A new report from the intelligence inspector general shows that there may be a few emails from Hillary Clinton’s server that are even more classified than originally believed. About 1,300 of the emails released so far — the last batch is scheduled for release at the end of the month — featured redacted text, mostly at the lowest level of secrecy. Clinton and her campaign team have argued that the emails didn’t contain classified information when sent, and were only labeled as such after the State Department began marking up the correspondence for release.
However, the new report from Charles McCullough III, sent to the congressional oversight committees earlier this month and first reported by Fox News, says that a few documents were actually top secret or “special access program” — which is about as secretive as you can get. Last year, McCullough said that two other emails were found to contain top-secret information, which set off an FBI investigation into the server — an investigation that is not targeting Clinton. Stuff marked SAP only gets shared on a “need to know” basis, and usually involves the most secretive parts of the CIA and other intelligence-gathering agencies.
A spokesperson from Clinton’s campaign, Brian Fallon, told the New York Times, “This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received. It appears that this may still revolve around a State Department employee forwarding a published news article about the drone program. If so, it would further reinforce how absurd it is to suggest that Secretary Clinton did anything wrong.”
As The Wall Street Journal explains,
Information deemed highly classified by the intelligence community could include programs that have been publicly revealed in the media, for example the government’s drone program. … Media reports about classified programs could be deemed classified by government officials.
The report does not say whether Clinton sent or received the emails in question — or how many of them there might be. State Department spokesperson John Kirby released a statement saying, “No one takes this more seriously than we do. We have said repeatedly that we anticipate more upgrades throughout our release process. Our FOIA review process is still ongoing. Once that process is complete, if it is determined that information should be classified as Top Secret we will do so.”
Although the debate about those emails of Clinton’s that remain unseen has stewed for months, those emails that the public has been allowed to look at have been less than remarkable — although they did fit an overarching theme on the perils of technology.
In the last batch of emails, released earlier this month, there was one document marked secret. It featured Hillary remarking,”Wow — not good.”