Data compiled for drone strikes in Pakistan from 2009 – 2012. (Credit: The Bureau Investigates)
The emails are sent in 2011 and 2012, the last two years of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, after a secret agreement that gave the State Department a say in whether a CIA drone strike took place. This is “according to Congressional and law-enforcement officials briefed” on the FBI’s investigation. Some emails were then forwarded to Clinton, despite her exclusive use of an unapproved private server for all her emails. The Journal cites one email chain from December 23, 2011 discussing a planned drone strike that was later released as one of Clinton’s emails but highly redacted.
However, out of Clinton’s 22 emails deemed “top secret,” the Journal claims that “many of them dealt with whether [State Department officials] concurred or not with the CIA drone strikes, Congressional and law-enforcement officials said.”
The Journal comments, “Beyond the [presidential] campaign implications, the investigation exposes the latest chapter in a power struggle that pits the enforcers of strict secrecy, including the FBI and CIA, against some officials at the State Department and other agencies who want a greater voice in the use of lethal force around the globe, because of the impact it has on broader U.S. policy goals.” (The Wall Street Journal, 6/9/2016)
The Journal does not question why Clinton and her staff did not use other options, such as secure phone lines, instead of personal smart phones for quick communication.
But a few days later, former NSA John Schindler will comment, “As the secretary of state, Ms. Clinton and her top staff had access to classified communications systems 24 hours a day. They chose not to use them here—a choice that clearly violated federal law.” (The New York Observer, 6/15/2016)