Hillary Clinton told the FBI she relied on her staff not to send emails containing classified information to the private email server she used as secretary of state, reports The Associated Press.
The revelation came Friday as the FBI, in a rare step, published scores of pages summarising interviews with Clinton and her top aides from the recently closed criminal investigation into her use of a private email server in the basement of her Chappaqua, New York, home.
The Democratic presidential nominee told the FBI she never sought or asked permission to use a private server or email address during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. A prior review by the State Department’s internal watchdog concluded the practice violated several polices for the safekeeping and preservation of federal records.
The latest developments highlight competing liabilities for Clinton. Either she made a conscious effort to prevent a full public accounting of her tenure at State or she was nonchalant about decisions with national security consequences and risks. The first scenario plays into Republican arguments and voter concerns about her trustworthiness and transparency, while the second casts doubt on her pitch as a hyper-competent, detail-driven executive.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said Friday the campaign was pleased the FBI had released the documents.
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump countered that Clinton’s “answers to the FBI about her private email server defy belief.”
“After reading these documents, I really don’t understand how she was able to get away from prosecution,” Trump said in a statement.
Clinton has repeatedly said her use of private email was allowed. But over a 3 and half hour interview in July, she told investigators she “did not explicitly request permission to use a private server or email address,” the FBI wrote. Clinton said no one at the State Department raised concerns during her tenure, and she said everyone with whom she exchanged emails knew she was using a private email address.
The documents also include technical details about how the private server was set up. It is the first disclosure of details provided by Bryan Pagliano, the technology staffer who set up and maintained Clinton’s IT infrastructure. Pagliano secured an immunity agreement from the Justice Department after previously refusing to testify before Congress, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Large portions of the FBI documents were censored. The FBI cited exemptions protecting national security and investigative techniques. Previous government reviews of the 55,000 pages of emails Clinton returned to the State Department found that about 110 contained classified information.