The State Department today confirmed for the first time that at least 22 of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecured email server when she was secretary of State contained top-secret information.
A government source involved with the ongoing review told Fox News that seven of those emails have been deemed by the intelligence community to be so sensitive and so potentially damaging to national security they can never be released under any circumstances.
Via Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Brown at Fox News:
The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton’s personal server.
Fox News is told the emails include intelligence from “special access programs,” or SAP, which is considered beyond “Top Secret.” A Jan. 14 letter, first reported by Fox News, from intelligence community Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”
The State Department is trying to finish its review and public release of thousands of Clinton emails, as the Democratic presidential primary contests get underway in early February.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, there is an exemption that allows for highly sensitive, and in this case classified, material to be withheld in full — which means nothing would be released in these cases, not even heavily redacted versions, which has been standard practice with the 1,340 such emails made public so far by the State Department.
The Clinton campaign responded by demanding that the State Department release the emails right away so people can see for themselves that they’re no big shakes—just a case of over-classification run amok—a problem that has reached epidemic levels in recent months and caused all kinds of headaches for poor Hillary.
State Department spokesman John Kirby attempted to downplay today’s revelations by parroting the Clinton camp’s line that the emails “were not marked classified when they were sent,” which is completely irrelevant because SAP (special access programs) are “born classified” and Clinton should have been able to recognize them as such. Moreover, the intelligence community has already concluded that the emails in question were classified when they were sent, and they get the final say in the matter. Yet Kirby continued to claim that the emails weren’t “marked classified” and maintained that the State Department was working closely with their “inter-agency partners” to resolve the dispute.
Catherine Herridge and other reporters at the press briefing called Kirby out on his obfuscations.
Herridge asked him point blank, “Are you saying that you do not accept the sworn declaration of the intelligence community that these emails were classified when they were sent?”
“I’m not going to speak specifically to that letter or the ICIG’s findings. You’ll have to talk to them about that,” Kirby answered. “What I can tell you, Catherine, is that in consultation with the intelligence community, we are making this upgrade. And we believe it’s the prudent, responsible thing to do.”
Kirby also disclosed today that the State Department is withholding eighteen emails between Hillary Clinton and President Obama, but not because they were determined to be classified.
Judge Napolitano called today’s revelations “another blow to Hillary Clinton’s credibility and another avenue for the FBI to investigate.”