The State Department in August revived an investigation of classified information sent to Clinton’s unsecure private email server when she was secretary of state, the Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, investigators have contacted up to 130 of former officials about classified information that ended up in Clinton’s inbox. The officials held positions ranging from career bureaucrat to ambassador or assistant secretary of state. Some of them still work in the State Department.
The investigators, who are from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, notified the officials that their old emails have been retroactively deemed classified and could implicate them in newly uncovered “security incidents.”
Launched soon after President Donald Trump took office, the probe picked up last month, the officials said. Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, have urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to finish the review and report back to Congress.
Many of the emails in question include information attributed to foreign officials, such as summaries of phone conversations with diplomats, the Post reported. In most cases, they were first sent to Williams Burns, who served as deputy secretary of state, or Jake Sullivan, the former director of policy planning at the State Department, who then forwarded them to Clinton.
Some of the targeted officials voiced suspicions that the Trump administration was harassing them because as perceived political adversaries. They feared that the probe would hurt their reputations and make it harder for them to maintain security clearances.
“It gives them a way to hassle pretty much anyone,” a former senior U.S. official complained.Former Obama officials said the Trump administration has also mishandled classified materials. One former top aide familiar with the investigation said it was a way for Republicans to “tarnish a whole bunch of Democratic foreign policy people” and keep them from returning to government service.
However, senior State Department officials denied that their actions are politically motivated and said they have a duty to look into any violations. The probe, which is nearly done, is being conducted by career bureaucrats who do not know the names of the subjects being investigated, they said.“This has nothing to do with who is in the White House,” said one top official. “This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails, which is about 3½ years.”