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FBI documents: US State Dept 'pressured' FBI to declassify Clinton email

  • Published at 05:40 pm October 18th, 2016
FBI documents: US State Dept 'pressured' FBI to declassify Clinton email

A senior State Department official sought to shield Hillary Clinton last year by pressuring the FBI to drop its insistence that an email on the private server she used while secretary of state contained classified information, according to records of interviews with FBI officials released on Monday.

The accusation against Patrick Kennedy, the State Department's most senior manager, appears in the latest release of interview summaries from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's year-long investigation into Clinton's sending and receiving classified government secrets via her unauthorized server.

Although the FBI decided against declassifying the email's contents, the claim of interference added fuel to Republicans' belief that officials in President Barack Obama's administration have sought to protect Clinton, a Democrat, from criminal liability as she seeks to succeed Obama in the November 8 election. The FBI recommended against bringing any charges in July and has defended the integrity of its investigation. Clinton has said her decision to use a private server in her home for her work as the US secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 was a mistake and has apologised.

One FBI official, whose name is redacted, told investigators that Kennedy repeatedly "pressured" the various officials at the FBI to declassify information in one of Clinton's emails. The email was about the deadly 2012 attack on a US compound in Benghazi, Libya, and included information that originated from the FBI, which meant that the FBI had final say on whether it would remain classified.

A State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said Kennedy was not pressuring the FBI but was just trying to understand better how the FBI's classification process worked.