Just the Facts — Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system

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The following items are verbatim excerpts taken directly from FBI Director James B. Comey’s 2,314-word press briefing on July 5, 2016, regarding the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.

  • “Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain.”
  • “From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.”
  • “Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.”
  • “The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014.”
  • “With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level.”
  • “It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.”
  • “…there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
  • “For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters.”
  • “There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”
  • “…we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail…”
  • “None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government…”
  • “Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.”
  • “…we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.”
  • “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account.”
  • “We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent.”
  • “She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.”
  • “Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”
  • “…there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information…
  • “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
  • “…this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”

(Source: FBI)

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