The number of classified e-mails contained in the State Department’s releases of Hillary Clinton’s correspondence appears to be increasing dramatically. The 215 classified e-mails found in the latest tranche of Clinton e-mails, released Wednesday, surpass the 185 found in all four previous monthly releases combined.
Two of the e-mails were marked “secret,” the highest level of government classification, while most of the others were marked “confidential.” One of the “secret” messages contained the minutes of a June 2008 Trilateral Commission meeting in Jerusalem — presumably sent to Clinton once she became secretary of state — and the other, sent in January 2011, contained information from top aide Jake Sullivan about the Iranian nuclear talks then ongoing in Istanbul.
The classification markings indicate that State Department reviewers classified the information before it was released publicly. This aligns with the contention — put forth by the State Department and Clinton’s campaign — that any sensitive material sent over her private server was classified after-the-fact.
But two separate investigations disagree with that assertion — one conducted by the State Department and intelligence community inspectors general, and another by the CIA. Much of the information is also sourced directly from foreign officials and governments, rendering it immediately classified under federal regulations.
#related#It’s not clear why the number of classified documents increased so dramatically in the latest production. The State Department appears to be releasing Clinton’s e-mails in chronological order, meaning the amount of classified material could fluctuate from release to release depending on the time frame each one covers. State officials have made additional tweaks to the process since last month, moving 50 additional workers into the department’s public records division and bringing in a “transparency czar” to oversee the e-mails’ preparation for release. And intelligence officials have begun working alongside State’s team to determine the proper classification of each message.
The State Department has now released 19,569 of the approximately 55,000 pages of Hillary Clinton e-mails it intends to eventually make public.
— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.