The focus of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information is a series of emails between American diplomats in Pakistan and Washington about drone strikes, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. These emails are among the 22 top secret emails deemed too sensitive to ever be revealed to the American public.
The 2011 and 2012 emails were sent via the “low side” — government slang for a computer system for unclassified matters — as part of a secret arrangement that gave the State Department more of a voice in whether a CIA drone strike went ahead, according to congressional and law enforcement officials briefed on the FBI probe, the Journal said.
Some of the emails were then forwarded by Clinton’s aides to her personal email account, which routed them to a server she kept at her home in suburban New York when she was secretary of state, the officials said, according to the newspaper.
A day after she assumed office in 2009, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that indicated it was her responsibility to ascertain whether information shared through her private email server was classified.
Most importantly, the agreement indicated that she understood there are criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information.
Clinton told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Special Report earlier this week that she did not recall ever signing the non-disclosure agreement. She also repeated her claim:
[N]othing that I sent or received was marked classified … [N]othing has been demonstrated to contradict that. So it is the fact. It was the fact when I first said it.
As many outlets, including PJ Media, have explained, her argument is irrelevant to the policy she was operating under: the information within is what deems a message to be classified, not the marking.
In reaction to Clinton’s statement, Congressman Mike Pompeo pointed this out as well. Pompeo said it is “completely irrelevant” whether something was marked classified or not. He added that Hillary’s emails made individuals in the U.S. military “less safe and secure today”:
I handle national security information all the time. And if I said something to you right now on the radio that was classified, there would be no marking. It would nonetheless be at least a misdemeanor, and if it was intentional, a felony. I’ve read the 22 top secret emails that Secretary Clinton had on her private server in a non-secure setting.
And I can assure the folks who are listening to your show this morning there was information on there that if they have a family member who’s in the military, they are less safe and secure today as a result of the behavior of Secretary Clinton. Her statement that you just played for me was false in so many material respects, and most importantly, shows the dangerous misunderstanding of the importance of keeping national security secrets.
In a devastating audit released last month, the State Department inspector general found that Clinton had broken government rules by using a private email server without approval, contradicting Clinton’s repeated insistence that “it was allowed.”