FBI Releases Clinton Email Investigation Files

FBI identified 13 different mobile devices associated with Clinton’s two known phone numbers

Hillary Clinton / AP
September 2, 2016

The FBI on Friday publicly released files from its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, including a summary of the bureau’s interview with Clinton in July.

The documents undermine Clinton’s claims that she used her personal email for official business out of the convenience of carrying only one device.

According to the documents, the FBI identified 13 different mobile devices associated with Clinton’s two known phone numbers that could have been used to send or receive emails on her personal system. Investigators found that Clinton used 11 different BlackBerry devices "in succession," eight of them during her tenure at the State Department.

While the Justice Department asked Clinton’s attorneys at Williams & Connolly to turn over the 13 devices, the lawyers said in February that "they were unable to locate any of these devices," according to the documents.

"As a result, the FBI was unable to acquire or forensically examine any of these 13 mobile devices," the documents state.

Additionally, investigators also identified five iPads associated with Clinton that could have been used to send emails from her personal system. The FBI obtained three of the devices, one of which had emails from Clinton’s personal server that did not contain classified information.

When news of Clinton’s personal email use at the State Department first broke in March 2015, she said during a press conference that she used personal email to conduct official business out of "convenience."

"I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two," Clinton said then.

The FBI also found that State Department employees were sent a notice on Clinton’s behalf in 2011 warning them against using personal email for official business because of "information security concerns."

"State employees were cautioned about security and records retention concerns regarding the use of personal e-mail. In 2011, a notice to all State employees was sent on Clinton’s behalf, which recommended employees avoid conducting State business from personal e-mail accounts due to information security concerns," the documents released Friday state. "Clinton stated she did not recall this specific notice, and she did not recall receiving any guidance from State regarding e-mail policies outlines in the State [Foreign Affairs Manual]."

The FBI began investigating Clinton’s use of personal email last year, in response to a referral from the inspector general of the intelligence community. While the FBI did not ultimately recommend charges be brought against Clinton or her aides, Director James Comey faulted them for being "extremely careless" in their handling of highly-classified information.

The FBI also found that, contrary to Clinton’s claims, more than 100 emails on her private system contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. Investigators also concluded that hostile actors possibly gained access to Clinton’s server.

When questioned about email chains containing information marked "(C)," which denotes classified material, Clinton told investigators that she didn’t know what the marking meant and speculated that it was used to label paragraphs "in alphabetical order," according to the newly-released documents.

"When asked about the e-mail chain containing ‘(C)’ portion markings that State determined to currently contain CONFIDENTIAL information, Clinton stated she did not know what the ‘(C)’ meant at the beginning of the paragraphs and speculated it was for referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order," the documents state.

Clinton also indicated to investigators that she was not concerned about email discussions about future drone strikes containing classified information.

"After reviewing an email dated [redacted] with subject line [redacted] CLINTON stated she did not remember the email specifically. CLINTON stated deliberation over a future drone strike did not give her cause for concern regarding classification," the documents state. "CLINTON understood this type of conversation as part of the routine deliberation process. Moreover, she recalled many conversations about future strikes that have never occurred."

The new documents also provide insight into attempts by potentially hostile actors to gain access to Clinton’s personal system or accounts associated with it.

The FBI through forensic analysis discovered that, on January 5, 2013, an individual using encrypted privacy tool Tor penetrated a staffer’s email account on one of Clinton’s servers. The hacker logged into the email account and "browsed e-mail folders and attachments," according to the FBI documents. The investigation did not identify the individual or individuals responsible.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that the FBI would publicly release documents related to the investigation as early as Wednesday, in response to multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The report was submitted to the Justice Department in July, and portions of the investigative report have also been given to Congress.

"Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal email server she used during her tenure," the bureau said in a statement Friday. "We also are releasing a factual summary of the FBI’s investigation into this matter."

FBI Director James Comey publicly announced that no charges would be recommended at a July 5 press conference, days after the bureau interviewed Clinton for several hours in connection with the investigation.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This post will be updated as further information becomes available.