High-ranking officials under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly pressured the FBI to mark certain Clinton emails as “unclassified” in order to protect her interests, according to an unnamed FBI agent interviewed during the probe into Clinton’s unauthorized use of private computer servers.
The results of the interview with the unnamed agent have been published in a 100-page document the FBI released Monday as part of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email address during her tenure at the State Department.
The documents detail the information provided by an “FBI agent at the records management division,” who said they witnessed several instances of State Department attempts to pressure the FBI into declassifying the documents. The agent first received a call from the State Office of Legal Council (OLC), according to the documents, in which the agent was “advised that they, not the FBI, are the judge of potential harm to foreign governments and therefore the FBI did not have the right to classify a document based on those conditions.”
The documents remained classified, and the State Department then reportedly exerted more pressure.
“[REDACTED] received a call from [REDACTED] of the International Operations Division (IOD) of the FBI, who ‘pressured’ him to change the classified email to unclassified,” the FBI documents reveal. “[REDACTED] indicated he had been contacted by PATRICK KENNEDY, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’”
“[REDACTED] advised that, in exchange for marking the email unclassified, STATE would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden,” the documents continued.
Kennedy reportedly brought the documents up following that discussion at a “private meeting” in which he “asked [REDACTED] whether the FBI could ‘see their way to marking the email unclassified?” “According to [REDACTED], KENNEDY spent the next 15 minutes debating the classification of the email and attempting to influence the FBI to change its markings,” the documents read.
Kennedy reportedly attempted to influence the classification on another occasion, a conference call in which “Kennedy continued to pressure the FBI to change the classified markings on the email to unclassified.”
The summary of the interview of this unnamed agent concludes by stating, “[REDACTED] believes State has an agenda which involves minimizing the classified nature of the Clinton emails in order to protect State interests and those of Clinton.”
These conversations allegedly occurred in mid-2015.
Politico notes that both the State Department and the Clinton campaign are aggressively denying the “quid pro quo” claim. This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts. To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday.
“Classification is an art, not a science,” he alleged.