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Hillary: Some of the Emails Sent or Received On My Server Referred To Covert Drone Program

During NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday, Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that some of the emails sent and received by her on her private email server referred to the US’ cover drone program, although “there were no discussions of any of the covert actions in process, being determined, about whether or not to go forward.”

Hillary was asked by host Matt Lauer, “You’ve said it’s a mistake. You’ve said you made not the best choice. You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in-chief?”

She responded, “Well, Matt, first of all, as I have said repeatedly, it was a mistake to have a personal account. I would certainly not do it again. I make no excuses for it. It was something that should not have been done. But the real question is, the handling of classified material, which is, I think, what the implication of your question was, and for all the viewers watching you tonight, I have a lot of experience dealing with classified material, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee, going into the four years as secretary of state. Classified material has a header, which says ‘top secret,’ ‘secret,’ ‘confidential.’ Nothing — and I would — I will repeat this, and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.”

Lauer followed up, “Were some of the emails sent or received by you referring to our drone program, our covert drone program?”

Hillary answered, “Yes, because, of course there were no discussions of any of the covert actions in process, being determined, about whether or not to go forward. But every part of our government had to deal with questions, and the secretary of state’s office was first and foremost. So there are ways of talking about the drone program –.”

Lauer then cut in, “And you said you thought your communications on that were fairly routine?”

Hillary stated, “Well, let me say, the FBI just released their report about their investigation. They discussed drone matters in the unclassified section of their report.”

Lauer countered, “But Director Comey also said this, after reviewing all the information, he said, there is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”

Hillary then said, “Well, Matt, I just respectfully point to the hundreds of experienced foreign policy experts, diplomats, defense officials, who were communicating information on the unclassified system, because it was necessary to answer questions, and to be able, publicly, to go as far as we could, which was not acknowledging the program, but I would be in Pakistan, as I was on several occasions. There might very well have been a strike. I would be asked in a public setting, in an interview, about it, it was known to have happened. We had to have an answer that did not move into classified area, and I think we handled that appropriately.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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