US Elections 2016

C is for confidential, but Clinton said she didn't know

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Legion Convention on Aug 31, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Legion Convention on Aug 31, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

Released FBI documents show she had poor idea of how to handle classified information

WASHINGTON • Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had a slim grasp of how to handle classified information during her time as secretary of state, according to a partially redacted interview released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that was conducted during its now-closed investigation into her use of a private e-mail server for official business.

When shown an e-mail she had received in which a paragraph had been marked with a "C", a standard way of noting that it included "confidential" information, Mrs Clinton at first speculated that the mark indicated that the e-mail contained bullet points in alphabetical order.

Mrs Clinton also said she did not pay attention to the differences between levels of classification, such as "top secret" and "secret", indicating that she took "all classified information seriously".

But when she was shown copies of e-mails marked "Confidential" and "Top Secret/SAP", she said she did not believe those e-mails contained classified information.

Asked about an e-mail that discussed a potential air attack, Mrs Clinton said that "deliberation over a future drone strike did not give her cause for concern regarding classification" because it was "part of a routine deliberation process", according to the summary.

POWELL'S ADVICE

Powell warned Clinton that if it became 'public' that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to 'do business', her e-mails could become 'official record(s) and subject to the law'.

THE FBI REPORT, on Mrs Clinton having asked ex-secretary of state Colin Powell for advice when she took office in 2009.

Mrs Clinton used at least eight different mobile devices to send private e-mail during her tenure as secretary of state - none of which was recovered by the FBI as part of its investigation into her communications practices as the nation's top diplomat, according to a 47-page summary of the investigation released along with the 11-page interview on Friday.

In addition to the eight devices she used, the FBI said they sought at least five additional mobile devices. Mrs Clinton's lawyers said they could not provide any of the mobile devices she used.

One person interviewed by the FBI said he recalled two instances in which Mrs Clinton's devices were destroyed.

The inability to investigate the missing devices means investigators "could not make a determination as to whether" they were hacked, the FBI said. In addition, a personal laptop used to archive Mrs Clinton's e-mails when she was secretary of state went missing after being put in the mail.

The report also revealed that Mrs Clinton had sought former secretary of state Colin Powell's advice after taking office in 2009 on his use of a Blackberry while on the job. Mr Powell, who served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, warned Mrs Clinton to "be very careful" regarding e-mails.

"Powell warned Clinton that if it became 'public' that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to 'do business', her e-mails could become 'official record(s) and subject to the law'," the report said.

"Powell further advised Clinton, 'Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.'"

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'C is for confidential, but Clinton said she didn't know'. Print Edition | Subscribe