WASHINGTON – For the first time, the U.S. State Department acknowledged on Friday that “top secret” information had been sent through the private computer server of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. Twenty two of the presidential candidate’s emails will not be released to the public because they are filled with highly classified material.
Of course, it remains unclear what the “top secret” emails were about. The department also announced that 18 emails exchanged between Mrs. Clinton and President Barack Obama would not be available to the public but John Kirby, the department’s spokesman, clarified the emails did not contain classified information.
The department did not not accomplish the release of all 55,000 pages of Clinton’s emails by Friday as ordered by a court mandate. Officials said that nearly 1,000 pages of Clinton’s emails would be released yesterday but, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, it was required to finish the production on Friday and reveal the remaining 9,900 pages of the Secretary’s emails.
Kirby said the emails were not marked “top secret” at the time they were sent, but that they were deemed highly classified at the request of intelligence officials.
Clinton’s campaign released a statement on Friday calling for a release of all the emails. “We firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails,” declared campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. “Since first providing her emails to the State Department more than one year ago, Hillary Clinton has urged that they be made available to the public. We feel no differently today.”
Mr. Fallon also said in the statement that the emails were probably originated on the State Department’s unclassified system before Mrs. Clinton received them and that they have been on this system for years.
The top secret emails led to criticism among Clinton’s rivals in the presidential race of her exchanging classified material while she was secretary of state in the period 2009-2013, since it is illegal for officials to handle classified information on unclassified networks that are intended for routine business or on private servers. The Federal Bureau of Intelligence is trying to find out whether the material involved was mishandled.
The State Department has previously released emails that have been redacted because they were deemed to contain material that should not be released to the public, but the 22 highly classified emails are the first ever to be entirely blocked.
It remains unknown whether those classified emails were actually written by Mrs. Clinton or were produced by other State Department officials and then forwarded by her closest assistants.
Source: ABC News