The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released this week the report containing the details of the interview held with Hillary Clinton, the now presidential candidate, during the investigation into irregular emails sent during her time as a Secretary of State through her private server.
Along with the interview’s summary, the Bureau released a factual overview of the investigation.
“We are making these materials available to the public in the interest of transparency and in response to numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests,” was noted by the FBI National Press Office.
The email scandal started this year when the FBI started investigating the use of private and locked accounts s in government’ communications in the interest of transparency. Clinton, in a critical decision-making position at the time, refused to use the official server (@gov.us) and instead, used her private email server (@clinton.com) where allegedly she sent and received classified and sensitive information linked with her role as secretary of state. This raised questions about the legitimacy of the communication channel: Whether using personal email to Office’s related information was appropriate or not, and the decisions Clinton may have made at the moment, without any official control.
This raised questions about the legitimacy of the communication channel: Whether using personal email to Office’s related information was appropriate or not. Also, the scandal raised an issue of trust in the decisions Clinton may have made at the moment and the background reasons for it, since the use of the personal email to exchange information seemed, somehow, a way to hide information from other branches of the power.
The interrogatory that did not achieve many answers
More than 30 times the response of the presidential candidate when asked about key elements of the classified information she handled in her personal email accounts was “I do not recall.”
FBI officers aimed to clarify the classification marking in Clinton’s emails since one of the main concerns was the quantity of classified or secret information that should have been processed in the State’s server was being handled in a personal email server. Clinton initially stated in the interview she did not know about classification markings as a system to determine the level of sensitivity of the information.
“She did not pay attention to the level of classified information and took all classified information seriously,” said the report. To Clinton, relying on the State officers and employees’ appropriate judgement about sending sensitive information to her email was the main classification marking system.
The content of the mysterious emails
The authorities investigated thousands of emails and email threads. One of the things about their content discussed in the interview was the “conversations” about the drone program and possible military strikes.
FBI officers questioned Clinton’s decision to sustain conversations about the drone program since military information should not be kept in private email threads. The former Secretary of State answered that conversations are a regular part of the deliberation process when a policy is being made, or a political decision is discussed. Also, she stated that strikes discussed in the emails were events that never took place, and the classification of this as a set of data (or information) depended on the context.
Everyone can send me an email… or not
Clinton stated that at least a hundred people had her email address and that her contact info was available to several State employees, to defend herself from the accusation of having a personal email as, in some way, secret channel of communication.
But FBI’s investigation interview State employees and senior staffers about this matter, and some said that they never had direct access to her email address since all email sent by the former secretary was signed with “H” and it was that single letter what appeared in the sender field.
Also, a critical finding: Most of the employees interviewed declared they did not know that Clinton used a private server to communicate State matters and discovered this only when it became publicly investigated.