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The Final 1,700 Hillary Clinton Emails Were Just Released — And One Was Not

With Super Tuesday looming, the US State Department released the last batch of Clinton's emails from her tenure as Secretary of State.
February 29, 2016, 11:55pm
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The State Department completed its release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails Monday, posting the final 3,800 pages to its website just hours before Super Tuesday, when voters in 12 states will vote for a potential presidential candidate.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday that one email was being withheld at the request of an unnamed law enforcement agency, but that no other emails were classified Top Secret. He noted that one email, previously classified Top Secret by the Intelligence Community Inspector General, was downgraded to Secret. The July 2009 email pertains to North Korea's nuclear program.

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"The State Department has been actively engaged in discussion with the intelligence community about this document since last year," Kirby said. "Based on subsequent review, the intelligence community revised its earlier assessment and asked the State Department to upgrade a limited amount of information in this document to the 'Secret' level, not the 'Top Secret' level. The original assessment was not correct and the document does not contain 'Top Secret' information."

But Kirby said 261 other emails released Monday were marked Secret and "confidential," bringing the total to 2,115 emails that contain classified information. Twenty-two of Clinton's emails were previously classified Top Secret, meaning the correspondence contains information that would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security if disclosed.

State started rolling out roughly 30,000 Clinton emails last May under a court order in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in January 2015 by VICE News that sought all of Clinton's emails. The New York Times revealed that Clinton exclusively used a private email account connected to a server in her home to conduct official business during her four-year tenure as the nation's top diplomat.

One email released Monday was sent to Clinton on January 25, 2013 by her longtime confidante Sidney Blumenthal. It concerned "internal Libya security deliberations" and was based on "sources with direct access to the Libyan National Government, as well as the highest levels of European Governments, and Western Intelligence and security services."

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Clinton's very typical response? "Pls print," she told her aide Monica Hanley.

A March 6, 2011 email from Jacob Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff and foreign policy adviser, advises Clinton that the State Department would release a statement in her name under the title, "Reaffirming America's Commitment to Humane Treatment of Detainees."

Related: There Are 1,800 Reasons Why the Controversy Over Hillary Clinton's Emails Is Far From Over

"It's long but people really like it," Sullivan wrote.

The statement revolved around additional protocols of the Geneva Conventions "that reaffirm the determination of the United States to treat humanely all detainees in our custody" and President Barack Obama's pledge to shut down Guantanamo before he leaves office, a decision Clinton strongly supported.

An email chain from July 2012 also contained a joke about rivalries between the White House and the State Department. Among other things, it said that Associated Press reporter Matt Lee saw that Sullivan left his Blackberry at a bar in Jerusalem and he read messages about tensions between the State Department and the White House over competing trips to Israel by Tom Donilon, Obama's national security adviser, and Clinton. Clinton's senior adviser Philippe Reines claimed Lee sent an email to him and questioned him about it.

Matt Lee is asking why NSA Donilon isn't delaying his departure a mere 90-minutes so that he can greet President Obama's Highest Ranking Cabinet Officer upon her arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.

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Matt said that it could appear to some as "Hillary Clinton, a cabinet officer 4th in line to the Presidency, being snubbed by an unconfirmed staffer 7,927th in the line of succession."

I took real offense to that nasty swipe at Tom's standing, told Matt he was being unnecessarily petulant and childish, and that not everyone's standing is as cut and dried as the Constitution's Article II, 20th Amendment, 25th Amendment, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 make it out to be. I also pointed out that USG officials come and go from important regions all the time, this is nothing new. He claims it hasn't happened since George Elsey slighted Secretary of State George Marshall. (I'd never heard the name so I pretended I knew who Elsey was; had to Google him later to learn he was President Truman's key foreign policy official in the WH.)

At first Matt wouldn't tell me how he even knew about any of this, but then confessed that he saw Jake's Blackberry sitting on the bar, and the screen was filled with… [redacted]

But Lee never did what Reines wrote about. It was all an inside joke.

Another email contains a message sent to then-Deputy White House National Security Adviser Denis McDonough on February 16, 2010 from Mark Landler, a reporter for the New York Times, inquiring about the contents of a speech Clinton was giving about Iran and whether the White House was "comfortable" with her comments.

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Hi Denis,

I'm with Hillary in the Gulf.

Yesterday, she talked about how the US will protect allies in the Gulf from Iranian aggression. Though she didn't use the phrase "security umbrella," she endorsed the idea of the US playing that kind of role. Did you all discuss this message before she went out? Is the WH comfortable with the points she's been making? One fine point: Hillary was always more hawkish on Iran. Is there a sense that the admin's policy is swinging in her direction, with the engagement effort hitting a wall?

McDonough responded to Landler saying the White House was not only comfortable with Clinton's remarks, "but is grateful for her leadership on this in the region and at home."

Here are the points I thought up on the bike which you can use on background from SAO [senior administration official].

1. Engagement is pressure and has been successful - not sure what "wall" you are referring to.

a. Iran is more isolated internationally;

b. Is more divided internally than anytime in memory; and

c. Is witnessing its claims to legitimacy in the region as well as the regional balance of power shift away from it

2. SecState is rightly in the lead on the diplomacy on this issue and is making the case for the Admin-wide policy, one which draws on all elements of our national power.

Clinton was a supporter of the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran. But last month, she called for new sanctions to be imposed against Iran over a ballistic missile program even as the nuclear deal was being implemented.

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Also included in the cache is a one-page executive summary related to documents about Afghanistan and Pakistan Wikileaks obtained from Army Private Chelsea Manning.

Talking points are being developed for use in response to query once news stories begin to appear. The statements and RTQ [response to query] will strongly condemn the transfer of classified information to persons not authorized to receive it and publication by various organizations that could cause harm to U.S. service members and national security. The products will highlight the new, integrated Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy being implemented over the past six months and the differences in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2010 compared to period covered by the documents.

The summary says the Obama administration expects that when news stories about the documents are published it will "likely to provoke negative public reactions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. There will be significant, but less volatile, public and government reaction in the U.S. and Europe.

Editor's note: This report initially stated that AP reporter Matt Lee read Jacob Sullivan's BlackBerry. The email in which the assertion was made, however, was entirely satirical and we failed to point that out. We apologize to Lee. 

Follow Jason Leopold on Twitter: @JasonLeopold