The State Department asked Hillary Clinton to delete a Benghazi-related email that she turned over to the department during the investigation into her private email use.
Patrick Kennedy, the department’s Under Secretary of State for Management, actually wrote a letter to Clinton’s attorney in May 2015, two months after Clinton’s private email scandal broke, asking Clinton to “please delete” an email with the subject line “Fw: FYI – Report of arrests – possible Benghazi connection).”
Clinton had already turned over the Benghazi email to the State Department as part of federal investigations into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Kennedy found the email within 55,000 pages of documents that Clinton turned over to State.
Kennedy’s letter to Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, was unearthed by the nonprofit group Judicial Watch, which sued the State Department for records.
“Please be advised that today the above referenced e-mail, which previously was unclassified, has been classified as ‘Secret,'” Kennedy wrote to Kendall on May 22, 2015. “In order to safeguard and protect the classified information, I ask – consistent with my letter to you dated March 23 2015 – that you, Secretary Clinton and others assisting her in responding to congressional and related inquiries coordinate in taking the steps set forth below. A copy of the document as redacted under the FOIA is attached to assist you in your search.”
“Once you have made the electronic copy of the documents for the Department, please locate any electronic copies of the above-referenced classified document in your possession,” Kennedy added. “If you locate any electronic copies, please delete them. Additionally, once you have done that, please empty your ‘Deleted Items’ folder.”
The fact that Clinton had classified emails on her private server was not publicly revealed until later this summer.
“This will also confirm that, pursuant to your request, we have deleted all electronic copies of this document, with the following exception,” Kendall wrote, noting that the House Benghazi Committee and inspectors general were also requesting full email records from Clinton. “I therefore do not believe it would be prudent to delete, as you request, the above-referenced e-mail from the master copies or the PST file that we are preserving.”
“Once the document preservation requests referenced above expire, we will proceed to make the requested deletions,” Kendall concluded.