More Than 1,200 Clinton Emails Now Deemed Classified
|Hillary Clinton has stressed that she did not send any classified information. | Getty|
More than 1,200 emails from Hillary Clinton's private server during her time at the State Department have now been deemed classified, after the agency publicly released its eighth batch of the messages late Thursday.
The agency released roughly 5,500 more pages of emails from the private email account that Clinton exclusively used during her four years at Foggy Bottom, with an additional 275 messages now upgraded to classified, bringing the total number of retroactively classified emails that moved through Clinton’s unsecured server to 1,274.
Clinton, after the scandal about her use of private email broke in March, initially said that there was no classified material on her email account. She has since stressed that she did not send any classified information and that no messages she sent or received were marked classified at the time.
The State Department also said on Thursday that it fell short of its court-ordered goal of releasing 43,000 pages of the trove by the end of the year.
“We have worked diligently to come as close to the goal as possible, but with the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule we have not met the goal this month,” said the agency, which fell about 2,000 pages short of the target.
State's lawyers will likely have to report to a judge next week about its lapse, and the agency said it will drop another batch of emails next week in an attempt to get back on track. All releasable emails are supposed to be made public by Jan. 29.
The trove released on Thursday, which covered periods from 2009 through the beginning of 2013, included messages that showed both Clinton’s frustrations while at State and some lighter moments.
In one exchange between Clinton and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills in April 2012, Mills forwards an email with the subject line “Photo gone viral!” that includes the now-iconic image of Clinton with dark sunglasses on, looking at her BlackBerry.
Clinton responds to Mills with, “Why now? That was on my way to Libya?” Mills then writes back, “You look cute.”
Another back-and-forth, this time between Clinton and top aide Jake Sullivan, has Clinton discussing who deserves credit for using the term “pivot” to Asia.
Sullivan forwards an article in May 2012 that included the line “Ever since President Obama announced a 'pivot' to Asia and Secretary Clinton declared this to be 'America's Pacific Century' Washington's Asia policy has been firing on all cylinders.”
While Sullivan proclaims the article a “terrific piece and well worth the trip to India to produce,” Clinton fixates on the “pivot” line. “Remind—didn’t we, not the WH, first use the ‘pivot’?” Clinton writes to Sullivan. He responds, “Yes, but happy to give it to them at this point. Can discuss.”
An email from Neera Tanden, meanwhile, reveals that billionaire liberal donor George Soros apparently regretted supporting Barack Obama over Clinton in the 2008 primaries. In a May 2012 message to Clinton, Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress, recounted a conversation she had while seated next to Soros at a dinner sponsored by the liberal major donor club called Democracy Alliance.
After Tanden informed Soros that she had worked for Clinton during her 2008 run, Tanden wrote that Soros “said he's been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy and said he hasn't met with the President ever (though I thought he had). He then said he regretted his decision in the primary - he likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them. He then extolled his work with you from your time as First Lady on."
Soros, in the first half of 2015, contributed more than $2 million to pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA.
Two other emails highlight the extent to which Clinton as secretary of state continued her involvement with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Foundation — at least from a distance. A Sept. 15, 2011 email shows State sent 10 of Clinton’s senior staffers to the 2011 annual CGI event, where world leaders and CEOs mingle to discuss global problems while also striking business deals.
A staffer emailed Mills the list of State attendees under subject line “DOS participation at CGI.” They included: deputy secretary of state for management and resources Tom Nides, ambassador for global women’s issues Melanie Verveer; under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment Bob Hormats, and several others.
In another Jan. 17, 2013 email, Clinton asks her assistant to print out recommendations on CGI and Clinton Foundation leadership, sent from her friend Jan Piercy, executive vice president of ShoreBank International. “Regarding the Clinton Foundation leadership: I feel -- as do MANY -- passionate and impatient to see leadership that could unite CGI and the Foundation in more strategic, thoughtful engagement of both philanthropic contribution and investment resources,” she writes. “So, who?” Her suggestions are redacted.
While the State Department is nearing the end of its releases, the agency overall has struggled to keep up with a court-mandated monthly schedule to post the roughly 54,000 pages of messages Clinton turned over to her former agency last November. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, a judge ordered periodic releases at the end of each month beginning in June and ending next month. The agency has had to review the documents for sensitive material and has redacted portions of many of the messages.
The messages released on New Year’s Eve were also not as user-friendly and easily searchable as they have in the past. Due to apparent time constraints, the messages aren’t searchable by the subject, the email’s author, or the recipients — meaning reporters and other observers have to click on each message individually to find out who sent it and to whom.
The department said it will “be adding this missing data in January 2016 and expect to be done by the end of the month.”
The latest hiccup adds to the drama that has surrounded Clinton’s exclusive use of private email accounts and a private server during her four years at State.
While the temperature has lowered on the scandal, the Democratic front-runner’s headaches are far from over. There’s an ongoing FBI investigation into her email set-up, courts are still ordering the release of emails from her top aides, and a number of congressional probes are percolating.
The amount of classified material has proven to be an extra complication for the State Department. In July, just one month into the court-ordered release process, State fell behind the goals set by U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras.
Contreras had urged the department to process 15 percent of the roughly 54,000 pages of Clinton emails by July 31. The agency by that date had cranked out about 12 percent.
State initially said it would take two months to get the releases back on track, but it managed to do so after just one month. The late August release of more than 7,000 pages put the agency back in line with the judge's order.
Initial estimates put the total number of emails in Clinton’s private account that were turned over to State last year at about 55,000 pages. Subsequent estimates put the figure closer to 54,000 pages. The State Department has deemed about 1,500 of those pages purely personal and says it does not plan to process them for release under the Freedom of Information Act.
Kyle Cheney and Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.