One of the two emails maintained on Hillary Clinton’s private server that intelligence community officials determined contains “top secret” information includes one that discusses drone operations in Pakistan.
The Associated Press reports the information contained in the two sensitive emails originated with the CIA. The emails — which were plucked out of a sample of about 40 Clinton emails — were deemed highly classified by Intelligence Community inspector general I. Charles McCullough. Clinton did not send the classified emails herself, according to the AP’s sources in the intelligence community.
The email discussing drones focuses on information contained in a news article about the CIA’s drone activities in Pakistan. The information was deemed to be classified. The potential breach of national security protocol came in an email discussion that transpired in which a Clinton adviser seems to confirm the classified information. Other officials described the claim that the aide confirmed the classified information to be “tenuous,” according to the AP.
It is unclear what was under discussion in the second email, and the intelligence community appears to be torn on whether the information was highly classified. According to the AP, some believe that the email “improperly” points back to highly classified information. Others believe that the information indicates “parallel reporting,” which is when two agencies or individuals arrive at the same piece of information through different means.
Whether Clinton’s private email server contained highly classified information is important for two reasons. First, it raises questions over whether Clinton’s home-brew system was secure from cyber attacks from foreign governments.
Clinton’s server was housed in the basement of her Chappaqua, N.Y. home while she was secretary of state. It was maintained by an IT expert hired by the State Department who had worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. After Clinton left office in Feb. 2013, she hired a Denver-based cybersecurity company to wipe the server clean. It was also moved to a data center in New Jersey.
More importantly for Clinton herself, the existence of potentially “top secret” information on her server undermines her claim back in March that “there is no classified material” on her server. While when the emails went across her server the information in them was not marked “top secret,” the information itself was “top secret” at the time. Clinton and her aides were briefed on security clearance protocols.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, revealed the existence of the “top secret” emails earlier this week. That bombshell sparked a response from the Clinton campaign, which sent out a four-page memo in an attempt to correct what it called “misinformation.”
“No information in her emails was marked classified at the time she sent or received them. She viewed classified materials in hard copy in her office or via other secure means while traveling, not on email,” wrote Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri. (RELATED: Clinton Campaign Tries To Calm Supporters About Email Scandal)