The chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi said Hillary Clinton’s storage of top secret information on her private email server “is a serious national security issue, and the seriousness of it should transcend normal, partisan politics.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) noted last night that both of the inspectors general who highlighted the sensitive material in the sampling of emails — Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III and State Department Inspector General Steve Linick — were nominated by President Obama and confirmed by a Democratic-controlled Senate. And they stressed in a joint statement “this classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”
Gowdy also noted that Clinton had months to turn her server over to a third-party forensic investigator at the request of Congress. “She refused every entreat,” and now she has to turn it over to the Justice Department.
“Secretary Clinton said she created this unusual email arrangement with herself for ‘convenience.’ It may have been convenient for her, but it has been troubling at multiple levels for the rest of the country,” Gowdy said. “Congress, the media, the public, private litigants and FOIA requestors were denied access to public documents, and recently the Inspectors General for two separate Executive Branch entities expressed concern about the possible exposure of classified material as a direct result of her decision to eschew the email rules applicable to everyone else and create her own.”
“The IC Inspector General revealed Secretary Clinton’s emails and server contained not just ‘top secret’ classified information, but ‘compartmented’ classified intelligence not releasable to foreigners, which must be noted in the timing of this announcement.”
Late last month, Clinton’s attorney confirmed to the Benghazi committee that she will testify on Oct. 22 in open session. Committee officials noted at the time that “her email arrangement” will be among the questions within the scope of the panel’s congressional mandate.
“Secretary Clinton’s decision to prioritize her own convenience – and desire for control – over the security of our country’s intelligence should concern all people of good conscience,” Gowdy continued. “…The revelation that Secretary Clinton exclusively used private email for official public business, and the multitude of issues that emanated from her decision, including this most recent one, demonstrates what can happen when Congress and those equally committed to exposing the truth, doggedly pursue facts and follow them.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said “if Hillary Clinton believed in honesty and transparency, she would have turned over her secret server months ago to an independent arbiter, not as a last resort and to the Obama Justice Department.”
“Of course, if she really cares about transparency, she would never have had a secret server in the first place,” Priebus added in a statement last night. “All this means is that Hillary Clinton, in the face of FBI scrutiny, has decided she has run out of options. She knows she did something wrong and has run out of ways to cover it up.”