Newly released documents from the FBI’s year-long investigation of Hillary Clinton’s server indicate a State Department official proposed a “quid pro quo” aimed at getting the FBI to cover up classified emails discovered on Clinton’s server. In return, an unnamed FBI official said it might be open to a deal if the State Department could agree to boosting the FBI’s presence in Iraq.
The FBI notes released Monday show that Patrick Kennedy, State’s undersecretary for management, pressured the FBI to change the classified markings on an email that had been upgraded to “secret.”
An unnamed witness told investigators that Kennedy attempted “to influence the FBI to change its markings” and asked FBI agents if they could “see their way to marking the email unclassified.” Under a proposed deal between the unnamed FBI official and the State Department, Kennedy would “reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.” That deal never happened, the FBI said.
The email in question remained classified at the “secret” level, the FBI said. The bureau also said the unnamed official who requested Kennedy’s help securing additional personnel in Iraq has since retired.
According to the latest batch of investigative notes, the retired official said he would “look into the e-mail matter if KENNEDY would provide authority concerning the FBI’s request to increase its personnel in Iraq.”
Kennedy, in return, wanted a classification change to “B9,” a Freedom of Information act redaction that he hoped would allow him to “archive the document in the basement of [the State Department] never to be seen again.”
Another witness told the FBI that he “believes STATE has an agenda which involves minimizing the classified nature of the CLINTON emails in order to protect STATE interests and those of CLINTON.”
While the deal was never struck, the findings are the latest sign that the State Department was working to downplay the impact of the classified information found on Clinton’s emails, after Clinton had said for months that she never emailed any classified data on her personal email system. An email leaked last week appears to indicate that the State Department was working to massage the email story by working with reporters to downplay it.