The State Department released thousands of pages of Hillary Clinton’s heavily redacted emails to the public domain. These emails pertain to the time when Clinton served as Secretary of State during 2009-13.
Out of the nearly 7000 emails that have been released, 150 have been censored as the contents are now considered classified.
Officials from the State Department confirmed that the contents of the emails are redacted for the sake of public release; however, they were not considered classified at the time Hillary Clinton, the then Secretary of State, was dealing with them. The censored data is classified at ‘confidential’ levels and not at ‘top secret’ or ‘compartmentalized’ level, the officials confirmed.
Mark Toner, the spokesperson of the State Department, confirmed about the 150 emails that have been censored as they have been upgraded to confidential. He added that the agency did not encounter any messages or documents that were marked ‘classified’ during her tenure as Secretary of State.
While the release of the largest number of emails till date from the State Department could bring about some clarity around the issue, the increasing amount of ‘censored’ material that is being blocked out of public purview is bound to raise unpleasant questions regarding her manner of handling government secrets and those of her trusted advisers while she was occupying such a critical post.
Hillary Clinton, however, has publicly acknowledged her mistake of using a private unsecured server for her official email exchanges. The government inspectors have clearly pointed out that these government- related emails should never have been exchanged via an unsecured server. Recently, Clinton had said, ‘It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should have used two emails, one personal, one for work, and I’ve taken responsibility for that.’
The release of this batch of nearly 7000 pages of email content accounts for about a quarter of all mails that Hillary Clinton had qualified as ‘work emails’ and had handed over to the State Department last year. She had provided approximately 30,000 pages last year to the Department and had deleted about an equal number qualifying them as ‘personal’ in nature.
Some of the emails from the recently released lot include deals with Russia, Iran and Israel, according to CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes. Nancy points out a recent case of Jake Sullivan, the Deputy Chief of Staff, telling Clinton that he cannot forward a mail that she had requested as it is on the ‘classified system’ and he can’t access it.
Some not-so-serious information regarding Clinton’s technical challenges came to the fore as part of the released list. One such email is to her adviser, Philippe Reines on 24 July 2010, wherein she is telling him that she does not know whether she has Wi-Fi on her iPad. ‘How do I find out?’ she asked him and had a further question of whether she needs to charge the device and if so, she does not seem to have the cords for charging it!
In another email to Cheryl Mills on Feb 8, 2010, she showed her annoyance regarding snow days and is said to have written that she cannot believe that the government is closed again and she finds it silly that she has to work from home again because of this. Another interesting email that has surfaced is one in which Clinton wrote to the senator of Maryland, Barbara Milkulski, asking how was their common friend, Martin O’Malley, the then governor of Maryland and praising his work too. Martin O’Malley is now her opponent in the Democratic primary elections. An email from Chelsea Clinton also came to light wherein she blasts the UN and NGOs for their, as she claims, incompetence.
A few funny popular anecdotes picked up from the released email list that seemed to be doing the rounds in the media circles include: ‘The help desk State Department was quite confused by her email and could not recognize her private email address’; ‘She wanted information about her own voting record regarding raising the debt limit’; ‘She inquired from her staff about gefilte fish, a Jewish delicacy’; among many more.