The batch of Hillary Clinton e-mails released Thursday afternoon is the smallest in months. But there’s a higher rate of classified documents in the latest production than in any since the first of her e-mails were released, and one is labeled “Secret” — the first new document found with that highly sensitive classification in four months.
The State Department missed a court-imposed deadline on Thursday, producing less than two-thirds of the e-mails promised to a federal judge and making today’s production the smallest since July. Still, just under 9 percent of the 3,100 e-mails were marked classified by State Department reviewers. That’s up dramatically from last month’s 6.5 percent, the previous high.
Most of the classified e-mails were marked “Confidential,” a middling level of classification used by the federal government. But one e-mail was marked “Secret,” the second-highest classification level, just below “Top Secret.” The last time the department produced a document marked “Secret” was in September.
The e-mail was sent to Clinton by Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary for the Middle East. Both subject line and body of the e-mail were entirely redacted by State Department reviewers. The document was marked “SBU” in multiple places, an abbreviation meaning “Sensitive but Unclassified.”
#share#Clinton is under investigation by the FBI for her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Much of that investigation centers on whether she sent or received classified government material through an unsecured server. Clinton and her campaign have maintained that she never knowingly sent or received classified material, and the State Department has said that all the e-mails it has released have been classified retroactively. The CIA and other intelligence-community reviewers dispute that claim, saying that at least four e-mails – including two labeled “Top Secret” — were classified at the time they were sent.
Thursday’s incomplete production means that the State Department will have to rush next week to comply with the court order. They plan on releasing more of Clinton’s e-mails by the end of next week.
– Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review Online.