Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
A new letter by intelligence investigators to the Justice Department
says secret U.S. government information may have been compromised in
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server, underscoring an inescapable
reality for her presidential campaign: Email is forever.
the former secretary of state and now the leading Democratic
presidential candidate, wants to focus on the economic issues she and
her team believe will drive the 2016 election. But they remain unable to
fully escape the swirling questions surrounding her decision to run her
State Department correspondence through an unsecured system set up at
her New York home.
For Clinton, the news amounted to a major
distraction on a day when she’d hoped to focus on unveiling a new set of
economic policies. Instead, she opened her New York City speech by
addressing the controversy, decrying some reports as inaccurate.
The inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community
recently alerted the Justice Department to the potential compromise of
classified information arising from Clinton’s server. The IG also sent a
memo to members of Congress that he had identified “potentially
hundreds of classified emails” among the 30,000 that Clinton had
provided to the State Department ” a concern the office said it raised
with FBI counterintelligence officials.
Though the probe is not
criminal and does not specifically target Clinton, the latest steps by
government investigators will further fuel the partisan furor
surrounding the 55,000 pages of emails already under review by the State
A statement from the intelligence inspector general,
I. Charles McCullough and his counterpart at the State Department,
Steve Linick, said that McCullough’s office found four emails containing
classified information in a limited sample of 40 emails.
“This classified information should have never been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” they said.
media initially reported that Justice Department had been asked to
consider a criminal investigation into whether she mishandled her
“We are all accountable to the American people to get the
facts right, and I will do my part but I’m also going to stay focused
on the issues,” she said.
It was not immediately clear whether
the Justice Department would investigate the potential compromise
highlighted by the intelligence inspector general, I. Charles
McCullough. His letter didn’t suggest any wrongdoing by Clinton,
according to U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to discuss the referral publicly.
the inspector general’s office said it was concerned that “these emails
exist on at least one private server and thumb drive with classified
information and those are not in the government’s possession,” said
Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for McCullough. None of the emails were
marked as classified at the time they were sent or received, but some
should have been handled as such and sent on a secure computer network,
said the letter sent to congressional oversight committees.
has maintained that she never sent classified information on her
personal email account, which she said in March she used as a matter of
convenience to limit her number of electronic devices.
Department has made public some of the emails involving Clinton, and is
under court order to make regular further releases of such
The aim is for the department to unveil all of
55,000 pages of the emails she turned over by Jan. 29, 2016. But a
federal judge this month chastised the department for moving too slowly
in providing The Associated Press with thousands of emails submitted
through the Freedom of Information Act.
An Associated Press-GfK
poll released last week found that voters view her as less decisive and
inspiring than when she launched her presidential campaign just three
months ago. Just 3 in 10 said the word “honest” describes her very or