Email to Clinton Contained Sensitive U.S. Intelligence Info

Redactions to an email sent by top aide indicate info revealing internal intel community operations

• January 11, 2016 4:25 pm


Hillary Clinton’s personal email server contained sensitive information disclosing internal workings of the U.S. intelligence community, redactions to a previously unreported email released last month indicate.

In March 2009, shortly after Clinton took office as secretary of state, her top aide Philippe Reines sent an email to her personal address that contained information subsequently redacted pursuant to the National Security Act of 1947.

That law includes language that exempts information from public disclosure that might reveal sensitive information such as confidential intelligence community sources and the "operational files" of U.S. intelligence agencies, which detail their internal structures or operations.

"I think you know that my close friend Jeremy Bash is now Panetta's Chief of Staff at CIA," Reines wrote to Clinton. The subsequent two paragraphs of the email are redacted.

Bash served as Panetta’s chief of staff at both the CIA and the Department of Defense. He and Reines cofounded the consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies in 2013.

Reines’ email was one of thousands released on New Year’s Eve as part of the State Department’s rolling production of emails in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act seeking information about Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The most recent batch of emails, released last week, contained 45 classified emails, bringing the total number of such emails sent to or from Clinton’s personal email address to over 1,000.

The message from Reines was released in the previous email production a week earlier. It was not classified, but national security experts say that it likely contained sensitive information about the internal structure or operations of the U.S. intelligence community.

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst and professor at the U.S. Naval War College, called Reines’ email "a doozy."

"The redaction was very likely on sources and methods grounds," Schindler said in an email. "That’s the VAST majority of how it’s applied. Ultimately [it is] impossible to be 100% sure without, you know, seeing the original."

A State Department report detailing exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act said that redactions that cite the National Security Act are designed to protect "intelligence sources and methods."

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Reines’ email.

Clinton’s email practices while serving as secretary of state have come under scrutiny as security experts have said that her official communications were vulnerable to electronic intrusion.

While she led the State Department, Clinton was warned of repeated attempts by malicious actors to infiltrate the personal email accounts of senior departmental employees.

All of Clinton’s email business during her tenure as secretary was conducted through two personal email accounts housed on a "homebrew" server in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home.

Published under: Hillary Clinton