By Aaron Klein
The New York Times reported Friday that government investigators have discovered classified information on correspondence that went through Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state.
In light of the report, it is instructive to recall that communications from Clinton’s personal email account made public in May by the State Department contained sensitive information regarding the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, as first reported by KleinOnline.
Some of the Benghazi correspondence in question, while not officially designated as classified, betrayed the whereabouts of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens while he was stationed in arguably one of the most dangerous zones in the world for any American diplomat.
On Friday, the Times reported the inspectors general of the State Department and the nation’s intelligence agencies stated unequivocally that the secretive information contained in the emails should not have gone through Clinton’s personal server or beyond secure government computers.
Clinton has maintained for months that no confidential information was stored on the personal server set up at her private house. Her campaign told the Times on Friday that any classified information found in the emails was only classified as such after the fact.
Yet U.S. government investigators now say the information discovered was classified when it was sent – meaning its disclosure could harm national security – and remains classified now.
The investigators did not say whether Clinton personally sent the classified information or the details were sent by others to her email account.
“This classified information never should have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” Steve A. Linick, the State Department inspector general, said in a statement also endorsed by I. Charles McCullough III, the U.S. intelligence community’s inspector general.
The investigators would not disclose the contents of the classified information, only divulging it originated from within the U.S. intelligence community.
The classified information discovered in Clinton’s emails could be only the tip of the iceberg. According to the Times, the investigators so far have only searched a small sampling of 40 emails and already those emails contained classified information.
Hillary tipped murdered ambassador’s movements in emails
In May, KleinOnline reviewed the small number of Clinton’s personal emails released that month to the public by the State Department.
That correspondence contained such highly sensitive national security matters as specific threats to the Libya hotel where Ambassador Stevens was staying as well as his decision to remain at the hotel despite the threats.
The emails also contained the exact movements of Stevens while he was stationed in the Libya danger zone, the KleinOnline review found.
On April 24, 2011, Clinton’s senior aide, Huma Abedin, forwarded to Clinton’s personal email an internal State email from that same day written by Timmy Davis and sent to Abedin as well as to the State email addresses of other employees, including Clinton’s then-foreign policy aide, Jacob Sullivan.
The email cited a local report stating hotels in Benghazi were being targeted.
The email, which ran through Clinton’s personal server, stated the interim Libyan government “conducted a raid on a house/storage facility and found and arrested an Egyptian cell reportedly there for the purpose of attacking hotels.”
Despite the threat, the email revealed Stevens “still feels comfortable in the hotel,” meaning the email exposed that the ambassador would continue to stay there.
“They are looking into the idea of moving into a villa, but that is some way off,” the email continued. “Based on discussion with DS yesterday, the hotel remains the safest location.”
Startlingly, the email contained information about Stevens’ exact movements, including that he “will be meeting with MFA in one hour and will make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination.”
On June 10, 2011, Sullivan sent an email to Clinton’s personal address informing that “there is credible threat info against the hotel that our team is using – and the rest of the Intl community is using, for that matter.”
That email divulged: “DS going to evacuate our people to alt locations. Info suggested attack in next 24-48 hours. Will keep you posted.”
Yet another sent to Clinton from Abedin detailed Stevens’ movements regarding his hotel stay
“The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout (paying the hotel bills, moving some comms to the boat, etc.),” wrote Abedin. “He (Stevens) will monitor the situation to see if it deteriorates further, but no decision has been made on departure. He will wait 2-3 more hours, then revisit the decision on departure.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein.