It has been exposed that the probe done on Clinton’s private email server was prompted from a “Section 811,” a referral from the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General (ICIG.)
The ICIG determined that the sensitive classified information in the former secretary of state’s email may have been “compromised” and shared with “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.”
Section 811 of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 “is the statutory authority that governs the coordination of counterespionage investigations between Executive Branch departments or agencies and the FBI.” This report is given to the FBI in the event that unauthorized material may have been leaked to a foreign power.
According to Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, a Section 811 referral “arises whenever there is a compromise of classified information — for whatever reason. It could include espionage, but it could also include negligence, inadvertence, or something else…. Section 811 does not assert a violation of criminal law.”
Although the FBI announced last month that its investigation had been closed, the FBI Director James Comey said it was possible “hostile actors gained access” and that Clinton had used her personal email “extensively” while traveling abroad.
Last month, the FBI released documents to VICE News revealing that Clinton had exchange almost two-dozen top secret emails from a private server in 2011 and 2012 with her deputy chief of staff, Jacob Sullivan, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. 22 emails were deemed highly classified and they could not be disclosed to the public.
In the end, Comey said that although Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” no one would be charged.
VICE News sensed some suspicious behavior in the FBI investigation. Two letters were labeled as “For Official Use” sent by Peter Strzok and Charles H. Kable IV, both section chiefs of the FBI’s counterespionage section to Gregory B. Starr, the assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security during the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of the private email server.
VICE News was given the letters after the FBI received the FOIA lawsuit last year seeking records and correspondence between the FBI and State Department about the investigation.
So what did the letters say? Kable asks Starr to review a DVD with the emails and asked him to do a classification review of the documents. Then he asks the state to “de-conflict” it’s response to other government agencies looking for classification review requests.
“What [the de-confliction request] means is that FBI anticipates that different classification judgments may have been rendered concerning some of the individual [emails] under review,” said Aftergood. “That’s an extremely important point in this whole saga, in which there are conflicting official opinions about the classification status of various emails.”
Watch journalist Jason Leopold of VICE News as he walks us through the Clinton FOIA lawsuit and the documents released to the publication here.