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Clinton Email Scandal Embarrasses U.S. State Department, FBI | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraiser in Seattle, Washington, U.S., October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Washington- According to FBI records released Monday, State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, a close aide to Clinton during her time as secretary of state, contacted an FBI official seeking to change an email’s classification; the email was sent from Hillary Clinton’s private server.

Notes on the conversation describe discussion about a “quid pro quo” in which the email’s classification would be changed and “State would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”

The records indicated that Kennedy made that suggestion, but both the FBI and State Department said Monday that it was the unidentified FBI official. Neither the declassification nor the increase in agents occurred.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner called allegations of a quid pro quo “inaccurate” and said Monday that Kennedy was trying to “understand” the FBI’s decision to withhold the information.

The account was part of an FBI document known as a 302, essentially a summary of interviews the FBI conducts during investigations.

The FBI made it public Monday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the bureau’s investigation of a private server Clinton used while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

The document shed no new light on the emails, but it highlighted interagency discussions that took place regarding which parts of her emails should be marked classified before being released to the public.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes called for the immediate removal of Kennedy, pending an investigation.

“We find Under Secretary Kennedy’s actions extremely disturbing. Those who receive classified intelligence should not barter in it – that is reckless behavior with our nation’s secrets,’ they wrote in a statement.
Donald Trump was more succinct, simply tweeting: “Unbelievable.”

Trump’s campaign later blasted out a statement from retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who cited the latest trove as “undeniable proof that Hillary Clinton colluded with the FBI, DOJ and State Department to cover up criminal activity at the highest levels”.

For his part, Clinton’s Campaign Manager Robby Mook downplayed the accusation during a press call on Monday morning.

He said that it’s very well known that there were disputes between the State Department and other agencies about classification, and that it’s not unusual.