Senate Judiciary Committee Chair: Hillary Clinton Emails Pose ‘Serious National Security Risk’

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton / AP
August 18, 2015

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) is questioning the security clearance of Hillary Clinton’s attorney amid revelations that multiple of her emails to which he had access contain "top secret" information.

Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, authored a letter to longtime Clinton lawyer David Kendall on Friday demanding he provide information regarding the "security clearance" he possessed to maintain control of three computer thumb drives containing the approximately 30,000 work-related emails Clinton turned over to the State Department from her private system.

"The transmission of classified material to an individual unauthorized to possess it is a serious national security risk," Grassley wrote. "Moreover, if a person unauthorized to maintain custody of the classified materials does in fact maintain custody, it raises legitimate questions as to whether the information was properly secured from foreign governments and other entities."

"Many intelligence community personnel, uniformed personnel and the American people may be at risk when classified material is not properly secured," the senator added.

Intelligence community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough, III determined that at least two of the emails contain "top secret" information reportedly regarding drones. Moreover, 305 of the emails have been flagged for possibly holding classified information.

The State Department alleged last month that the government agency had given Kendall "instructions regarding appropriate measures for physically securing the documents" contained on the thumb drives, but the FBI decided last week that he could not continue to possess emails containing classified information. Kendall was forced to hand over the thumb drives.

Grassley voiced skepticism regarding the "security clearance" that gave Kendall the ability to hold the "top secret" information for the time he did, citing reports that Kendall has possessed the classified information since as early as December 2014 without "having an adequate security clearance" or  "appropriate tools in place to secure the thumb drives."

Grassley demanded Kendall send information to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his own security clearance--and that of any of his associates at law firm Williams & Connolly--that enabled him to possess the former secretary of state’s classified emails.

The letter comes weeks after Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) expressed similar concern that Kendall’s handling of the emails could result in "serious consequences to national security."

The FBI has launched an investigation into the security of Clinton’s email system, which has forced the Democratic presidential candidate to hand over the personal server she used while secretary of state.