How the State Department Caved to Hillary Clinton’s Lawyer on Classified Emails

How the State Department Caved to Hillary Clinton’s Lawyer on Classified Emails

Clinton’s private lawyer got his way when he pushed back after being asked to delete all copies of a classified email—a level of deference an expert calls ‘far from the norm.’
The State Department put up virtually no resistance when Hillary Clinton’s private lawyer requested to keep copies of her emails—even though those emails contained classified information, and even though it was unclear whether the attorney was cleared to see such secrets.

Experts on the handling of classified information tell The Daily Beast that the seemingly chummy arrangement between Clinton’s lawyer and her former State Department aides was “quite unusual.”

Newly released documents, obtained by The Daily Beast in coordination with the James Madison Project under the Freedom of Information Act, include legal correspondence and internal State Department communications about Clinton’s emails. Those documents provide new details about how officials tried to accommodate the former secretary of state and presidential candidate.

In May 2015, a senior State Department official informed Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, that government reviewers had found at least one classified email among the messages she sent using a private account, which she used exclusively while in office. That email was only part of the “first tranche” of the review, a State Department employee noted at the time, leaving open the possibility that more classified information would be found, which it was.

Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management, who had worked under Clinton, asked Kendall to delete all electronic copies of the message in his possession. (Copies were sent to the State Department.)

But Kendall resisted, saying he needed a full record of his own of the 55,000 pages of emails Clinton had sent, in order to respond to information requests from a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. officials in Benghazi, Libya, and from the inspectors general of the State Department and the intelligence agencies.


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