Hillary Clinton (Photo: Twitter)

Hillary Clinton (Photo: Twitter)

Just three days before the first votes are cast in the 2016 presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on defense again after the State Department refused to release 22 emails kept on her unsecured server because they contain highly sensitive information.

State Department sources says the 37 pages of emails contain Special Access Program information, some of the most closely guarded secrets in U.S. government.

“This is very telling,” said former U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy, who is now with National Review and is author most recently of “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.”

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McCarthy told WND and Radio America this doesn’t radically change the scope of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s server since it’s already known that more than 1,300 emails contained classified information and have been released with the sensitive parts redacted. Still, he believes this highlights the seriousness of Clinton’s actions.

“With respect to these 22 (emails), there is actually a blanket prohibition on disclosure and the reason is that they fear there are other copies of these emails out there,” McCarthy said.

“If they release any part of them, whoever may have those emails will have it confirmed to them that you’re dealing with a Special Access Program national security intelligence matter,” he said.

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He said tipping anyone off to such information could have horrific consequences.

“When that kind of stuff gets revealed and people work backward or go to school on the information that’s out there, that can result not only in the compromise of important sources of intelligence but also potentially in the killing of people who are spies or covert informants,” McCarthy said.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Andrew McCarthy:

The Clinton campaign calls the State Department decision “overclassification run amok” and insists bureaucratic infighting over what qualifies as classified is all that’s happening in this story.

McCarthy dismissed that assessment and said this is the latest evidence that ought to give voters great pause this year.

“As a candidate, I think it makes it even less appropriate for her to be given an even higher position of public trust,” he said.

The Obama White House also waded into the Clinton investigation on Friday, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest downplaying the likelihood that Clinton will face any legal trouble for her actions over the server.

“That’s not something I’m worried about,” Earnest said. “Some officials have said she is not the target of the investigation, and it does not seem to be the direction in which it is trending.”

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McCarthy finds that statement puzzling.

“The political parts of the government, including the White House and the White House staff, shouldn’t know what’s going on in the Justice Department’s investigation,” he said.

McCarthy also said Earnest is using slippery language by saying Clinton is not the “target” of the investigation. He said in the legal community the terms “target” or “subject” are reserved only for situations when a grand jury has begun to investigate a specific person. Since there is no grand jury, McCarthy said Earnest’s statement is meaningless.

He said the FBI should not be rushed by the political calendar, but he also said this probe really shouldn’t take that long.

“A classified information case is easier to investigate than other kinds of cases in the sense that the argument is either where they belong or they’re not,” McCarthy said. “They were either transmitted to people who shouldn’t have had them transmitted to them or they weren’t.”

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