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When State Department spokesman John Kirby was unable to answer a question about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal on Monday, Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge helped him out.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Kirby if he knew when Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, left the State Department. Kirby didn’t have an answer.
“When did Ms. Mills cease to be an employee of the State Department?” Lee asked.
“Uh, I do not have her exit date, Matt,” Kirby said, but was met again with a similar question.
“It was not when Secretary Clinton left, correct?” Lee asked.
“I don’t know for sure. I don’t know. You’re going to have to let me get back to you,” Kirby said.
Just then, Herridge offered to read a State Department letter, which showed that Mills maintained a Top Secret clearance even after she left the State Department.
“Her clearance was going to be administratively terminated because her employment had finished,” Herridge said. “But then, Mrs. Clinton asked that it be extended so she could do research.”
That “research,” Herridge said, was combing through Secretary Clinton’s emails to decide which would be deleted and which would be given to the State Department for review.
“Now we know that the research was to go through the emails and determine what was government business and what should be deleted,” Herridge said.
“Do I even need to be here?” Kirby joked in response to Herridge’s authoritative answer.
Under “standard practice,” Mills should have lost her security clearance upon leaving the State Department. According to letters obtained by Fox News, however, Mills has retained her Top Secret clearance, even though her former boss is under investigation for sending classified information over an unsecured, private email server.
Mills was one of at least a dozen Clinton aides who used private email to transmit Top Secret information. Clinton has repeatedly argued that she did not send or receive information marked classified, although a State Department review has revealed that over a thousand of Clinton’s emails contained classified information, and 22 emails contained Top Secret information, one of the highest levels of classification.