The ongoing investigation by the State Department into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resulted in a statement issued on Oct. 18. The statement concluded that while the use of her private email server for confidential business did increase the risk that the information could be compromised, there was no intentional mishandling of classified information.
The investigation, which began over three years ago, discovered that 38 officials of the State Department were in violation of security operations in a review of 33,000 emails that were sent to or from the server information that Clinton released to investigators. Although it is unclear whether or not all of these 38 officials are still working for the government, they could potentially face difficulties obtaining security clearances should they apply for additional government positions.
The unclassified report, which was nine pages long, was completed by the State Department in September and was released to Congress earlier this month. It seems to flank the ongoing controversy that characterized Clinton’s 2016 campaign against now-president Donald Trump. Clinton blamed the obstacles in her campaign on the FBI’s handling of the investigation; then-FBI director James B. Comey reopened the inquiry into the email server days before the 2016 general election, following an ongoing refusal to bring forth charges.
State Department officials evaluated thousands of pages of documents sent between 2009 and 2013 during Clinton’s service in the Obama administration. The subjects of the emails were not considered classified at the time that the messages were sent, but had been previously or retroactively determined to be classified. Inquiry directors also obtained statements from hundreds of current and former State Department officials.
The investigation, officials told the New York Times, was intended to see if the use of the server “represented a failure to properly safeguard classified information,” as if that was the case, which individuals held responsibility for that failure.
“While there were some instances of classified information being inappropriately introduced into an unclassified system in furtherance of expedience,” the report said, “by and large, the individuals interviewed were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them in their operations.”
It concluded with: “There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information.” A representative for Clinton declined to comment to the New York Times on the report.
The final report was released the week of October 15 by Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) who joined the investigation of Clinton’s email server in 2017, while he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. House Republicans discovered the private server use during an investigation into the deaths of several Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the FBI and State Department launched investigations from that point.
Although no charges were brought forth upon Clinton, Trump and many other Republicans have continued to utilize the issue to attack Clinton; conservative critics have also accused the State Department and FBI of political bias during the investigation.
Despite his administration’s feelings about the Clinton investigation, several of Trump’s own officials have admitted to using private servers to conduct official business, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The current impeachment inquiry against President Trump has indicated that administration officials used private phones to communicate with each other about their efforts to pressure Ukrainian political officials to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals, including Biden.