On January 29, the U.S. State Department announced that the agency had identified 37 pages of “top secret emails” among the 55,000 pages of emails contained on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Not surprisingly, Clinton’s GOP rivals went straight to work spreading half-truths and misinformation about the announcement.
As former Chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein pointed out in a statement on Friday, several key facts are being left out of the narrative surrounding the announcement.
For starters, the 37 pages of “top secret” communication actually involve only seven chain emails. Each of these seven emails was sent to a larger group of recipients, including the former Secretary of State.
None of the “top secret emails” were sent from Hillary Clinton’s private server.
All of the emails originated from within the State Department’s unclassified system. None of them contained the mandatory “top secret” label which is required for all classified communication.
During a press conference on Friday, State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the emails were being withheld because they meet the definition of top secret communication now.
Kirby also stressed that the emails “were not marked classified at the time that they were sent.”
Was the information contained in the emails considered classified at the time they were sent? Keep in mind that all 55,000 of Clinton’s emails were sent between March 2009 and February 2013. Since the State Department regularly raises the status of unclassified material to the level of classified, it’s more than likely the content of these seven emails was not considered classified when it was sent.
According to Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, “in at least one case, the emails appear to involve information from a published news article.”
The last time the GOP went wild with claims that Clinton had “top secret emails” on her private server, we later found out that the information had been retroactively classified by the FBI.
- There are seven emails which the State Department says are now considered classified.
- The emails originated from inside the agency’s unclassified system.
- They were not marked ‘classified’ or ‘top secret’ when they were sent.
- The emails were not sent by Hillary Clinton, but were sent to her, along with a number of other people.
- One of the ‘top secret emails’ is likely a published newspaper article.
In other words, this is not the huge scandal republicans were hoping for. Instead, it’s just another baseless right wing attack on Hillary Clinton that falls apart under even the slightest amount of scrutiny.
Featured image credit: Pixabay