The State Department today released the largest batch of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server to date 7,800 pages. Some 66 percent of the 52,000 pages of email she turned over to the government are now available for review and the State Department is on pace to have all of the documents released by January 2016, as ordered by a federal court.
The documents released today are mostly from 2012 and 2013, but include others that span her tenure as Secretary of State. The State Department has not been able to release the email in chronological order because much of it had to be set aside to be reviewed by other government agencies. Officials say many of those pages of email that have been held up were in today’s release.
One email from November 2010, titled “Follow up,” was just recently cleared by the Director of National Intelligence and deemed unclassified. The DNI had previously made public its decision to flag that email for further review. Although the content of the email was unknown until today, it was a discussion between a New York Times reporter and a spokesperson at the State Department, it and others still under scrutiny by government agencies have been seized upon by those critical of Clinton’s use of a private email server. Ultimately this email was not deemed classified, but many other have been.
The latest batch contains 328 emails deemed to have classified information. According to the State Department, that brings the total number with classified information to 999.
The emails in question were deemed classified before their release by the department – and the former secretary of state has said all along she never sent emails with material marked classified at the time.
But the large number of emails containing now-classified material further underscores how much sensitive information was crossing her private server, a situation her critics have described as a security risk.
Her email practices are also the subject of a federal investigation.
The documents in Monday’s release were largely sent or received in 2012 or 2013.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau described it as the department’s largest production to date as part of the court-ordered disclosure of emails from the personal server Clinton used while leading the department.
The emails also cover the tumultuous period before and after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terror attacks. On the night of the attacks, the communications show Clinton notifying top advisers of confirmation from the Libyans that then-Ambassador Chris Stevens had died.
Early the next morning, Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills tells Clinton they “recovered both bodies” and were looking to get out a statement; Sean Smith, information management officer, was the other State Department employee killed that night.
Another exchange from early 2013 shows retired diplomat James Jeffrey appearing to do damage control over a Washington Post piece from him titled, “How to Prevent the Next Benghazi.”
Jeffrey starts the conversation by warning Mills he’d been contacted by the Post regarding his views and reluctantly agreed to comply. He warns it would be posted and “you may see this piece as critical of expeditionary diplomacy. It’s not; I’ve risked my life practicing it. But having lost over 100 personnel KIA and WIA (and two ARBs judging me) in my time in Iraq (and a son going back to Afghanistan on Department assignment this summer) I feel very strongly that we have to be prudent. If the media ask me if there is any daylight between me and you all I will cite the Pickering Mullen ARB and the Secretary’s testimony and say absolutely not.”
Forwarding the article, he adds, “(Title is not what I gave them and stupid as I state explicitly at the end that being in Benghazi was the right policy call).”