New FBI release on Clinton email probe refers to 'Shadow Government'

Everett Rosenfeld <http:///everett-rosenfeld/> | @Ev_Rosenfeld

•3 Hours Ago | 00:52

[image: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton listens to a question during the town hall debate at Washington
University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.]

A new trove of interview summaries and notes from the FBI's <http:///fbi/>
investigation into Hillary Clinton's <http:///hillary-clinton/> emails lays
out a series of allegations that could prove fodder for future attacks on
the Democratic presidential nominee.

The 100 pages, released Monday morning, include claims that Clinton
"blatantly" disregarded protocol. Other claims include that a group of
powerful State Department employees attempted to coordinate a document
release, and that a department official asked for a "quid pro quo" related
to the former secretary of state's emails.

The documents
part four of four to be released by the FBI, include notes and interview
summaries that may illuminate more about the bureau's decision not to
recommend Clinton be prosecuted for her actions.

Many Republicans have criticized that decision, but FBI Director James
Comey has repeatedly insisted the move was apolitical.

"I want the American people to know we really did this the right way. You
can disagree with us, but you cannot fairly say we did it in any kind of
political way," Comey said in July. "We don't carry water for anybody. We
were trying to do what the right thing is."

One revelation in the documents came from an interview with an unidentified
person who suggested that Freedom of Information Act requests related to
Clinton went through a group sometimes called "the Shadow Government."

"There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some
referred to as 'The 7th Floor Group' or 'The Shadow Government.' This group
met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional
records, and everything CLINTON-related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries,"
the FBI's interview summary said.

That group, according to the summary, argued for a Clinton document release
to be conducted all at once "for coordination purposes" instead of on a
rolling basis as would normally be the case. But the "Shadow Government"
did not get its way, and the agency in charge decided for a rolling
release, the FBI summary said.

Another claim <> from the documents is that
one unidentified interviewee said Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy
pressured the FBI to unclassify certain emails from Clinton's private
server that were previously deemed classified.

The interviewee said Kennedy contacted the FBI to ask for the change in
classification in "exchange for a 'quid pro quo.'"

A representative for the State Department categorically denied that claim.

"This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts. To be
clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the
FBI when we released it back in May 2015," State Department deputy
spokesman Mark Toner said.

"Under Secretary Kennedy sought to understand the FBI's process for
withholding certain information from public release," Toner added. "As has
been reported, there have been discussions within the interagency on issues
of classification. Classification is an art, not a science, and individuals
with classification authority sometimes have different views. There can be
applicable FOIA exemptions that are based on both classified and
unclassified rules."

The FBI also denied such a "quid pro quo," offering NBC News the following

"Prior to the initiation of the FBI's investigation of former Secretary
Clinton's personal email server, the FBI was asked to review and make
classification determinations on FBI emails and information which were
being produced by the State Department pursuant to FOIA. The FBI determined
that one such email was classified at the Secret level. A senior State
Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine
whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from
release under a different FOIA exemption. A now-retired FBI official, who
was not part of the subsequent Clinton investigation, told the State
Department official that they would look into the matter. Having been
previously unsuccessful in attempts to speak with the senior State
official, during the same conversation, the FBI official asked the State
Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI
request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad. Following
the call, the FBI official consulted with a senior FBI executive
responsible for determining the classification of the material and
determined the email was in fact appropriately classified at the Secret
level. The FBI official subsequently told the senior State official that
the email was appropriately classified at the Secret level and that the FBI
would not change the classification of the email. The classification of the
email was not changed, and it remains classified today. Although there was
never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the
appropriate officials for review."

Separately, one claim from the FBI documents that was receiving attention
online was that one interviewee said there was a "stark difference" between
Clinton's "obedience to security and diplomatic protocols" and that of
former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Clinton, the interviewee said,
"blatantly" disregarded such protocols, including her frequent refusal to
attend foreign diplomatic functions with the local ambassador.

"This frequently resulted in complaints by ambassadors who were insulted
and embarrassed by this breach of protocol," the interview summary said,
adding that the subject claimed that "Clinton's protocol breaches were well
known throughout Diplomatic Security and were 'abundant.'"

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