Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley wants answers, and he wants them now.
On Monday he sent a letter addressed to current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding to know whether anyone at the State Department has been held accountable yet for the security violations that occurred under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Last month the department released a report revealing that during Clinton’s tenure in office, 38 unnamed individuals committed 91 security violations. What remains unclear is whether any of these violators have been punished yet.
“The State Department identified 91 security violations attributable to 38 people,” Grassley wrote. “What are the names and titles of these officials? For each official, what sanction was imposed and at what level was the mishandled information classified?”
Read the full letter below:
He also asked for more information regarding the 497 additional security violations that occurred under Clinton, but that the department had been unable to trace.
“The State Department identified an additional 497 security violations where culpability could not be identified,” he wrote. “Please explain in greater detail why culpability could not be identified and at what level was the mishandled information classified?”
In explaining why he seeks this information, Grassley maintained that it’s fundamental that the mishandling of classified information is treated as a “bipartisan issue” and be “managed with equal application of the law without regard to power, party, or privilege.”
The future Senate Judiciary Committee chair argued further that this should apply to Clinton as well as everybody else.
“[T]hen-Director Comey and the FBI claimed that they did not find evidence of criminal intent and concluded that no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute the case,” he wrote, referring to disgraced former FBI Director James Comey’s stunning decision in 2016 to exonerate Clinton of any culpability.
“However, your Department’s [recent] review found instances in which State Department officials ‘deliberately transmitted [classified information] via unclassified email.’ That finding seems to be at odds with the FBI and requires additional explanation.”
That’s true, though the department did seem to try to downplay these violations by describing them as a “rare exception.”
“Instances of classified information being deliberately transmitted via unclassified email were the rare exception and resulted in adjudicated security violations,” the report released last month reads. “There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.”
The two sentences seen above seem to contradict themselves, ergo one of many reasons why Grassley seeks more information.
The full report may be accessed below:
Continuing his letter, the top Republican mentioned a set of infamous emails that were exchanged between Clinton and former President Barack Hussein Obama and asked for copies of them.
“[A] text message sent by Peter Strzok on June 28, 2016, indicates that Secretary Clinton and President Obama communicated via email while she used her non-government email address for official business,” he wrote.
“Please provide all email communications between Secretary Clinton and President Obama, including those emails referenced by the Strzok text. In addition, in your written response, please note the classification level of those emails and whether they were part of the security review.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has also made attempts to procure these emails from the State Department, but to no avail.
Frustrated by the department’s stonewalling, last week he tried bypassing it by submitting a request to the Archivist of the United States David Ferriero.
In explaining why he sought the emails, he cited communications between disgraced former FBI special agent Peter Strzok and Comey’s then-chief of staff, James Rybicki, in which Strzok referenced these very same emails.
“Jim – I have the POTUS — HRC emails [Director Comey] requested at end of briefing yesterday. I hesitate to leave them, please let me know a convenient time to drop them off,” Strzok reportedly wrote in an email of his own on June 28, 2016.
“Based on this communication, it appears that multiple emails exist between Secretary Clinton and President Obama,” Johnson wrote.
He added that since the Department of Justice had rejected his requests for access to these emails on the basis that they “are not in a position” to produce emails that contain “equities of other branch entities,” he’d chosen to rely on the Presidential Records Act to obtain them.
Read his letter below:
Speaking before the Senate last week, Grassley noted that the sort of security violations committed by Clinton and her team would have resulted in prison sentences for everyday Americans.
“In total, Secretary Clinton’s use of a non-government server for government business caused 588 security violations for mishandling classified information,” he said. “Some of that classified information was classified at the highest levels, including Top Secret/Special Access Program information.”
“According to the FBI, Secretary Clinton sent and received emails that contained that highly classified information. It’s hard to fathom how that wouldn’t undermine our national security. If the average American did that, they’d lose their clearance, their job, and might even go to jail. That’s what happened to a Navy Sailor, Kristian Saucier. He took six photographs inside a submarine that exposed information classified at the Confidential level. He mishandled classified information. He pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in federal prison.”
Listen to Grassley’s speech below:
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