One of the emails contained in the 7,000 pages of Hillary Clinton records released by the State Department on Friday appears to undermine the agency’s claim that none of the emails sent or received by the former secretary of state were classified at the time they were originated.
On Dec. 22, 2011, Christoph Heusgen, a top foreign policy adviser to German chancellor Angela Merkel, sent an email to several individuals, including Philip Gordon, then the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
Indicating his own belief that the information in the email was sensitive in nature, Heusgen entitled the email “Follow-up to our Brussels meeting (confidential).”
In it, he discussed a trip to Belgrade, Serbia to meet with then-president Boris Tadic and several other officials.
Gordon forwarded the email to Clinton on her personal email address which was maintained on a home-brew email server. Her response to the email is redacted.
The existence of the email challenges several claims made by the State Department and Clinton about the emails, which Clinton handed over in December, 22 months after leaving office.
Both the State Department and Clinton have denied that any of the 600 to 700 now-classified emails contained sensitive information at the time they were sent and received. Those now-sensitive emails are in addition to at least two emails that the Intelligence Community inspector general says contained “top secret” classified information when they were originated. The emails, which include information about drone strikes and nuclear weapons movements, were reportedly forwarded to Clinton by her aides.
As Reuters reported in August, the federal government considers so-called foreign government information — information that originates with foreign officials — to be “born classified.” That is, it is classified as soon as it is generated.
The Heusgen email also undermines a claim on the Clinton campaign’s website that Clinton’s emails revealed only one from a foreign official.
“During her time at State, she communicated with foreign officials in person, through correspondence, and by telephone. The review of all of her emails revealed only one email with a foreign (UK) official,” reads a Clinton campaign fact sheet.