WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal investigators have begun looking into the security of devices on which Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email was stored when she was secretary of state, Clinton’s attorney confirmed Wednesday.
“We are actively cooperating” with the investigation, attorney David Kendall said in a statement.
The inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community alerted the FBI last month to concerns that classified information was included in emails that went through Clinton’s personal home server. The referral to the Justice Department did not seek a criminal probe and did not specifically target Clinton.
“Quite predictably, after the ICIG made a referral to ensure that materials remain properly stored, the government is seeking assurance about the storage of those materials,” Kendall said in his statement.
The Washington Post, which first reported the FBI’s involvement, said that the FBI has asked Kendall about the security of a thumb drive containing copies of Clinton’s work emails sent during her tenure as secretary of state, which is in his possession. The Post cited two anonymous government officials, who said that the FBI was not targeting Clinton.
Clinton’s emails have been under scrutiny since The Associated Press revealed in March that she used a private “homebrew” server traced to her Chappaqua, New York, home while she was the top U.S. diplomat. Government and congressional investigators have been trying to determine whether she sent or received classified information on unsecured email.
Last month, the inspector general of the intelligence community, I. Charles McCullough III, revealed that he had found four emails containing classified information while reviewing a limited sample of 40 of the tens of thousands of emails provided by Clinton. Those four messages were not marked as classified but should have been handled as such because they contained classified information at the time they were sent, the inspector general said.
“This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” according to a joint statement from the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department.
McCullough has also expressed concerns about the security of the thumb drive in Kendall’s possession, and has sought copies of the 30,000 emails in State Department possession so that it can make sure that enough controls are in place to protect national security information.
Clinton has maintained that she never sent classified information on her personal email account, which she said in March she used as a matter of convenience to limit her number of electronic devices. She has also repeatedly defended her email usage, saying her private server had “numerous safeguards” and placing responsibility for releasing the documents on the State Department.
A spokesman for Clinton’s presidential campaign tweeted Tuesday that news of the FBI’s interest in the email set-up “doesn’t change anything … IG sent ask to DOJ to confirm emails are secure.”
“IG request was noncriminal & didnt accuse Clinton of wrongdoing,” spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted. “FBI is ‘not targeting her.’”
An FBI spokesman contacted Tuesday night by The Associated Press declined to comment.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner was asked last week whether the department would be “open” to having the FBI examine the thumb drive.
“We’ve made sure that the documents at her lawyers’ are in a secure setting, but I’m not going to speak to what the FBI should or shouldn’t do,” Toner responded.