In an atmosphere of an ever increasing opposition from Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has completely denied a report that her private email server contained classified information from some of the US intelligence community’s most secretive programmes.
Clinton has faced scrutiny over the revelation that she used a private email server while she was Secretary of State. She previously claimed confidential data was never put at risk.
“This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received,” Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, told the Times.
“This seems to me, to be, you know, another effort to inject this into the campaign. It’s another leak.” Hillary Clinton said. The former secretary of state told National Public Radio that the report was a “leak” planned to harm her in the presidential race despite offering no proof.
A spokesman for the Democratic presidential front-runner went so far as to publicly accuse investigators looking into Clinton’s server as conspiring with Republican senators to embarrass her.
“As the State Department has confirmed, I never sent or received any material marked classified, and that hasn’t changed in all of these months,” Clinton said. “This, seems to me, to be, you know, another effort to inject this into the campaign. It’s another leak.” She also called an inspector general’s letter a “continuation of an inter-agency dispute that has been going on now for some months.”
Some of the classified emails found on former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s home server were even more sensitive than top secret, according to an inspector general for the intelligence community. Inspector general Charles McCullough sent a letter to lawmakers last Friday saying that several dozen additional classified emails have been found, including ones containing information from so-called “special access programs”. Intelligence officials say special access programs have a higher classification than top secret because they are about highly sensitive programs and could reveal sources of information.
McCullough sent the letter in response to inquiries from congressional committees about the classification methods used to review the Clinton emails. In responding to the request, McCullough said he sought sworn declarations from those involved in reviewing the emails.
“These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined … to be at the confidential, secret and top secret/sap levels,” according to the letter, which also was obtained by the Associated Press.
The Clinton campaign dismissed the finding by referring to “the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months”. In a statement, the campaign said the finding “does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received”.
The campaign added: “It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The Justice Department’s inquiry should be allowed to proceed without any further interference.”
John Kirby, a spokesman for State Department, said the department is committed to releasing Clinton’s emails in a way that protects sensitive information. He said the Freedom of Information Act review process is still under way and said once it is complete, “if it is determined that information should be classified as top secret, we will do so”.