’s more is I bet you know that.”
Pressed to explain the clear evidence that Koh used a private email address, Merill added, “You’re either not trying or have some serious blinders on.”
Pressed further on the clear evidence, Merrill discontinued our conversation.