Politics & Policy

State Department Classifies Dozens of Newly-Released Hillary Clinton E-mails

Clinton at the State Department in November 2010. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

The State Department retroactively classified dozens of the 4,000 e-mails it released Friday from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State in 2009, suggesting that sensitive diplomatic and security information was routinely swapped through Clinton’s private e-mail server.

Last week, an inspector general for the intelligence community said he had reviewed 40 random Clinton e-mails and found that four contained secret intelligence information. The redacted e-mails released in the latest document dump were all classified retroactively, with the State Department sticking a secret designation on most of them within the last week. But the apparent frequency with which sensitive diplomatic information was exchanged — including, in at least one instance information pertaining to “weapons of mass destruction” — is sure to raise questions about the vulnerability of Clinton’s private server.

Most of the e-mails were redacted because they contained information that corresponded to sensitive “foreign government information” or “foreign relations or activities” of the U.S. government.

In a series of e-mails exchanged on November 25, 2009, for instance, Clinton twice sends State Department undersecretary William Burns whole paragraphs of now-classified information on the Egyptian government and U.S. relations in that country.

Burns’s reply is also redacted, due to a Freedom of Information Act exemption that shields messages revealing an agency’s “deliberative process. And Clinton’s entire follow-up is labelled classified by the State Department, and again redacted.

Other e-mails showing the exchange of sensitive material over Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server have also been found, with top Clinton aide Huma Abedin sending her boss sensitive information about the Lebanese government on November 9, 2009.

And State Department officials retroactively redacted the entirety of Hillary Clinton’s remarks at a nuclear test-ban conference, which at the time was labelled “sensitive but unclassified.” The remarks are now classified until 2024 because they concerned “weapons of mass destruction.”

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