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State Department spokesman John Kirby would not acknowledge on Friday a letter from the intelligence community’s inspector general stating that information on Hillary Clinton’s private server was classified at the time it was sent and received.
Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge asked whether the State Department disagreed with the intelligence community’s determination that Clinton’s email contained information that was highly-classified when it hit the server. The Clinton campaign has argued that the information was only classified retroactively.
“The ICIG’s letter from January 14, we’ve confirmed that it was the finding of the agencies who own the intelligence that they were top secret, even containing SAP information, when they hit the server,” Herridge said, using an acronym for Special-Access Programs, among the most closely-guarded secrets of government. “So this is a settled matter, this is not something that is still being pursued. Do you accept that?”
Kirby would not speak to the letter.
“I’m not going to speak specifically to that letter or the ICIG’s findings. You’d have to talk to them about that,” Kirby said.
Kirby insisted that the State Department would continue its review to determine if information in Clinton's emails needed to be classified and redacted.
“It is the State Department’s responsibility to make the final adjudication on classification,” Kirby said.
Herridge said it was the responsibility of the intelligence agencies who own the information, not the State Department.
“No, that’s not correct,” Herridge said. “The agency that owns the information has final say over the classification, not the State Department, and these declarations relate to intelligence that was not State Department intelligence.”
Kirby conceded that the State Department had accepted the intelligence community's decision to upgrade the information in this case.
“We did this at the request of the intelligence community. We’re owning the decision to upgrade it to top secret, to upgrade them to top secret. We’re owning that decision, that’s what I meant by that,” Kirby said.