"We now know what Clinton told the FBI — but should we?" PBS NewsHour 9/2/2016
COMMENT: In my 22yr carrier in the U.S. Navy (now retired), I was cleared for Secret, and trained on classifications. In the military, it is somewhat easier to decide. BUT note, the person responsible for actually assigning the ORIGINAL classification to ANY COMMUNICATION (voice, document, email, etc) is the ORIGINATOR of the communication. There is no magic filter-in-the-sky to place classifications.
There are rules for classifying material, but they are very big, complex, and can change from day-to-day. What is classified Secret today MAY NOT have been classified yesterday.
SUMMARY: On Friday, the FBI released two key documents from its investigation into the private email server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. One file contains the FBI's notes from its interviews with Clinton; the other summarizes the agency's findings. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with NPR's Carrie Johnson about what new information these materials reveal and why their publication is controversial.
HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour): Today, the FBI released two key documents about its investigation into the private email server Hillary Clinton used when she was secretary of state.
One contains the agency's notes from Clinton's FBI interview, and the other is a 47-page summary of the FBI's findings.
NPR's Carrie Johnson is covering the story and joins me now.
So, what's new about the documents that were released today?
CARRIE JOHNSON, NPR: There are several new details, including really a sense of what Hillary Clinton told FBI investigators in that three-and-a-half-hour interview at FBI headquarters on July 2.
Hari, she said she used this personal server as a matter of convenience. She never had a concern that she or anybody close to her was mishandling classified information, and that she actually doesn't recall attending a security briefing or any kind of training about open records lawsuits or open records laws, which is interesting, because these materials only came out after a host of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests from news organizations and calls from Republicans in Congress.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And there was — one of the emails — or at least one of the quotes that we have is about a drone program. I think we can put that up.
It says, “Clinton stated” — this is the FBI saying: “Clinton stated deliberation over a future drone strike didn't give her cause for concern regarding classification.”
Is this willful oversight, ignorance? Was she too busy? What were the reasons that they gave?
CARRIE JOHNSON: Recall, Hari, that the FBI director, James Comey, has said that Hillary Clinton and closest aides were extremely careless with government secrets, but he didn't find enough evidence to prosecute anyone for wrongdoing.
That said, these new documents today include more information about what was going through her own email server, a lot of documents, a lot of emails about the drone program, one of the government's most secret tools in the national security space, to allow officials at the CIA and the Pentagon to engage in extrajudicial killing of terrorists or would-be terrorists overseas.
And what Hillary Clinton was asked about by the FBI were a number of emails about targeted killings about to happen, disputes between different government agencies about who should be targeted for those kinds of drone strikes and other things.
What Hillary Clinton said in response to FBI questions was mainly, listen, I relied on career State Department officials to make determinations about what should be classified and what shouldn't.
She also said that these programs were the subject of multiple debates in media, in newspapers, on television and the like. And, often, her aides were passing around articles from newspapers about drone strikes. So, she thought it was OK to write about that.