The FBI reveals more about the Clinton emails that are clearly marked classified.
In the FBI Clinton email investigation’s final report, released on this day, more is revealed about the three Clinton email chains containing at least one paragraph with the “(C)” marking. This indicates the presence of information classified at the “confidential” level.
The report adds that there actually were eight emails in the three email chains. “The emails contained no additional markings, such as a header or footer, indicating that they were classified.”
At least one email from two of the email chains have been publicly released. One was sent to Clinton by her aide Monica Hanley on April 8, 2012, regarding a phone call between Clinton and Malawi president Joyce Banda. The second email was sent to Clinton by Hanley on August 2, 2012, regarding a phone call between Clinton and United Nations/Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan. The FBI report indicates both email chains are currently unclassified.
The third email chain is more mysterious. The FBI report doesn’t mention when it was sent, or by whom, of what its contents are. However, the State Department “confirmed through the FOIA review process that [this chain] contains information which is currently classified at the ‘confidential ‘level.” This email has not been found in the over 30,000 work-related emails Clinton gave to the State Department, even though the “confidential” classification clearly indicates it is work-related.
Finally, the State Department hasn’t provided a determination if any of the three emails were classified at the time they were sent. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
Colin Powell warns the Clinton campaign to not compare his AOL account to the Clinton private server.
Just one month earlier, former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested that Clinton had shot herself in the foot by not apologizing immediately and by dragging out her email controversy.
The Intercept later highlights an email Powell writes on August 28, 2016 which states, “HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me to it.”
Powell says he tried to put an end to the matter by meeting with Cheryl Mills earlier that month. Instead, he writes, “I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s [sic] party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.”
The emails reveal Powell isn’t shy about sharing his frustrations over the Clinton campaign’s attempt to “blur the lines between Clinton’s private email server and Powell’s AOL account,” according to the Intercept. He suggests to dozens of reporters and producers who emailed him to read his book, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership,” in which he devoted an entire chapter to his efforts to revamp the State Department’s IT system.”
Powell also argues, when he arrived at the State Department, the information technology system was extremely outdated. The Intercept will conclude, “[U]nlike Clinton, Powell never set up a private server. Instead, he used his personal AOL [AmericaOnline] account, on a server maintained by AOL, and used a government computer for classified communications.” (The Intercept, 09/13/16)
The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.
A former NSA official says what Clinton’s emails revealed about NSA collection methods caused “much worse” damage than leaks from Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning or any other whistleblowers.
William Binney is a former NSA official who was harassed by the US government for several years for blowing the whistle on a wasteful NSA program. (McClatchy Newspapers, 9/29/2015)
Binney worked at the NSA for 36 years, reaching the position of senior technical director and managing 6,000 employees. He believes Clinton’s poor email security has been “devastating” for US national security due to the revelation of some intelligence collection methods. (Washingtonsblog.com, 7/7/2016)
Binney points in particular to an email sent to Clinton by her confidant Sid Blumenthal on June 8, 2011. It mentioned conversations by rebel generals in Sudan that had taken place less than 24 hours earlier. (US Department of State, 1/6/2016)
This email revealed details of NSA collection abilities, and was based on four NSA reports, all of them classified at the “top secret / special intelligence” (TSSI) level, including at least one issued under the GAMMA compartment, which is an NSA handling code for extraordinarily sensitive information, such as decrypted conversations between top foreign leaders. (The New York Observer, 3/18/2016)
Binney concludes, “All in all, this is a rather devastating compromise of technical capability and a commensurate loss of high value intelligence. … In my view, this is much worse than what Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning or any of the other whistleblowers have done. Some are in prison for as many as 35 years. Others have just been ruined and kept from getting anything but menial jobs. But, those in high positions get a pass for much worse offenses.” (Washingtonsblog.com, 7/7/2016)
FBI Director James Comey gives his explanation of Clinton’s “send nonsecure” email.
In a Congressional hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R) asks Comey, “How did the Department of Justice, or how did the FBI, view the incident in which Hillary Clinton instructed Jake Sullivan to take the markings off of a document that was to be sent to her?” (This is in reference to a June 17, 2011 email in which Clinton wrote to Sullivan about a classified fax: “Turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”)
Comey answers, “Yes, we looked at that pretty closely. There was some problem with their secure fax machine and there was an email in which she says in substance, take the headers off of it and send it as a non-paper and as we’ve dug into that more deeply, we’ve come to learn that at least this one view of it that is reasonable, that a ‘non-paper’ in State Department parlance means a document that contains things we could pass to another government. So essentially take out anything that’s classified and send it to me. Now it turned out that didn’t happen. We actually found that the classified fax was then sent, but that’s our best understanding of what that was about.” (CNN, 7/7/2016)
Clinton is asked about an apparent top secret email exchange in which someone comments, “Let me know what you can via this channel.”
In Clinton’s FBI interview on this day, she is asked for her opinion on more than a dozen specific emails from her time as secretary of state. For just one of the emails mentioned in the FBI’s summary of her interview, the date of the email is redacted. This would indicate it is an email deemed “top secret” or above top secret, because only the dates of such emails have remained classified.
Clinton’s response about the email is also heavily redacted in the FBI’s summary. But it is mentioned that Clinton claims she doesn’t remember the email. Also, she is asked about a comment made by the man who sent her the email in which he wrote “let me know what you can via this channel.” That would suggest whoever wrote the email didn’t mind using private email matters to discuss top secret information, which would be why the FBI would ask about this email and that particular comment.
According to the later FBI summary, Clinton said that this was “representative of the emphasis he placed on handling information appropriately. Clinton had no concerns the displayed email contained classified information.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)
A few documents from the recent hack of the Clinton campaign are made public.
Some files from Clinton volunteer Sarah Hamilton are sent to the Smoking Gun website by the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0. Hamilton, who works for Clinton’s publicity office, appears to have fallen for a “spear phishing” attack, making the contents of her email inbox accessible. The Smoking Gun says this revealed many documents, “from schedules and talking points to briefing books and assorted logistics. But the records are absent the kind of intel for which hackers were probably searching, like policy discussions and confidential deliberations.”
Details of a February 2016 email chain are revealed, showing efforts by Clinton’s campaign to keep journalists, especially CNN producer Dan Merica, physically separated from Clinton so she wouldn’t be asked difficult questions. Hamilton, press secretary Nick Merrill, and others treated Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet the same way in mid-March 2016. In sending the documents, Guccifer 2.0 also reiterates his claim to be a lone hacker not working with the Russian government. (The Smoking Gun, 6/28/2016) (The Washington Post, 6/28/2016)
Clinton’s comment in a November 2010 email “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible” could become an issue in the 2016 presidential election.
The email undercuts Clinton’s claim that she used a private email account and private server for “convenience.” This email was not included in the 30,000 work-related emails Clinton turned over in late 2014.
One unnamed “Clinton ally” says, “If Donald Trump didn’t have some major problems right now, I’d be worried. It basically sums up that she was aware of what was happening. It’s yet another headache for us.”
RNC (Republican National Committee) spokesperson Michael Short says: “The fact that such a key email, which contained damning information about her use of a private server, was not turned over casts doubt on the notion that this may have been an oversight and raises questions about what other work-related emails may have been deleted or inappropriately withheld.”
An unnamed “former senior aide to President Obama who supports Clinton” says Clinton’s email controversy in general “gives Trump something he can hammer her on. It’s something that the Republican base can actually rally behind. It adds fuel to the fire. Anytime there’s another drip, voters are distracted from whatever dumb thing Trump is saying so it’s not helpful. The more things that come out, the more it highlights the larger trust problem [with Clinton].”
Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, says the controversy is the “continuing story that plagues the Clinton campaign. The great danger is to her credibility because this has gone on for a long time and there are various incompatible details about why she did the things she did and it reminds people that they have been for decades been suspicious of the Clintons.” (The Hill, 6/24/2016)
A Clinton biographer misquotes Colin Powell, making it seem he gave Clinton advice at a party to use her own email account.
Journalist Joe Conason is writing a book about Bill Clinton’s post-presidential years. The New York Times calls Conason “a longtime defender of the Clintons.” While researching for his book, he contacts Powell spokesperson Margaret Cifrino about an alleged dinner party incident. Due to a leak by hackers in September 2016 of all of Powell’s emails from 2014 to late August 2016, the entire correspondence will be made public.
Conason initializes contact with an email to Cifrino on June 17, 2016: “My inquiry chiefly concerns a dinner party he [Powell] attended for then-Senator Clinton in January 2009, which was hosted by former Secretary Madeleine Albright and attended by several former secretaries of state.”
After some back and forth, Conason replies with his questions:
- Did [Powell] attend that dinner, along with former secretaries Kissinger, Christopher, Albright, and Rice?
- Does he recall Secretary Albright asking all of them to give Secretary-designate Clinton one piece of advice from their own time at the State Department?
- Did he advise Mrs. Clinton to use her own email account rather than a State Department account, as he did?”
Cifrino passes on Powell’s reply to Conason:
“Our records show that the dinner was in June, not January. He doesn’t recall Items 2 or 3. He also publicly and widely used his personal email account, but he also had a State Department computer on his desk for classified communications. He does recall sharing with Secretary Clinton his use of his email account and how useful it was and trans-formative for the Department. He knew nothing then or until recently about her private home servers and a personal domain, nor, therefore, could he have advised her on that or suggested it. By June her system may have already been set up.”
On August 18, 2016, the New York Times publishes an article mainly based on Conason’s depiction of the Albright party. Conason claims that Albright asked all of the former secretaries of state at the party to provide one piece of advice to Clinton, and “Powell suggested that she use her own email.” Conason will also include this claim in his book published not long after that.
However, in Powell’s response in the email exchange mentioned above, Powell clearly said he doesn’t recall Albright even asking that question, but did remember the email he exchanged with Clinton on January 23, 2009. Conason appears to be confusing the email with the dinner party. (New York Times, 08/18/16)
Then Conason writes an article for Newsweek on August 22, 2016 accusing Powell of giving “a very different answer” several months earlier. He quotes from the email exchange he had with Cifrino: “[Powell] does recall sharing with Secretary Clinton his use of his email account and how useful it was and trans-formative for the Department. He knew nothing then or until recently about her private home server and a personal domain, nor, therefore, could he have advised her on that or suggested it. By June I would assume her email system was already set up.”
Conason then comments in Newsweek: “So it is perplexing for him to say he doesn’t remember that dinner conversation at all now, since, according to his own assistant, he remembered at least some of what he said as recently as two months ago.”
Note Conason doesn’t quote Powell’s response to the question about the party, and instead gives Powell’s answer about the January 2009 email exchange with Clinton. (Newsweek, 08/16/16)
Additionally, the email leak will also include an exchange between Powell and Rice on August 28, 2016. Powell writes, “I was [with] Maddy [Madeline Albright] the other evening and she doesn’t remember an email conversation or even asking us a question recently.”
Rice writes back, ” Yes — I’m sure it never came up.”
Thus, not only does Conason misquote Powell, but the alleged Albright question at her party may never have happened at all.
Colin Powell expresses anger and frustration over being tied to Clinton’s email scandal.
Many of Powell’s emails indicate he’s angry about being tied to Clinton’s emails and his disdain is not just reserved for Trump. The Washington Post suggests, “Clinton’s decision to cite his use of private email as secretary of state to justify her private email server has clearly proven a sore spot — both in these emails and in previous Powell comments.”
On May 29, 2016, Powell writes to former top Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, “I have told Hilleary’s [sic] minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try,” “The media isn’t fooled and she is getting crucified. The differences are profound and they know it.” (Washington Post, 09/14/16)
The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.
A long list of potentially politically damaging comments made by Clinton in her private paid speeches are included in an email that will later be made public.
An internal review of Clinton’s private paid speeches is conducted by campaign aides, in an effort to survey the political damage her remarks could cause if they ever became public. The review is conducted by Clinton’s research director Tony Carrk. On this day, Carrk sends the results of the review to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and other Clinton aides. His email consists of dozens of pages of potentially politically damaging quotes from Clinton’s speeches. It will get released on October 7, 2016 when WikiLeaks starts publishing emails from Podesta’s private email account. Clinton will confirm the authenticity of the email two days later.
Below are some notable revelations from Carrk’s email:
- Clinton said that with everybody watching “all of the back room discussions and the deals… you need both a public and a private position.”
- Clinton said she had to leave her phone and computer in a special box when traveling to China and Russia, but there is evidence she sent at least one email from Russia.
- Clinton admitted it was against the rules for some State Department officials to use BlackBerrys at the same time she used one.
- Clinton said when she got to State Department, employees “were not mostly permitted to have handheld devices.”
- Clinton asked why the computers of a fugitive whistleblower were not exploited by foreign countries “when my cell phone was going to be exploited.”
- Clinton said that her department officials “were not even allowed to use mobile devices because of security issues.” (Wikileaks, 10/7/2016)