State Department spokesman John Kirby could not confirm Wednesday whether Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi-related emails, recovered by the FBI, were duplicates of emails the department had previously released.
A reporter asked Kirby to comment on the number of Clinton emails that were related to Benghazi from when she was secretary of state and whether they contained classified information.
Kirby told the reporter that the State Department had identified approximately 30 Benghazi-related emails that are "potentially responsive." He emphasized that the department has not confirmed if the documents are responsive to Benghazi requests made through the Freedom of Information Act.
"At this time we have not confirmed that the documents are in fact responsive or whether they are duplicates of materials already provided to the department by former Secretary Clinton back in December of 2014," Kirby Said. "I’m not aware because we’re still working our way through, and I’m not aware of potential classification."
The reporter responded by referencing Clinton’s press secretary Brian Fallon, who quickly tweeted out Wednesday that some, if not all, of the 30 emails in question are duplicates.
This story buries the lede: some, or even all, of 30 emails in question may have in fact been turned over already https://t.co/z3Bi9WFKco
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) August 31, 2016
Kirby repeated that they are still working their way through the emails and have not confirmed whether those 30 emails are responsive to Benghazi requests or whether they are duplicates.
The reporter then wanted a clarification on whether there was any classified information in the emails.
"I have no information on that right now" Kirby said.
Kirby was then asked why the State Department requested 5 weeks to review approximately 30 records.
"Because I think you need to keep in mind that this isn’t the only FOIA request we’re staffing right now," Kirby said. "We’ve talked about over the last three years a dramatic increase in FOIA requests. Not just in the number, but in the scope of the information that they’re seeking. It’s a major undertaking."
Kirby said he would not speak to this specific filing timeline, but he told the reporter that these FOIA requests take time and effort to fully provide them to the public.
The State Department has a history of stonewalling FOIA requests when they pertain to Clinton and her tenure as secretary of state.