The State Department released the “largest” batch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emails on Nov. 30, 2015 a part of their court ordered monthly email release. The department released 7,800 pages of emails with 328 of them retroactively deemed classified information. The majority of the emails are from the last year of Clinton’s tenure from 2012 and the beginning of 2013, but there emails from other years as well. Many of the emails released had been flagged for further review.
The major news from the new batch of released emails is as the last month the number of emails now marked as classified; 328 email messages have now been upgraded to that designation. They have all been marked as confidential “the lowest level of classification.” There are now 999 emails marked classified at any level. Previously releases included a number of emails marked “top secret” the highest form of classification that set off speculation that Clinton did endanger national security. All classified emails are redacted and not available to the public and will not be released.
The latest release comes over a month after her hearing in front the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Wednesday, Oct. 22, where she testified for 11 hours. Clinton was asked about her email server and the specific emails relating to the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya terror attack the testimony seemed to clam her email scandal in the public’s eye. The emails released this month-highlighted Clinton’s previous testimony about the Benghazi attacks in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013.
The emails discussed Clinton’s “concussion,” the blood clot she had in late 2012 that prevented her from testifying. At the time, Republicans thought the Secretary of State was faking her injury just to avoid testifying. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines sought to have former Senate Majority Leader and Dr. Bill Frist vouch for Clinton’s injuries. Reines wrote on Dec. 23, 2012, “At some point during this very frustrating week, your name popped into my head as someone to enlist in a defense that I am angered even needs to be waged. I thought of you not only because of the letters MD attached to your name, but also because of the letters SEN, HRC, MCC, and admittedly, GOP.”
The emails also discussed the Secretary of State’s performance in front on the Senate committee when she finally testified on Jan. 23, 2013. Clinton’s supporter praised her performance. There was however, one criticism her emotional exchange about the attackers’ motivations. Clinton told Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”
Clinton’s former political strategist Mark Penn did not think Clinton did well with her remark, writing her “I don’t think the emotion in the hearing works to your advantage — looks more like they rattled you on something no one outside the crazy right blamed you for anyway.”
Both Clinton’s top aides Philippe Reines and Jake Sullivan dismissed the criticism. Reines wrote, “I say this as someone who has never had a problem with Mark or held him as accountable as other people do – but… Give Me A Break. You did not look rattled. You looked real. “There’s a difference. A big one.” Sullivan also commented in another email, “My problem with Mark’s analysis is that it repeats the same flawed assumption that underpinned his advice in 2008, namely, that being yourself is risky.”
The Benghazi related emails are not the only interesting emails released and information learned about Clinton’s tenure, there were some more humorous moments. Clinton asked a “Stupid question” on Oct. 7, 2012 asking on what channel Homeland airs in Washington DC. Clinton also got an abbreviation wrong, instead of writing “ROFL” for “Rolling On The Laughing Floor” in an April 15, 2012 email, Clinton wrote “ROLF.” Probably the funniest thing to come out of this batch of emails was the names Clinton gave 2012 Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who was her husband former President Bill Clinton’s adversary when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives. Clinton called Romney “Mittens” and Gingrich “Grinch,” in January 22, 2012 email.
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 State Department has now released half of the business related emails from Clinton’s tenure. The State Department has digitalized and released two thirds of the pages of emails and made them available to the public.
All the emails have to be released by January 2016 according to a judge’s order in conservative group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department. The FBI is currently investigating to see if Clinton risked national security by using her server and if she sent classified information through it. The FBI is also trying to retrieve the erased emails from the server to see if any over 30,000 of the so-called personal emails Clinton erased off her server. Now Clinton’s email scandal is on the backburner, but that could change based on the FBI investigation, and so could her standing in the presidential campaign if the FBI she did risked national security.