Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Sources: Review affirms Clinton server emails were 'top secret,' despite department challenge

By Catherine Herridge, Pamela Browne

Published December 15, 2015

Top GOP senators probe into Clinton emails

EXCLUSIVE: An intelligence community review has re-affirmed that two classified emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Hillary Clinton’s unsecured personal server despite a challenge to that designation by the State Department, according to two sources familiar with the review.

The sources described the dispute over whether the two emails were classified at the highest level as a “settled matter.”

The agencies that owned and originated that intelligence – the CIA and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or NGA – reviewed the emails to determine how they should be properly stored, as the State Department took issue with their highly classified nature. The subject matter of the messages is widely reported to be the movement of North Korean missiles and a drone strike. A top secret designation requires the highest level of security, and can include the use of an approved safe.

The sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News that while the emails were indeed “top secret” when they hit Clinton’s server, one of them remains “top secret” to this day -- and must be handled at the highest security level. The second email is still considered classified but at the lower “secret” level because more information is publicly available about the event.

The findings have been transmitted to the State Department, which continues to challenge the intelligence community’s conclusions about the classification of all the emails. But the department has no authority to change the classification since it did not originate the information.

On Nov. 6, Politico reported that the intelligence community was retreating from the “top secret” classification, a development that could have helped Clinton’s presidential campaign deflect allegations about mishandling classified material. Fox News can confirm it is true the handling of one email has changed since it was drafted and sent, but this change has no bearing on the “top secret” nature of the emails when first received on Clinton’s server. And this is what matters to the FBI probe.

While the classification finding is important, the central issue is whether the FBI investigation concludes there was or was not a criminal violation.

Fox News reported earlier this month that two top Republican senators have written directly to Secretary of State John Kerry and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about possible leaks from their departments on their review of Clinton’s emails -- wrongly leaving the impression that the two “top secret” messages were not that sensitive.

The letter was sent by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Richard Burr, who heads the powerful Intelligence Committee, on Nov. 13, with copies sent three days later to the intelligence community and State Department watchdogs known as inspectors general. The IGs were asked to conduct an independent review of the process.

While the senators’ letter is not public, Fox News has confirmed that the senators cited the Politico report from Nov. 6 where unnamed sources claimed the two “top secret” emails had been downgraded after a second review. While hailed by Clinton’s supporters as evidence she did not break the law and send classified information on her personal email account, the Politico story was later updated to reflect the fact that Clapper’s office said the review was ongoing. 

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.


  1. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has asked his staff to look into whether Sen. Ted Cruz disclosed classified information during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas, the North Carolina Republican told reporters Wednesday.
    “The question had been raised, therefore I asked [Intelligence Committee staff] to look at it and see if there was any validity to it,” Burr said Wednesday. “Anytime you deal with numbers and I think it dealt with numbers, the question is, is that classified or not?”
    Story Continued Below
    During the Tuesday debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seemed to imply that Cruz revealed classified information during a testy exchange on government surveillance powers and when Cruz was disputing Rubio’s attacks on the Texas senator’s national security credentials.
    “And the reason is simple,” Cruz said. “What he knows is that the old program covered 20 percent to 30 percent of phone numbers to search for terrorists. The new program covers nearly 100 percent. That gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism, and he knows that that's the case.”
    Rubio then responded: “Let me be very careful when answering this, because I don't think national television in front of 15 million people is the place to discuss classified information.”

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  3. OOPS! Mr Haney may have fucked up. William call Trey and tell him to quit wasting my tax dollars on this witch hunt.