Final batch of Hillary emails released by State Department (Update: ‘If not classified…’)

posted at 9:21 pm on February 29, 2016 by John Sexton

A final 3,800 pages of emails were released Monday by the State Department. This is the last batch of emails from the total number Clinton handed over to the State Department in December of 2014. The other half of the emails on her server were deemed personal and deleted at her request.

The final release contained no more “top secret” emails but the number of “secret” emails more than doubled from 22 to 45 according to the Washington Times count. In addition, 235 more “confidential” emails were released, bringing the total number of classified emails (at all 3 levels) to 2,079.

The Republican National Committee published the following tally, which differs slightly from the ones published by McClatchy and the Washington Times:

  • 2,075: Total number of emails found to contain classified material.
  • 22: Total number of emails found to contain material classified as “top secret.”
  • 44: Total number of emails found to contain material classified as “secret.”
  • 1,478: Total number of emails found to contain classified “foreign government information.”
  • 28: Total number of emails found to contain classified information on “intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology.”
  • 4: Total number of emails found to contain classified information on “vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security.”
  • 2,063: Total number of emails found to contain classified information on “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”

The Associated Press and some other outlets are making a big deal out of one email released in today’s cache based on some comments about it by State Department spokesman John Kirby:

In releasing the final batch of 3,800 documents, the department also settled a long-running dispute over one sensitive email as intelligence agencies dropped a months-long demand an exchange on North Korea’s nuclear program to be designated “top secret,” the highest level of classification. The State Department, which had insisted the information was not classified at all, partially won its battle over the document as the intelligence community revised its initial assessment and determined the information was “secret,” the next lower classification.

“Based on subsequent review, the intelligence community revisited its earlier assessment,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He added: “The original assessment was not correct and the document does not contain top secret information.”

In fact, this appears to be the same email that was downgraded from “top secret” to “secret” months ago according to a report by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge from December:

The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News that while the emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Clinton’s server, one of them remains “top secret” to this day — and must be handled at the highest security level. The second email is still considered classified but at the lower “secret” level because more information is publicly available about the event.

Meanwhile, let’s pause to remember that with over 2,000 classified emails on her server we’re a long, long way from where this all started last March. This Morning Joe clip hits some of the early highlights:

You could add to Scarborough’s litany some of the later statements, such as “What, like with a cloth or something?” And don’t forget the State Department’s claim all of this was probably a case of parallel information gathering, a claim they seem to have given up on sometime last year. If you want a full run down of this long-running story, this timeline by Sharyl Attkisson is a good place to start.

What’s left to Clinton after a year of modified limited hangouts is the claim that nothing was classified at the time, a claim the State Department has been eager to bolster but which seems to have been resolved in the Intelligence Community’s favor. In addition there’s the claim that none of the emails were “marked” classified at the time, a claim which experts say is immaterial since something can be highly classified without being marked.

What remains is to see whether or not someone will be held accountable. The FBI has over 100 agents working on it and could issue a decision for or against prosecution at any point. But even if it goes this far, almost no one believes the front-runner for the Democratic nomination will be indicted by the Obama Justice Department. Such an outcome, even if it turns out to be warranted for anyone other than Hillary Clinton, beggars belief.

Update: ABC News points out one of the emails released today includes Hillary asking Jacob Sullivan to send something to a NY Times reporter so long as it’s “not classified or otherwise inappropriate….”

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