Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) of the House Intelligence Committee said that more of Hillary Clinton’s emails would be classified Top Secret, and the information contained in these emails is every bit as damaging as early reports suggested.
Noting that 22 “Top Secret” emails have been reported by the press so far, Stewart said, “there’s actually more than that” during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday.
These Clinton emails had to be heavily redacted before they could be released to the public, but Stewart, as a member of House Intelligence, has read them.
“I have never read anything that’s more sensitive than what these emails contained,” he said. “They do reveal classified methods. They do reveal classified sources, and they do reveal human assets. I can’t imagine how anyone could be familiar with these emails, whether they’re sending them or receiving them, and not realize that these are highly classified.”
That comment was a reference to Clinton’s defense that she didn’t realize much of the material passing through her email server was classified, because it wasn’t marked as such. (That may be a consequence of her aides stripping the classification markings away when they copied the material out of secure computer systems.) As Secretary of State, Clinton received training in how to spot classified information and was obliged to report mishandling of it.
Stewart didn’t think much of Clinton’s “nothing I sent or received was marked classified” defense.
“It’s a ridiculous assertion,” he said. “If I received an email saying, ‘Here’s the names and addresses and phone numbers of ten of our undercover agents in Pakistan,’ I would know that was classified. I wouldn’t look for a heading and go, ‘well, there’s no heading on there, therefore it’s unclassified.'” Stewart stressed this example of ten undercover agents in Pakistan was purely hypothetical, and none of Clinton’s emails actually listed that precise information.
Stewart said he was “shocked” when he saw exactly what was contained in the Clinton emails, although he allowed that he had a general idea of what they contained before viewing them.
Notably, Stewart flatly refuted Clinton’s assertion that she neither sent or received any of the classified emails. “They were her emails,” he said.
While waiting for a “legal process” to play out in the Clinton email case, Stewart said he thought the American people should ask themselves, “Did Hillary Clinton demonstrate the judgment, and the respect for protocol, that would allow her to protect national security?”
He found himself doubting Clinton’s judgment when he read those emails and saw “how she has exposed some of the most sensitive information, or potentially exposed that.”
“This isn’t some vast right-wing conspiracy,” said Stewart, parodying one of Clinton’s most famous phrases. “For Heaven’s sake, these were Obama Administration officials who have told us these emails were so classified they can’t be released. This wasn’t something that is coming from the Right, it’s coming from this current Administration. So her argument isn’t with me, it’s with the President and his Administration regarding that.”
Stewart did not offer an opinion on whether the case would lead to an indictment, noting he is not a lawyer.
“I don’t think that’s the primary consideration anyway,” he said. “The primary consideration is her judgment, not necessarily the legal outcome.”