Hillary Clinton’s use of private email accounts and a private server is proving to be a far more persistent problem for the Democratic presidential contender than Benghazi.
After repeated denials from Clinton that she did not handle classified information through her private email accounts, it was learned Tuesday that two emails classified as “Top Secret” have been identified, and that Clinton’s attorneys have agreed to turn over to the FBI the private server she used, along with a thumb drive containing thousands of e-mails.
The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications – more sensitive than previously known.
The notice came as the State Department inspector general’s office acknowledged that it is reviewing the use of “personal communications hardware and software” by Clinton’s former top aides after requests from Congress.
“We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate,” said Douglas Welty, a spokesman for the State Department’s inspector general.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton is cooperating with the FBI, but did not clarify if her camp voluntarily turned over the server and thumb drive or were ordered to do so by federal authorities, according to the Washington Post.
“She directed her team to give her e-mail server that was used during her tenure as secretary to the Department of Justice, as well as a thumb drive containing copies of her e-mails already provided to the State Department,” Merrill said. “She pledged to cooperate with the government’s security inquiry, and if there are more questions, we will continue to address them.”
And now that her top aides are being drawn into the federal probe, the impact on her presidential aspirations cannot be ignored, even though officials have said that Clinton is not a target in the investigation.
According to McClatchyDC:
The expanding inquiry threatens to further erode Clinton’s standing as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Since her reliance on private email was revealed in March, polls in crucial swing states show that increasing numbers of voters say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, in part, because of her use of private emails.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is calling on Clinton and her aides to “come clean and cough up” information about their personal email use, McClatchyDC reported.
“Both the State Department and Intelligence Community inspectors general should be looking into the staff use of the Clinton private server for official State Department business,” said the Republican senator from Iowa. “This means giving both inspectors general access and custody of all emails that haven’t already been deleted.
“From what is publicly known, it appears that the investigation thus far has focused so much on the former secretary of state, that it’s gotten lost that high-level staff apparently also used this server too.”
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