Depending on the court, the public may have to wait an extra month to read the final batch of former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s emails from her private server from her tenure at the State Department. The State Department filed a motion in the court of Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, requesting a month delay for the final batch release, which is set for Jan. 29, 2016. Republicans are accusing the Obama Administration of manipulating the Democratic presidential race in Clinton’s favor.
According to a judge’s order, all Clinton’s emails have to be released by Jan. 29, 2016. In the documents filed in court Friday, the Obama Administration argued that 7,200 pages of Clinton’s emails need to be reviewed by other agencies so they can make the appropriate redactions. The State Department requested more time to distribute them to the agencies and have them review them.
The State Department explained, the “State overlooked some necessary consultations at a time when the Clinton email team’s efforts were focused on processing records that had already gone through interagency consultation in order to meet the monthly interim goals. Thus, this oversight was not detected until the push to meet the final deadline.”
Like schoolchildren, the State Department is using the massive blizzard, the snowstorm that hit Washington the heaviest as the main reason they cannot release the emails in time. As the court document’s argue, “[T]his storm will disrupt the Clinton email team’s current plans to work a significant number of hours throughout the upcoming weekend and could affect the number of documents that can be produced on January 29, 2016.”
The State Department is requesting to release the final batch of emails on Feb. 29, however, they still plan to release some emails on Jan. 29. Spokesman Mark Toner made a statement about the delay, saying, “We will strive to produce as many documents as possible on that day.” Toner gave the State Department’s list of excuses for wanting more time, calling the release, “the most complex to process” because of “a large amount of material.”
Republicans see the request as the State Department protecting Clinton’s campaign, withholding possible damaging emails containing more classified information. By releasing the emails a month later, the Obama Administration would be giving Clinton a head start in the primary season. With her poll numbers falling and being behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the important early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton would need all the help she could get, so the administration is playing with the courts just to give it to her.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made the accusation that the delay “is all about ensuring any further damaging developments in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal are revealed only after the votes are counted in the early nominating states.” Continuing, Priebus said, “The American people should be outraged at the Obama administration’s gamesmanship to protect someone who recklessly exposed classified information on more than 1,300 occasions, including highly sensitive top secret intelligence.”
So far, the State Department released 45,000 pages of Clinton’s 55,000 pages of emails. The 82 percent mark they should have reached would have meant the department would have released by now. The total of the emails considered classified is 1,319. None of the emails labeled by the State Department as classified were at the time they were sent. The majority are labeled “classified,” the lowest level of classification. There are, however, some emails classified at a “higher level,” “confidential,” while six are marked “secret” one of the higher levels of classification for national security.
This past week on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, Fox News obtained a letter from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III sent to the Senate Republican chairmen of the Intelligence and Senate Foreign Relations committees informing them that Clinton sent “highly classified information” known as “special access programs” (SAP)” through her private email server. SAP means the information Clinton sent was “derived from sensitive intelligence sources.”
There are only a two of Clinton’s emails that were classified as “top secret” the highest form of classified. The discovery of the email this past summer has been the focus of one of the FBI’s probes into Clinton’s conduct while head of the State Department. Intelligence officials say both emails had been originally classified as top secret, however, after reviews, one email remained top secret while the second was downgraded to the secret classification. By sending and receiving classified information on her server, Clinton may have violated USC 18 Section 793, “gross negligence” in “the handling of secure information under the Espionage Act.”
The majority of Clinton’s emails contain mundane business, including scheduling for trips, engagements, and meetings. Other emails give a deeper insight into Clinton the way she operated the State Department, her views, and opinions of other political figures. Many of the emails include the advice and comments from former aide to a former President Bill Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, which have proved controversial. Other emails are light and humorous and show a more personal side to Clinton. The number of emails marked classified concern those who believe Clinton may have compromised national security by using her private email server that was vulnerable to hackers.
A court order requires the State Department to release a batch of emails each month. Each month since last May, the State Department has released thousands of pages of Clintons 55,000 pages of work related emails. The court order is part of Jason Leopold ‘s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department forcing them to release Clinton’s emails. Leopold of Vice News requested to see Clinton’s emails in November 2014, and then filed a lawsuit in January 2015. In December 2014, Clinton handed over 55,000 pages or over 30,000 of emails from the private email server she used to the State Department. The emails started on March 18, 2009, and came from two email account addresses email@example.com and HRod17@clintonemail.com.
The FBI is currently investigating two methods where Clinton’s conduct at the State Department may have been illegal. The first is the investigation of whether she risked national security sending and receiving classified information on her private email server, and if that information was mishandled by her and State Department staffers in the process. The FBI is also investigating the “possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business” that might have “violated public corruption laws.” The FBI believes donors to the foundation benefitted from Hillary’s being at the State Department gaining political favors from her.