Watchdog Calls for Special Counsel to Probe Clinton Emails

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An ethics watchdog group is calling for a special counsel to spearhead a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email following the release of  a new video that shows a State Department official discussing the use of unclassified systems to pass sensitive information.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) called the need for a special counsel to investigate Clinton’s email “urgent” in light of the new revelations, adding that the Obama administration has a “clear conflict of interest” when it comes to the controversy surrounding its former secretary of state.

The video, obtained by Fox News, shows State Department official Wendy Sherman in 2013 talking about Clinton and her aides using their Blackberrys to send and receive sensitive information on an unclassified system.

Sherman, who was appointed undersecretary of state by Hillary Clinton, served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. She left her post following the conclusion of the Iran nuclear talks.

“Now we have BlackBerrys, and it has changed the way diplomacy is done. Things appear on your BlackBerrys that would never be on an unclassified system,” Sherman said during her speech at a 2013 State Department event. “But you’re out traveling, you’re trying to negotiate something. You want to communicate with people, it’s the fastest way to do it.”

Sherman went on to reference Clinton’s September 2011 appearance at the United Nations General Assembly during which she met with Lady Catherine Ashton of the European Union and engaged in Middle East peace negotiations.

“So they sat there, as they were having the meeting, with their BlackBerrys, transferring language back and forth between them and between their aides to multitask in a quite a new fashion. To have the meeting and at the same time be working on the [Middle East] Quartet statement,” Sherman stated.

According to Clinton emails released by the State Department, one email thread from September 2011  contained information about the Middle East Quartet statement. Some of the emails were redacted by the State Department before their release, indicating that they contain classified information.

Former U.S. attorney Matthew Whitaker, who serves as FACT executive director, said that the video is further evidence of how Clinton risked national security by using unsecured systems to conduct government business.

“The need to appoint special counsel with broad jurisdiction to investigate the Hillary Clinton email scandal has never been more urgent, as we learn of yet another disturbing instance of Clinton putting our national security at risk by using unsecured systems to recklessly transmit classified information,” Whitaker said in a statement.

“The story is getting darker and more incriminating for Clinton, the Obama administration has a clear conflict of interest, and the integrity of our justice system hangs in the balance.”

Despite reports that an intelligence community review found several dozen classified emails on Clinton’s server, the former secretary of state has insisted that she never sent nor received information marked classified on her personal email.

Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, has witnessed her support among primary voters fall in the wake of new revelations about her private email. A Fox News national poll out Monday showed that Clinton has fallen below 50 percent among likely Democratic primary voters for the first time in months.

Clinton is also trailing her challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), in Iowa and New Hampshire, both key early-voting states.

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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