Deputy Assistant Secretary spokesman Mark Toner concedes that a review of about 7,000 pages of emails in the latest batch of Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails have uncovered 150 communications ‘that have been subsequently upgraded classified.’
The Daily Mail Reports:
- State will publish about 7,000 pages of emails at 9:00 p.m. from Hillary’s private home-brew server after scouring them for classified material
- Another 150 messages will be added to the 63 that were already classified retroactively
- Clinton faces political pressure from both her right and left flanks as her email crisis deepens
- Asked if he could state categorically that Clinton ‘followed the rules and the law,’ a State Department spokesman said: ‘I’m just not going to answer that question’
The State Department said Monday afternoon that when it releases the latest tranche of Hillary Clinton‘s emails tonight, ‘somewhere around 150’ of them will have been ‘upgraded to classified’ status.
Agency spokesman Mark Toner briefed reporters in advance of the periodic release, which was rescheduled twice during the day and is now expected at 9:00 p.m. EDT.
Under intense questioning, Toner conceded that the review of about 7,000 pages of emails in the latest batch has uncovered the 150 communications ‘that have been subsequently upgraded classified.’
He emphasized that ‘the information we’ve upgraded was not marked classified at the time the emails were sent.’ But Toner seemed to hedge his bets against future decision-making inside the U.S. Intelligence Community.
‘That’s our estimation right now,’ said Toner.
But ‘we have upgraded some – a number of these,’ Toner said, signaling that former Secretary of State Clinton will face a new round of criticism over her decision to commingle those sensitive communications with her personal emails during her four years in office.
All the messages, including the 63 retroactively classified emails released in past months, resided on a private home-brew email server that she controlled, away from the prying eyes of government inspectors and Freedom Of Information Act officials, at her Chappaqua, New York home.
Toner also said he did not know of any cases of emails that were already released undergoing another round of scrutiny with an eye toward identifying more classified documents.
‘That’s not our belief,’ he said. ‘We stand by what’s been released.’
The Associated Press reported that all of the newly classified material in the latest batch was upgraded to ‘confidential,’ not to the higher ‘top secret’ level that applied to two emails identified a month ago.
Clinton said last week in Ankeny, Iowa during a presidential campaign stop that using a single self-monitored email account for both her personal and official communications was in retrospect a mistake.
She insisted, though, that it was legal and fell within the bounds of departmental policy.
‘My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice,’ Clinton told reporters.
‘I should’ve used two emails: one personal, one for work. And I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible.’
Toner said that combined with earlier releases in May, June and July, Monday’s document-dump will bring the State Department more than one-quarter of the way toward releasing the 55,000 pages of emails Clinton handed over late last year.
Lost, however, are a similar number – amounting to more than 30,000 messages – that Clinton ordered deleted. She first said in March that those messages were all ‘personal’ in nature.
On Monday, Toner insisted that the entire State Department lives daily with the grave responsibility for safeguarding classified information, and that includes the agency’s senior leadership.
Asked about a section of the Foreign Affairs Manual in effect during Clinton’s tenure which spelled out the rules for handling intelligence from foreign sources, he insisted that ‘we, from the secretary on down, take the handling of classified materials and the rules surrounding those … seriously.
‘We’re all bound by –’ he began to say, before rephrasing his answer.
‘How we treat classified information is, as I said, an important component of the work we do.’
But asked moments later if he could state ‘categorically’ that Clinton ‘followed the rules and the law,’ Toner refused to take the bait.
‘I’m just not going to answer that question,’ he said. ‘It’s not our goal, it’s not our function in this regard, in releasing these emails.’
‘Our goal and our sole purpose when we look at these emails is to decide … whether any of that material needs to be redacted and subsequently classified.’
Pressed further to pass judgment on Clinton’s actions, Toner emphasized that ‘there are other reviews underway.
‘And that’s really for the inspector general and other entities that are out there looking at these broader questions,’ he said.