BOMBSHELL LEAK: A top State Department official allegedly “pressured” the FBI to downgrade the classification of one of Hillary Clinton’s emails as part of a “quid pro quo,” according to documents released by the bureau on Monday.
The accusation of such an arrangement came from an interview the FBI conducted with an official in its records management division. Notes from the interview were released as part of the FBI’s public posting of documents related to its now-closed investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
In the interview, the unnamed official says that Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, tried in late June or early July of last year to get the FBI to change a classified email to unclassified, in exchange for the State Department allowing the FBI to place agents in more countries.
The conversation allegedly occurred as the FBI and State were engaging in an interagency review of Clinton’s emails as they were being prepared for public release. Ultimately, FBI Director James Comey said just over 100 emails retrieved from Clinton’s server were deemed classified after the fact, although the Democratic nominee contends she never knowingly sent or received classified emails.
In an exchange that included redacted names, the interview notes state that “[REDACTED] received a call from [REDACTED] of the International Operations Division (IOD) of the FBI, who ‘pressured’ him to change the classified email to unclassified. [REDACTED] indicated he had been contacted by PATRICK KENNEDY, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’”
The notes go on to say, “[REDACTED] advised that, in exchange for marking the email unclassified, STATE would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”
An unnamed official alleges that Kennedy followed up this request by asking during a private meeting whether the FBI could “see their way to marking the email unclassified?”