Hillary Campaign: Withholding of Emails Just 'Over-Classification Run Amok'
Hillary Clinton's campaign insisted today that the former secretary of State wants the release of more than 20 emails determined to have contained top-secret information, calling the withholding "over-classification run amok."
The State Department is scheduled to release about 2,000 new pages of emails today in response to a Freedom of Information Act request -- but explained Thursday night in a federal court filing that the department would miss the deadline for releasing the final 7,000 pages because they hadn't all gone through review by relevant agencies.
"Defendant U.S. Department of State ('State') has produced more than 43,000 pages of the emails of former Secretary of State Clinton ('the Clinton emails') in just over seven months. It has approximately 9,000 more pages to go. During this enormously complex undertaking, State missed sending to some of the necessary agencies approximately 7,000 pages that it had identified as requiring interagency consultation," said the filing.
"This error did not come to light until three weeks before the January 29 deadline set by the Court for the final production of Clinton emails. Since discovering its oversight, State has moved diligently to process the documents and send them to the appropriate agencies for review, a process that was interrupted by the blizzard that struck Washington, D.C., over the weekend."
Then came today's news that 22 emails will be withheld from release due to top secret classification.
The Associated Press reported that seven emails chains have information concerning "special access programs" not specified. The State Department's Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus will investigate whether information in the censored emails was classified at the time they were sent. Clinton has maintained any classified information sent in emails using her private server received the classification later.
Very soon after the story broke -- just a few days away from the first votes to be cast in the 2016 presidential primaries -- Hillary for America press secretary Brian Fallon said "we firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails."
"Since first providing her emails to the State Department more than one year ago, Hillary Clinton has urged that they be made available to the public. We feel no differently today," Fallon said in a statement. "After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails.
"This flies in the face of the fact that these emails were unmarked at the time they were sent, and have been called 'innocuous' by certain intelligence officials. We understand that these emails were likely originated on the State Department’s unclassified system before they were ever shared with Secretary Clinton, and they have remained on the department’s unclassified system for years. And, in at least one case, the emails appear to involve information from a published news article," he continued.
"This appears to be over-classification run amok. We will pursue all appropriate avenues to see that her emails are released in a manner consistent with her call last year."
The Republican National Committee was already after Hillary today for the State Department delay in clearing out the rest of her emails.