Justice Department Asked to Investigate Hillary’s Emails

By
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R
Hillary Clinton.Photo: JIM WATSON/2012 AFP

The inspector general for the intelligence agencies has asked the Justice Department to look into Hillary Clinton’s personal email usage during her tenure as secretary of State. According to The Wall Street Journal, she sent at least four emails that contained classified information — even though the contents weren’t labeled as classified at the time — and should have been sent through the federal government’s secure network instead of Clinton’s server.

In other words, although there were no emails that had information labeled as classified, the inspector general thought that some of the information should have been labeled classified — and thus shouldn’t have been sent. The inspector general only looked at 40 of more than 30,000 emails in question, so there could have been more emails potentially containing classified information. If the emails did contain classified information, which hasn’t been proven yet, they could still be in a not-so-secure place. The inspector general noted that the emails “are purported to have been copied to a thumb drive in the possession of former Secretary Clinton’s personal counsel.”

The issue — “related to the potential compromise of classified information” — was referred to the FBI’s counterintelligence division, as well as to the Justice Department. The State Department Inspector General is also looking into the emails, according to the New York Times

It is not clear how the Justice Department or FBI will proceed; no decision to launch an investigation has been made. An official told the Los Angeles Times that such referrals were routine when investigators learn that classified information may have been sent through unsecured platforms and that “the referral was an early step and far from any possible prosecution.” The State Department doesn’t think that any of the emails contained classified information, despite the IG report. Some of the information in Clinton’s emails were classified after the fact, but it wouldn’t have been a breach of protocol to email them at the time. 

When this story was first reported by the New York Times on Thursday, it appeared that the federal investigators were recommending that the Justice Department launch a criminal inquiry into Clinton’s email usage. Clinton’s campaign and several people in the federal government quickly challenged that story, and it was amended throughout the day as federal officials provided new information that conflicted with earlier reports they had given to journalists. At an event, Clinton addressed the story herself, without getting into specifics — while also trying to steer the focus back toward her campaign — according to MSNBC.

>

It’s because there have been a lot of inaccuracies as Congressman [Elijah] Cummings made clear this morning, maybe the heat is getting to everybody. We all have a responsibility to get this right. I have released 55,000 pages of emails. I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions before the House Committee. We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right and I will do my part, but I’m also going to stay focused on the issues, particularly the big issues that really matter to American families.

As Clinton noted, Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the committee on Benghazi, also said that no criminal probe was pending or requested. “This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines — only to be corrected later — and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas,” he said, according to the Hill

Earlier this year, Clinton said she was “certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified e-mail.”

As Clinton noted, Representative Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the committee on Benghazi, also said that no criminal probe was pending or requested. “This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines — only to be corrected later — and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas,” he said, according to the Hill

Earlier this year, Clinton said she was “certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified e-mail.”

Prominent Republicans quickly responded to the news, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, saying that Clinton should hand over her server so all remaining questions about her emails could be answered. 

Around 3,000 pages of the 55,000 pages of Clinton’s emails have been released to the public. The State Department is going through the rest, and will release them slowly over the next few months. 

Correction: This story originally stated that the Justice Department was asked to open a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email usage. The Department was asked to look into the emails, but not to launch a criminal inquiry.