The Obama administration leveled a devastating blow to Hillary Clinton on Friday by admitting for the first time that her personal email server contained the highest levels of classified U.S. intelligence.
The White House said 22 emails from former secretary of state’s “home brew” server must be censored from public view when the State Department releases its final batch on Friday.
Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus will now try to determine if any of the emails were marked classified at the time of transmission, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge has noted, however, that any discussion about marked or unmarked emails is a legal red herring because trained officials – like Clinton – can spot such intelligence without blatant indicators.
“It is the content that is classified – not the format it is in,” Herridge said Jan. 21, WND reported. “To suggest to people that there is somehow a big rubber stamp with ‘classified’ that’s smacked on every document is completely misleading and that’s something you only see in the movies. Mrs. Clinton knows better because she had to have special training as secretary of state because she has classification authority.”
Sources told the network on Friday the emails were “too damaging” to release under any circumstances.
“The documents alone in and of themselves set forth a set of compelling, articulable facts that statutes relating to espionage have been violated,” a former senior federal law enforcement officer said.
Nearly 100 FBI special agents are attempting to determine whether Clinton violated a subsection of the Espionage Act related to “gross negligence” in handling government documents. Agents are also trying to discern whether co-mingling of the Clinton Foundation and State Department business violated public corruption laws.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brain Fallon called the decision to censor Clinton’s emails “overclassification run amok.”
“We firmly oppose the complete blocking of the release of these emails,” Fallon said statement, AP reported. “Since first providing her emails to the State Department more than one year ago, Hillary Clinton has urged that they be made available to the public. We feel no differently today.”
The White House’s acknowledgment comes just over a week since it was revealed that Clinton’s server contained “special access programs,” or SAP.
Fox exclusively obtained an unclassified letter written by Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III discussing the documents.
“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/SAP levels,” McCullough said Jan. 14 to lawmakers with oversight of the intelligence community and State Department. “According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources.”
State Department spokesman John Kirby told AP on Friday there were seven email chains being withheld from the public due to the sensitive information they contain, which includes SAP.
“The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information,” Kirby said.
Department officials would not say if Clinton was the one who sent the emails, AP reported.