FBI documents released Monday reveal new details about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business—ranging from her staff’s response after the story went public to glimpses of how she first began using private email as Secretary of State.
The bureau released 100 pages of documents summarizing several interviews from its investigation. Among the people interviewed are FBI and CIA agents, State Department officials, and numerous tech workers at Platte River Networks— the Denver company hired to maintain the Clintons’ private email server.
The documents are heavily redacted. The names of the people interviewed are blanked out.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
“PRESSURE” TO DECLASSIFY EMAILS
Multiple government agents told the FBI they felt “pressure” from the State Department to prevent Clinton’s emails from being marked as classified.
This happened as Clinton falsely denied having sent classified material through her private email system.
Multiple officials told FBI investigators that undersecretary of state Patrick Kennedy applied pressure to declassify emails from Clinton’s server.
One FBI agent says the bureau denied repeated requests in the summer of 2015 from Kennedy to declassify an email related to Benghazi and declined to make a public statement about it. Shortly after, the agent says, Clinton went before reporters to deny sending classified material by email.
That same agent says the pressure from the State department included a “quid pro quo” proposal to allow the FBI to station more of its agents abroad in exchange for declassifying the email in question.
Both the State Department and FBI denied that characterization of a proposed trade on the matter, but admitted that the topics were discussed around the same time as one another.
Other people interviewed described an out-of-the-ordinary process to review whether material should be classified and attempt to redact portions of emails for other reasons instead of marking them as classified.
CLINTON LOVES HER BLACKBERRY
The documents included a hint at how the use of private email for work got started when Clinton took office in 2009.
A telecom expert with the State Department who helped Clinton transition into the job reported he was tasked with seeing if the State department could use secure Blackberry phones “because Clinton and her staff were Blackberry users.”
The telecom expert found that “secure Blackberry phones would require an entirely new infrastructure, which was cost prohibitive,” so secure Blackberries never materialized.
We can’t be sure this is why Clinton kept using her personal email for work… only she knows that.
But we do know she kept using her Blackberry anyway.
In the documents, several staffers interviewed by the FBI say Secretary Clinton kept a Blackberry phone in a secure communications room near her office, even though cell phones weren’t supposed to be inside.
It’s one of many accusations against her that have to do with shrugging off the norms of security in her role as the nation’s top diplomat.
Perhaps the most serious of these came from a Diplomatic Security agent who clearly is no fan of Clinton. He alleged that the most senior agents refused to be on Clinton’s detail by the end of her tenure because she was difficult to work for.
That agent says Clinton put herself, her staff, and the media in unnecessary danger for a photo opportunity in Jakarta, Indonesia—despite warnings from her security detail that the area wasn’t safe enough. The agent believed Clinton was more concerned with good press for her presidential campaign than she was with safety.
The documents also include an interview with a security firm that explored conducting a security probe of Clinton’s private email server on behalf of Platte River Networks. The security testing never ended up happening.