While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has claimed that she did not send or receive any classified information on the private email server she used for government business during her tenure as Secretary of State, the FBI has upgraded over 300 of the 30,000 emails it has access to, and reports suggest that those emails were in fact “born classified.”
A report from Reuters found that the “classified” stamps on the emails, which include dates, letters and numbers describing the classification, show that some of Clinton’s emails are “filled with a type of information both the U.S. government and the [state] department’s own regulations automatically deems classified from the get-go — regardless of whether it is already marked that way or not.”
The report also claimed that out of the small number of emails that have been made public so far, at least 30 message chains from 2009 “include what the State Department’s own ‘Classified’ stamps now identify as so-called ‘foreign government information,'” which is the only kind of information that “must be presumed classified” to protect national security.
Although Clinton has said multiple times that she did not send or receive any classified information on her private email server, the report found that in the 30 classified emails it flagged, 17 of the message chains had “foreign government information” that was sent and received on an unsecured network between Clinton and her senior staff.
In a court filing, State department Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote that the BlackBerry devices issued to Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin while she was Security of State, have likely been “destroyed or excessed,” when they became “outdated models.”
J. William Leonard, the director of the U.S. government’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) from 2002-2008, told Reuters that the now “classified” information on Clinton’s server was actually born classified, and that for the State Department to argue would be “blowing smoke.”
“It’s born classified,” Leonard said. “If a foreign minister just told the secretary of state something in confidence, by U.S. rules that is classified at the moment it’s in U.S. channels and U.S. possession.”
While Clinton turned 30,000 emails over to the State Department and the FBI, she revealed that she deleted approximately 32,000 emails from her server, because they contained “personal information.”
I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, marked two of the emails Clinton “top-secret,” containing the highest form of classified information, and in response, federal judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the FBI to gain access to the trove of “personal” emails Clinton claimed she deleted.
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