The 11-page FBI summary released Friday of Hillary Clinton’s July 2 interview in the criminal email investigation shows bureau agents focused their questions to her on the 22 “Top Secret” emails considered too damaging to national security to make public.
These emails contained some of the U.S. government’s most closely held secrets, known as Special Access Programs (SAP), as first reported by Fox News.
Though the summary is heavily redacted, it shows FBI agents asked Clinton about an Afghan national identified as “Salehi,” who appeared in her emails, which included a discussion of a New York Times report about his alleged ties to the CIA. Clinton said she did not remember the email, had no reason to believe the discussion involved classified information, and had “no reason to doubt the judgment of the people working for her on the ‘front lines.'”
The discussion of a foreign national working with the U.S. government raises security implications — an executive order signed by President Obama said such unauthorized disclosures are “presumed to cause damage to the national security.”
The Salehi email, and the discussion of a possible relationship with the U.S. government, was first reported by Fox News as an example of how human spying intelligence, known as humint, was contained in the Clinton emails. The sharing and discussion of such intelligence puts lives at risk.
Clinton was also asked about an October 2012 email that discussed, “This am Green on Blue” — referencing an attack in Afghanistan where American personnel were among the dead. While key sections are redacted, a separate publicly released State Department email, as well as details in the FBI summary, suggest the communication included discussion of an American later revealed to be a CIA officer. Fox News is not reporting the identity of the individual in deference to the family’s wishes not to publicize his national security work.
According to a December 2013 policy document released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the HCS-O designation “is used to protect exceptionally fragile and unique IC (intelligence community) clandestine HUMINT operations and methods that are not intended for dissemination.” An unauthorized disclosure would be expected to cause especially “grave” damage.
Dan Maguire, former Special Operations strategic planner for Africom, told Fox News in January the disclosure of sensitive material impacts national security and exposes U.S. sources.
“There are people’s lives at stake. Certainly in an intel SAP, if you’re talking about sources and methods, there may be one person in the world that would have access to the type of information contained in that SAP,” he said.
FBI agents also asked Clinton about three emails marked classified. They contained a “C” or portion marking, indicating the intelligence was at the lowest level, or confidential. Clinton said she thought the “C” was part of series like bullet points or a listing, like A, B, C. Fox News first reported in June that at least one of the Clinton emails contained classified markings — conflicting with Clinton’s repeated public statements.
Agents also asked Clinton about a 2011 cable, first documented by Fox News, that went out under her signature as secretary of state and advised State Department personnel against personal email use because of the high risk of cyber intrusion. Clinton told the FBI she could not recall the specific cable.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”