Mum’s the word on whether Hillary Clinton has been allowed to maintain her security clearance during the FBI’s investigation into how classified information was handled on the private email server she used as secretary of state.
Clinton’s presidential campaign declined to comment to Bloomberg View, which has an article out Thursday detailing the partisan battle over whether the Democrat should be allowed to maintain the security clearance she enjoyed as a senator and secretary of state.
If Clinton maintains her security clearance, which would allow her to receive classified information, the campaign should be able to clear it up.
The State Department is also not saying whether Clinton still has security privileges. During a press briefing on Friday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said he did not know if Clinton maintained clearance. In a statement issued this week to Bloomberg View and The Daily Caller, he said that the agency “does not comment on individuals’ security clearance status.”
“We will say, however, that generally speaking there is a long tradition of secretaries of state making themselves available to future secretaries and presidents. Secretaries are typically allowed to maintain their security clearance and access to their own records for use in writing their memoirs and the like,” Kirby said.
Kirby revealed last week that the State Department is upgrading 22 Clinton emails to “Top Secret” status. That’s in addition to more than 1,500 emails that have been retroactively classified and at least two others that the Intelligence Community has determined contained information that should have been classified as “Top Secret” when sent.
The FBI opened its investigation into Clinton’s email system in August, seizing control of her private server, which she kept at her home in New York until 2013, when it was transferred to a data center in New Jersey.
As Bloomberg View notes, the federal government has been inconsistent on whether to suspend security clearances for federal employees under investigation for mishandling sensitive information.
Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the chief of naval intelligence, has not been able to access classified information since Nov. 2013 because his security clearance was suspended pending a Justice Department investigation into a contracting dispute.
But former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus was allowed to maintain his clearance during the FBI’s 2012 investigation into his mishandling of classified information. Petraeus gave highly classified information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell. His clearance was suspended after he resigned from the CIA.
If Clinton has had her security clearance suspended or revoked, the action occurred after September, which, as McClatchy reported at the time, is when Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield informed Iowa Sen. [crscore]Charles Grassley[/crscore] by letter that Clinton still had her security clearance and that it was reissued after she left office in Feb. 2013.
Whatever her security clearance status, Clinton’s allies assert that there’s no reason for Clinton’s access to be suspended.
“I’m sure she does hold a clearance, and she should,” California Rep. [crscore]Adam Schiff[/crscore], a Democrat, told Bloomberg View.
Kansas Rep. [crscore]Mike Pompeo[/crscore], a Republican who has read the “Top Secret” Clinton emails, said that a review of Clinton’s security clearance is appropriate.
“It’s important, given all the information we now know, that the House of Representatives work alongside the executive branch to determine whether it’s appropriate for Secretary Clinton to continue to hold her security clearances,” he told Bloomberg.