According to documents released today, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy pressured a senior FBI official into unclassifying emails sent from Hillary Clinton’s illegal private server. The FBI official notes that Kennedy contacted the organization to ask for the change in classification in “exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.'”
More specifically, “State would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden,” according to a conversation relayed by The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen Hayes, who broke the story this weekend. The FBI did not take Kennedy up on his offer.
Despite initial denials from the State Department, this exchange is entirely plausible. For one, State had plenty of expertise in the deployment of quid pro quo during Hillary’s years of enriching her family foundation by trading government access. Moreover, a senior FBI official has a lot less reason to fabricate a conversation about favor trading than a Clinton functionary has to pressure a senior FBI official into saving Hillary from criminal prosecution.
“Classification is an art, not a science, and individuals with classification authority sometimes have different views,” a State Department spokesperson said today. No doubt this is true. So why did Kennedy wait until a criminal investigation was well underway to ask law enforcement to scrutinize that particular document at that particular time? Is it customary for undersecretaries of State to ask the FBI to alter the classifications of documents that just happen to protect political candidates at the center of a politically explosive investigations?
Did Kennedy — a man who owes his high position to the Clintons — engage in this conversation on his own? Was he asked to do it? For months, law enforcement had attempted to contact him, and he ignored their inquiries. Why, according to FBI documents, did Kennedy only reach out to make this request?
What’s even more curious is that FBI Director James Comey didn’t consider this event — or, for that matter, the litany of other actions Clinton’s lackeys took to protect her — as a sign that there was, at the very least, an intent to influence the investigation.
This is, of course, just the latest revelation in the Hillary email scandal. It’s worth remembering that the illegal email setup was only inadvertently discovered through a congressional investigation into Benghazi. The server itself existed to evade transparency.
Oh, boy. Quid pro quo allegation between State and FBI over classification. That is messy. pic.twitter.com/Kf5FcSFQjb
— Matt Zapotosky (@mattzap) October 17, 2016
When caught, Hillary alleged that she “never sent any classified material nor received any marked classified.” This turned out to be a lie. Hillary claimed before becoming secretary she had merely wanted only one device “for convenience.” This turned out to be lie. The FBI found that Clinton “used numerous mobile devices,” not to mention servers. Clinton — the most competent person to ever run for president, according to Barack Obama — claimed she didn’t understand how classified markings work. This was also a lie.
According to the FBI, Hillary sent 110 emails containing clearly marked classified information. Thirty-six of these emails contained secret information. Eight of those email chains contained “top secret” information.
“We assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account,” Comey said at his press conference in July. He acknowledged this could have happened because Hillary and her staff were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” He also admitted that no competent foreign power would have left behind evidence of this hack. Yet, for some reason, Comey would not admit that this is why U.S. Code makes mishandling information — not the intent of those mishandling it — illegal.
Those who ran Clinton’s server attempted to destroy evidence — government documents — after The New York Times reported on her wrongdoing. Probably another coincidence. Not that intent mattered to Comey, either.
Before the FBI even cracked open their laptops, the Justice Department proactively gave immunity to the five people who could have testified that Hillary was lying. (One of these people, Cheryl Mills, later acted as Hillary’s lawyer.) The two Clinton aides with the most intimate knowledge about her email conniving were also given side deals in which the FBI promised to destroy their laptops after reviewing them. With all this in mind, it’s fair to wonder what kind of pressure the State Department was exerting on the FBI.
It should be noted that the FBI released these summaries as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, not because of its profound respect for transparency. In a normal year, revelations of this nature would be nearly impossible to bury in the current of news. This year is different, because the vast majority of journalists (yes, a few have done great work covering this story) seem incapable of being properly outraged by both candidates.