Hillary Clinton’s Email Contained Top Secret Information, CIA Review Confirms

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton / AP
September 8, 2015

A special review by two intelligence agencies confirmed that two of the emails contained on Hillary Clinton’s personal email system contained top secret information at the time they were sent.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) conducted the review of Clinton’s email, which backed up previous conclusions made by the inspector general of the intelligence community, the New York Times reported.

The review comes after both Clinton’s presidential campaign and the State Department cast doubt on the findings by I. Charles McCullough III, arguing that the emails may have been over-classified. Clinton has repeatedly insisted she never sent or received information marked classified on her personal system while working as secretary of state, most recently doing so during an interview with the Associated Press Monday in Iowa.

"I did not send or receive any information marked classified. I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so," the Democratic presidential candidate said.

Nevertheless, the CIA and NGA concluded that both emails in question—one containing details about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program—hold top secret information, which is the highest level of classification for government intelligence.

The Clinton campaign again pushed back on the conclusions Monday, dismissing them as evidence of "bureaucratic infighting" within the intelligence community.

"Our hope remains that these releases continue without being hampered by bureaucratic infighting among the intelligence community and that the releases continue to be as inclusive and transparent as possible," campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said, referencing the release of Clinton’s work-related emails by the State Department.

State spokesman John Kirby similarly dismissed classification as "rarely a black and white question."

"Very often both the State Department and the intelligence community acquire information on the same matter through separate channels. Thus, there can be two or more separate reports and not all of them based on classified means. At this time, any conclusion about the classification of the documents in question would be premature," Kirby alleged in a statement.

During the Iowa interview Monday, Clinton refused to apologize for exclusively using a personal email system while working in the Obama administration.

"What I did was allowed," she said. "It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that."

Recently, State Department whistleblowers said that markings on four emails contained on Clinton’s private email were changed to a category that blocks Congress and the public from viewing their contents. They said they suspect State is trying to conceal the extent to which Clinton stored classified information on her system.

"There is always a debate among different agencies about what something should be retroactively [marked classified]," Clinton said Monday. "But at the time, there were none. So I’m going to keep answering the questions and providing the facts so that people can understand better what happened."