During Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, a stock trader and major Clinton Foundation donor was assigned to a government intelligence advisory board despite no evident qualifications for the job, according to newly released State Department emails.
ABC News reported that Rajiv Fernando, who specialized in electronic investing, sat on the International Security Advisory Board to help advise Clinton on nuclear weapons issues while she served as secretary of state.
The panel is composed primarily of nuclear scientists, security experts, and former members of Congress, raising questions from ABC News in 2012 over Fernando’s lack of experience in the field.
The newly released messages show that, when contacted by ABC, officials who worked on the advisory board conveyed confusion about Fernando’s appointment in internal emails sent to State Department colleagues.
"I have spoken to [State Department official and ISAB Executive Director Richard Hartman] privately, and it appears there is much more to this story that we’re unaware of," Jamie Mannina, a former Clinton press aide, wrote in one of the newly-released emails. "We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the Board."
"As you can see from the attached, it’s natural to ask how he got onto the board when compared to the rest of the esteemed list of members," Mannina continued.
A top agency official wrote to Mannina that Fernando had likely been assigned to the position by Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff.
Two days after ABC News requested Fernando’s resume from the State Department in 2011, he announced his resignation.
"Mr. Fernando chose to resign from the Board earlier this month citing additional time needed to devote to his business," Mills wrote in a statement then. "Mr. Fernando brought a unique perspective to ISAB. He has years of experience in the private sector in implementing sophisticated risk management tools, information technology and international finance."
The agency never provided ABC News with his resume.
Fernando donated heavily to Clinton and President Obama. He contributed maximum campaign donations to Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid before becoming a major fundraiser for Obama in the general election.