FBI Allegedly Pressured To Change Classification Of Clinton Email In Exchange For Letting FBI Agents Work In Iraq

The FBI just released 100 more pages about the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and the classified emails on it while she was Secretary of State. The release appears to include allegations that the State Department offered to provide the FBI with more resources overseas if the classification on a Clinton email was retroactively altered. But the FBI itself says that it was all a misunderstanding. Hillary Clinton in Iowa on 22 December 2015 (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The FBI found that roughly 110 emails in 52 email chains on Clinton's private server contained classified information. Patrick Kennedy, Clinton's Undersecretary of State, allegedly asked that at least one classified email, which was classified as Top Secret and remains so, be downgraded as "unclassified" in exchange for a "quid pro quo".

Newly released document from the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server as Secretary of State (FBI)

The documents are redacted to protect the identities of FBI agents, but the agent was apparently told that the FBI was being offered a deal from the State Department that would allow the FBI, "to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden".

That "presently forbidden" area appears to have been Iraq, where FBI agents were formerly embedded with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) soldiers. The FBI helped conduct hundreds of anti-terrorism raids in Afghanistan and Iraq until late 2010, when they reportedly left those two countries. Joint FBI-JSOC raids, including frequent firefights, have continued in countries like Somalia and Libya.

Newly released document from the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server as Secretary of State (FBI)

But the FBI says that the requests made by the State Department for downgrading had to do with an upcoming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) release, and not the investigation into Clinton's conduct.

"A senior State Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from release under a different FOIA exemption," the FBI told CBS News. "A now-retired FBI official, who was not part of the subsequent Clinton investigation, told the State Department official that they would look into the matter."

The FBI also claims that the request for additional agents to be assigned overseas had nothing to do with the discussion over email classification.

"Having been previously unsuccessful in attempts to speak with the senior State official, during the same conversation, the FBI official asked the State Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad," the FBI said.

According to the newly released documents, Patrick Kennedy and an FBI agent reviewing the Clinton emails had disagreed about "matters related to the FBI's role and authority overseas". Some people inside and outside of the FBI have questioned why agents are accompanying the US military in raids overseas, especially since an FBI agent was wounded in the Logar province of Afghanistan in June of 2010.

Other pages from the release appear to back up this claim that there was perhaps a major misunderstanding between Patrick Kennedy and FBI agents over what they were talking about. Kennedy allegedly asked that one of the emails be classified as "B9", with is not a classification for security purposes, but instead a likely reference to a FOIA exemption that allows certain information to be withheld in a FOIA release.

Newly released document from the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server as Secretary of State (FBI)

The most curious part? FOIA exemption B9 is an incredibly rare FOIA exemption that allows agencies to redact information regarding "geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells".

According to the FBI's statement to CBS News, "Although there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review."

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