One of the emails that triggered the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s server contained classified intelligence from three different agencies, Fox News has learned – which could mean the State Department violated a President Obama-signed executive order by authorizing its release.
That 2009 order, EO 13526, lays out the rules for “classifying, safeguarding and declassifying national security information.” It states that the authority to declassify rests with the intelligence agency that originated the information.
“Information shall be declassified or downgraded by … the official who authorized the original classification … [or] the originator’s current successor,” the order says.
One of the two emails that sparked the FBI probe was an April 2011 email from Clinton confidant Huma Abedin that, Fox News has learned, contained intelligence from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which oversees aerial imagery, including satellites.
Despite this fact and despite the executive order, the State Department publicly released the email and its intelligence — which was not theirs to declassify — onto its website in May as part of the initial release of documents on the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Fox News is told that in late spring, all three agencies confirmed to the intelligence community inspector general that the intelligence was classified when it was sent four years ago by Abedin to Clinton’s private account, and remains classified to this day.
Clinton’s campaign and the State Department have maintained that the email was not classified and have framed the issue as a difference of opinion.
“What you’re seeing now is a disagreement between agencies saying, ‘You know what, they should’ve.’ And the other saying, ‘No they shouldn’t.’ That has nothing to do with me,” Clinton told reporters last week.
The State Department spokesman also said last Wednesday they are seeking a second opinion on the classification of some emails from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who leads the intelligence community.
“I made clear that we’ve asked the Director of National Intelligence for another assessment of those two, the two that the ICIG had determined should have been classified – or at least portions of which should have been classified top secret. So we’ve asked the DNI to look at that and we’ll see what happens,” spokesman John Kirby said.
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