Obama Says Hillary’s Email Use Was A ‘Mistake’ [VIDEO]

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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President Barack Obama said that Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system was “a mistake” and that federal officials need to be “more sensitive” about how they handle government information.

Obama did, however, say that he does not believe that Clinton’s use of a personal email account and private email server posed a national security threat. He also claimed that the controversy has been “ginned-up” for political reasons. (RELATED: Benghazi Victim’s Mother: Investigation ‘Is About Hillary’)

Asked during an interview with “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft whether he knew that Clinton used a private server, Obama said that he did not. The White House has previously acknowledged that Obama exchanged some emails with Clinton on her personal email account but said that he did not know the extent of her home-brew system.

“I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” Obama said, adding that “I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged.”

“And, you know, as a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data,” he continued.

Obama also said that he believes that Clinton’s email use is an issue “that I think is legitimate,” but he hastened to add that the attention it has received throughout the summer “is an indication that we’re in presidential political season.”

“I do think that the way it’s been ginned-up is, in part, because of politics,” he said.

The Clinton campaign has asserted that the House Committee which discovered Clinton’s private email system is attempting to derail her White House run.

Obama declined to comment on whether he agrees with the Clintons that “this is not that big a deal.”

“I’m not going to comment on…,” Obama said, trailing off.

“What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public, and they can make their own judgment.”

Kroft pointed out to Obama that his administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.

“Well, I…there’s no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree,” Obama said, speculating that in Clinton’s case “we don’t get an impression that here there was purposely efforts…to hide something or to squirrel away information.”

“But again, I’m going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all of these questions,” he concluded.

Obama did not go into detail why he believes that Clinton’s email system posed no national security risk. The FBI, which is investigating Clinton’s email system, seized her server in August after the Intelligence Community’s inspector general found that two “top secret” emails traversed the device when Clinton was secretary of state.

And earlier this week, House Select Committee on Benghazi chairman Trey Gowdy reported details of an email that Clinton forwarded to aides on March 18, 2011 that allegedly named a CIA source in Libya. That information is considered highly sensitive.

Obama first weighed in on Clinton’s home-brew email system days after it came to light in early March.

In an interview then with CBS’ Bill Plante at the time, Obama said he first learned of Clinton’s private email account through news report — “the same time everybody else learned it.”

“The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.”


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