Clinton says she relied on State staff
for classification decisions
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[July 09, 2016]
By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton
disputed a scathing assessment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
that she was "extremely careless" with classified government secrets,
saying on Friday she relied on the judgment of her subordinates at the
U.S. State Department.
After maintaining for more than a year that she did not send or receive
classified information through her unauthorized private email system,
she acknowledged in a string of interviews on Friday she may have at
least unwittingly done so, three days after the FBI concluded this
happened at least 110 times.
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said she
"certainly did not believe" that she was handling classified information
on her email system at the time, but emphasized that she followed the
lead of her subordinates on whether information was classified.
"I did not have a basis for second-guessing their conclusion," Clinton
said in an interview with CNN, saying she had the "highest regard" for
her former colleagues.
"These are experienced diplomats, they have expertise in handling
classified material," she said in a separate interview with PBS
Newshour. "They were not careless and the material that they sent, they
did not believe that was classified."
Clinton, who was the department's most senior classifying authority
during her four-year tenure at its helm, did not address the FBI's
conclusion that she herself sent information on topics classified as
'top secret', the highest level, through a private server she kept in
"I have said, and I repeated, that it was a mistake to use personal
email and I regret that," she said in another interview with ABC.
It is a crime to mishandle classified information, and while FBI
Director James Comey said on Tuesday there was evidence Clinton or her
aides may have broken these laws, there was not enough evidence of
criminal intent for a prosecution.
In an unusual 15-minute announcement explaining the FBI's findings,
Comey ended up dismaying both Republicans and Democrats.
[to top of second column]
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes the stage
for a campaign speech outside the shuttered Trump Plaza in Atlantic
City, New Jersey July 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
While Clinton's Republican opponents have fumed at the decision not
to file criminal charges, Clinton and her staff have disputed some
of Comey's criticisms that undermine her argument that she has
better judgment than Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican
Comey called her and her staff "extremely careless" and said that
any "reasonable" government employee should have recognized that
such information should not be aired in emails. Her server was so
poorly secured the FBI could not eliminate the possibility it had
not been hacked by the country's enemies, Comey said.
Asked if she agreed that she was "extremely careless", Clinton told
CNN she was not, adding that Comey had "clarified" his remarks. It
was unclear what clarification Clinton meant.
In lengthier comments before lawmakers on Thursday, Comey again
spoke of Clinton's and her staff's carelessness and "real
sloppiness", adding that it seemed she was not "particularly
sophisticated with respect to classified information."
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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