Clinton v. the FBI: What They Said About Her Emails

MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and SCOTT SHANE

© 2016 New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday laid out the findings from a lengthy investigation into Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account when she was secretary of state.

Comey’s statements came 15 months after Clinton first addressed the issue in a lengthy news conference at the United Nations and her office released a nine-page statement that provided details about her use of the account. Here is a comparison.

CLINTON: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

COMEY: “There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. For example, seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters and receiving emails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.”

CLINTON: “The system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”

COMEY: “We did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal email domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal email extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.”

CLINTON: “After I left office, the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work-related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related, which totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages, even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them. We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department. At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails — emails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes.”

COMEY: “The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related emails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional emails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private email domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government email accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a secretary of state might naturally correspond. This helped us recover work-related emails that were not among the 30,000 produced to State. Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of email fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.”

CLINTON: “A separate, closed system was used by the Department for the sole purpose of handling classified communications which was designed to prevent such information from being transmitted anywhere other than within that system, including to outside email accounts.”

COMEY: “While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified email systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.”

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