News & Politics

Clinton Emails So Sensitive, Senior Lawmakers Had to Up Their Security Clearances to View Them

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Some of newly revealed emails on Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecured server are so sensitive that senior lawmakers on the oversight committees did not have high enough security clearances to read them, according to sources on Capitol Hill. Fox News reports today that lawmakers had to fulfill additional security requirements in order to read material in her emails described by Mrs. Clinton as “innocuous.”

The emails in question, as Fox News first reported earlier this week, contained intelligence classified at a level beyond “top secret.” Because of this designation, not all the lawmakers on key committees reviewing the case have high enough clearances.

A source with knowledge of the intelligence review told Fox News that senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, despite having high-level clearances, are among those not authorized to read the intelligence from so-called “special access programs” without taking additional security steps — like signing new non-disclosure agreements.

These programs are highly restricted to protect intelligence community sources and methods.

Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III identified “several dozen” additional classified emails this month — including classified intelligence from “special access programs” (SAP).

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In an interview with NPR yesterday, Mrs. Clinton insisted that the latest IG finding doesn’t change anything and suggested that the Obama-appointed official was working with the Republicans. “This seems to me to be, you know, another effort to inject this into the campaign, it’s another leak,” she said. “I’m just going to leave it up to the professionals at the Justice Department because nothing that this says changes the fact that I never sent or received material marked classified.”

Clinton’s defenders say the emails contain relatively “innocuous” conversations by State Department officials about the CIA drone program.

The description of the emails as relatively innocuous came from officials, including a senior U.S. intelligence official, who believe Inspector General McCullough has been unfair to Clinton in his handling of the issue. They say McCullough and Congressional Republicans have elevated a mundane dispute about classification into a scandal.

However, a former Justice Department official told Fox News that “State Department IT employees and others” warned Clinton that she should be using a government account and yet she ignored them.

“If you have a situation where someone was knowingly violating the law and that they knew that what they were doing was prohibited by federal law because other people were saying, you’re violating the law, knock it off, and they disregarded that advice and they went ahead, that’s a very difficult case to defend,” Thomas Dupree said.