November 12, 2009: Blumenthal reveals the name of an official secretly working for a US intelligence agency in an email to Clinton.

"A Bright Shining Lie" is an HBO Vietnam war documentary based on a story by Major General John Paul Vann. (Credit: HBO)

“A Bright Shining Lie” is an HBO Vietnam war documentary based on a story by Major General John Paul Vann. (Credit: HBO)

Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal sends Clinton an email with the subject heading “Re: Afghanistan strategy” that he marks “Confidential.”

The bulk of the email contains two documents written by others for Clinton. Blumenthal comments, “One is a memo from [redacted] who served in the counter-insurgency program in Vietnam with John Paul Vann.” The name of this person will later be redacted, and the redaction code indicates this person secretly works for the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), NRO (National Reconnaissance Office), or NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency).

The rest of the email is not redacted except when this person’s name is mentioned. (US Department of State, 12/31/2015) 

Clinton responds the next day with the comment, “Thx [Thanks] so much for sending.” (US Department of State, 12/31/2015)

July 10, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton mentions the name of a secret Defense Department official.

Carlos Pascual (Credit: The Associated Press)

Carlos Pascual (Credit: The Associated Press)

Carlos Pascual, a State Department official based in Mexico City, writes an email meant to be passed to Clinton discussing US government assistance to Mexico after Hurricane Alex. The subject heading and more text in the email will later be redacted with a code indicating the mention of a name of a secret Defense Department official. The message is forwarded to email, but there’s no apparent reply from her. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

July 22, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email address of a secret CIA official.

Ben Rhodes (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

Ben Rhodes (Credit: Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes sends an email to over a dozen US officials. One name and email address will later be redacted because they are of a secret CIA official. The content and even the subject heading of the email are later completely redacted. Clinton aide Jake Sullivan receives the email and forwards it to Clinton. (US Department of State, 2/13/2016)

July 23, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email address of at least one secret CIA official.

A US official whose name is later classified sends an email to at least two dozen other US officials. Most of their names will later be classified as well. At least one redacted recipient’s name is that of a secret CIA official. The email concerns a recent WikiLeaks release of classified documents and includes an attachment that has a statement by senior Defense Department officials and relevant talking points. Clinton aide Jake Sullivan forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 2/26/2016)

July 25, 2010: An email chain forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email address of a secret CIA official.

Julian Assange (Credit: David G. Silver / Flickr)

Julian Assange (Credit: David G. Silver / Flickr)

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan forwards Clinton an email chain that has been discussing the recent releases of classified US government information by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Over 30 US officials are included in the email chain; the name and email address of one of them will later be redacted because that person is a secret CIA official. (US Department of State, 2/13/2016)

August 23, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton apparently reveals an aide to the leader of Afghanistan is being paid by the CIA.

Dexter Filkins (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Dexter Filkins (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Matt Lussenhop, a press officer at the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, sends an email to over a dozen other US officials. The email is sent to Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who emails it to Clinton. Lussenhop’s email concerns an article that New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins is about to get published. Filkins contacted the embassy in Kabul to get quotes for his story, which alleges that Muhammed Zia Salehi, an aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, is on the payroll of the CIA. The email is two paragraphs long, but the first paragraph will later be completely redacted and deemed classified at the “secret” level, the level below “top secret.” (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

The article will be published in the Times two days later, on August 25, 2010. (The New York Times, 8/25/2010)

Matt Lussenhop (Credit: public domain)

Matt Lussenhop (Credit: public domain)

In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, she will be asked about this email. According to the FBI, “Clinton stated she did not remember the email specifically. [She] stated she was not concerned the displayed email contained classified information [redacted] but stated she had no reason to doubt the judgment of the people working for her on the ‘front lines.'”  (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Salehi was arrested by Afghan police in July 2010, one month before the Times article about him, due to a US government wiretap on him as part of an anti-corruption case. But he was released the next day on the orders of Karzai. In 2013, Foreign Policy will confirm that not only was Salehi working for the CIA, but he actually was an intermediary who was giving secret CIA cash payments to Karzai. (Foreign Policy, 5/4/2013)

Given that this is one of a small number of emails Clinton will be asked about in her FBI interview, as well its classification at the “secret” level, it stands to reason that Lussenhop confirmed Salehi’s CIA connection.

 

September 12, 2010: An email forwarded to Clinton apparently reveals the names and emails of four secret CIA officials.

Judith McHale (Credit: public domain)

Judith McHale (Credit: public domain)

State Department official Mary Sanderson emails over a dozen other officials some analysis about Turkey from the department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). State Department official Judith McHale forwards the email to Clinton and a couple of her aides. Nothing in the analysis will later be deemed classified, but it appears four other recipients of Sanderson’s email are secret CIA officials. (US Department of State, 9/12/2010)

April 10, 2011: An email to Clinton mentions the name of a secret Defense Department official.

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan sends Clinton a three-page email that will later be entirely redacted except for one line that appears to summarize the contents: “Sharpening the Aims and Execution of the Coalition Mission in Libya.”

The sole line prior to this one will later be redacted according to a classification code indicating it reveals the name of a secret official working for the Defense Department. Clinton apparently does not send a reply. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

April 26, 2011: An email forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email address of a secret CIA official who might be in Libya.

Christina Tomlinson (Credit: Linked In)

Christina Tomlinson (Credit: Linked In)

State Department official Christina Tomlinson writes an email about a recent traffic accident involving US Special Envoy Christopher Stephens in Libya that killed four Libyan civilians. The email is sent to over 20 other US officials; most of them appear to have jobs related to the US military effort in the on-going Libyan civil war. The name and email address of one recipient will later be redacted due to that person being a secret CIA official. Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

May 4, 2011: An email forwarded to Clinton mentions the name and email address of a secret CIA official.

Ben Rhodes (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Ben Rhodes (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes sends an email to about a dozen other US officials. Many of the names are later redacted, including that of at least one secret CIA official. The email forwards comments from a recent President Obama interview, indicating Obama will not allow any photographs to be released of Osama bin Laden’s dead body. Clinton aide Jake Sullivan forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

June 6, 2011: An email from a secret CIA official is forwarded to Clinton.

Leon Panetta (Credit: The Associated Press)

Leon Panetta (Credit: The Associated Press)

An unnamed person sends an email to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills. Classification coding will later indicate the person is a secret CIA official. The entire contents of the short email is: “The Director said that the Secretary [Clinton’s] comments at today’s NSC meeting were outstanding and that he echoed them in spades.” “The Director” is a likely reference to Leon Panetta, the CIA director at the time, and “NSC” stands for “National Security Council.”

Mills forwards the email to Clinton, and Clinton gives a brief reply back to Mills. (US Department of State, 6/6/2011)

August 18–19, 2011: Emails forwarded to Clinton contain two names and information relating to US intelligence agencies.

Deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Goldberger (Credit: public domain)

Deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Goldberger (Credit: public domain)

A State Department official named Matthew Eussen sends an email to over two dozen other US officials about the latest violent developments between Israeli and Palestinian forces in Gaza. Two of the names sent the email will later be redacted, and the redaction code indicates those people secretly work for the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), NRO (National Reconnaissance Office), or NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency).

The next day, another State Department official, Thomas Goldberger, replies with more details, and this email is sent to the same group of US officials, including the two later redacted names. This email includes two and a half lines of text that will also be later redacted for containing secret information relating to the DIA, NRO, or NGA.

These emails get forwarded to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, and Abedin then forwards them to Clinton. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

September 30, 2011: An email forwarded to Clinton apparently includes the name of a secret CIA official in Pakistan.

A State Department official emails a number of other US officials the transcript of a recent President Obama radio interview. The interview includes important comments on Pakistan, so some of the US officials sent the email are in Pakistan. Apparently, the name of one such recipient will later be redacted because that person is a secret CIA official.

The email is forwarded to Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who forwards it to Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

October 16, 2011: A Clinton email mentions the name of a secret CIA official.

Douglas Kmiec (Credit: public domain)

Douglas Kmiec (Credit: public domain)

US Ambassador to Malta Douglas Kmiec sends Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills an email meant for Clinton, and Mills forwards it on to her. The email’s subject heading is: “Re: TIME SENSITIVE AND CONFIDENTIAL — Malta Trip Backgrounder for the Secretary — Confidential.” (“Confidential” is the lowest of three US classification levels.) The five-page email gives a general report on the personnel at the US embassy in Malta, plus other information about Malta.

All of the email will later be unredacted, except for one sentence: “The defense attaché there now is new [redacted] beloved and hardworking – and to good effect, patrolling the waters and the ports for drugs, traffickers, and terror related figures.”

The reason given for the redacted portion is the mention of a secret CIA official. As a result, the entire email will later be deemed “secret,” one level higher than “confidential.”

Clinton replies to the email, sending all of the original message to her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin as well. But Clinton only discusses her travel plans, and makes no mention of the CIA official. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)

November 11, 2011: Clinton is emailed the name of a secret CIA official.

Lona Valmoro (Credit: Eagleton Institute of Politics)

Lona Valmoro (Credit: Eagleton Institute of Politics)

Clinton’s main scheduler Lona Valmoro emails Clinton a list of seven names who will be attending an upcoming meeting. One name will later be redacted with an indicator that it is a secret CIA official. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

December 9, 2011: Another email forwarded to Clinton includes the name and email of a secret CIA official.

Clinton is forwarded an email from her aide Jake Sullivan with the subject heading “Mr. Donilon’s Meeting.” This is a likely reference to National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon. Virtually all the text in the emails in this chain are later redacted. However, emails in the chain are CCed to over 30 US officials, including at least one who is a secret CIA official. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

December 12, 2011: An email to Clinton mentions the name of a secret CIA official who worked for her.

Thomas E. Donilon (Credit: Council On Foreign Relations)

Thomas E. Donilon (Credit: Council On Foreign Relations)

An unnamed CIA official writes an email to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, talking about the end of his tour of duty. He had worked for Clinton in some capacity in the last year. He signs his email “TLG.”

Mills forwards the email to Clinton, and the amount of spacing suggests she mentions his full name in saying that “[redacted] last day is Thursday.”

Clinton merely replies by writing, “He did a good job.”

The name of the CIA official will later be redacted. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

December 16, 2011: Clinton’s daily schedule accidentally reveals the name of a secret CIA official.

State Department official Claire Coleman emails Clinton her daily schedule early in the morning. It mentions a photo opportunity with a person. The person’s name will later be redacted, but the context makes it clear it is the secret CIA official who gives her a daily intelligence briefing.

The New York Times will later report, “That email was originally released as ‘confidential’ but upgraded to ‘secret,’ probably reflecting that the person holds an undercover position now.” (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (The New York Times, 5/10/2016

Clinton sends a reply which is also classified at the “secret” level. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

March 14, 2012: An email forwarded to Clinton appears to reveal the secret identity of the CIA director’s chief of staff.

Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, forwards to Clinton an email with the subject heading: “URGENT — From Dave Petraeus’s Chief of Staff…” The name of the sender of the original email will later be redacted because it mentions the name of a secret CIA official. However, the subject heading logically suggests the sender is the chief of staff of CIA Director David Petraeus. The original email is sent at 4:44 a.m., suggesting it is quite urgent.

Parts of the email chain are later redacted due to containing “foreign government information” as additional mentions of secret CIA officials, although it’s unclear if all of these are the same person. Emails in the chain are too heavily redacted to be understood, although it might relate to security protocols, because Mills makes the comment, “I do want to discuss this situation as it will reoccur and we have protocols that we follow that I welcome covering with you.”

The email will later be classified at the “secret” level, which is the medium classification level, although it is not clear how much of this is due to the mention of a secret CIA name or names and how much is due to the urgent content in the emails. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) 

Clinton replies to Mills at 6:49 a.m., presumably just after arriving to work, agreeing to receive a phone call from Mills about the matter a short time later. Clinton’s reply email will also be later deemed “secret,” because it includes all of the previous emails in the chain. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)

March 14, 2012: Cheryl Mills reveals the name of a secret CIA official in an email that is forwarded to Clinton.

Ambassador Henry Ensher (Credit: public domain)

Ambassador Henry Ensher (Credit: public domain)

Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills writes an email to US Ambassador to Algeria Henry Ensher. Most of the short email will later be deemed classified both for containing “foreign government information” as well as the name of a secret CIA official. Ensher replies on March 19, and that also will later be deemed classified for containing “foreign government information” as well as the name of a secret CIA official. Mills then forwards the email chain to Clinton. The email to Clinton will later be deemed “secret,” the medium classification level. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)

March 25, 2012: An email to Clinton mentions the name of a secret CIA official.

Marc Grossman (Credit: public domain)

Marc Grossman (Credit: public domain)

State Department official Christina Tomlinson sends Clinton aide Jake Sullivan an email entitled “MG-Z in Dushanbe.” Sullivan then forwards it to Clinton. Other Clinton emails indicate that “MG” is a reference to US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman. Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. Different portions of Tomlinson’s email will be deemed classified for various reasons. But one section is classified because it mentions the name of a secret CIA official. As a result, the entire email will later be deemed “secret,” the middle classification level. There is no apparent response from Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)

September 14, 2012: Clinton is forwarded an email written by a secret CIA official.

Clinton and Obama attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the four Americans killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on September 14, 2012. (Credit: Molly Riley / Getty Images)

Clinton and Obama attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the four Americans killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on September 14, 2012. (Credit: Molly Riley / Getty Images)

An unnamed person sends an email to Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills. Later classification coding will indicate the sender is a secret CIA official. The email refer to an “amazing service” and “difficult ceremony”—a likely reference to the memorial earlier that day of the four US citizens killed in the Benghazi terrorist attacks two days earlier. The brief email also tells Mills, “Second, we are now in the process of sending you the classified cables the Secretary and/or you requested.” It is signed by “RS.” Mills forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/7/2016)

 Clinton responds by forwarding the email to another aide with the comment, “Pls [Please] print.” (US Department of State, 11/30/2015)

September 15, 2012—October 17, 2012: A mysterious email somehow related to talking points and the Benghazi attack mentions the name of a secret CIA official.

On September 15, 2012, an email from an redacted name is sent to about a dozen other redacted names. The only email recipient whose name is later unredacted is Clinton aide Jake Sullivan. Classification codes indicate that at least one of the many redacted names is a secret CIA official. The entire contents of the email will later be redacted except for the first two sentences: “Per the discussion at Deputies, here are the revised TPs for HPSCI. Let me know what you think.” “Deputies” is a likely reference to deputy cabinet members; “TPs” is a likely abbreviation of “talking points,” and “HPSCI” stands for the “House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”

On September 27, Sullivan forwards the email to Clinton.

On October 17, Clinton finally replies, “Pls [Please] print.”

Clinton’s email will first be released to the House Benghazi Committee, indicating its content is somehow related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. (US Department of State, 5/13/2015)

September 24, 2012: An email forwarded to Clinton mentions the name and email address of a secret CIA official.

Rexon Y. Ryu (credit: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Rexon Y. Ryu (credit: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

State Department official Rexon Y. Ryu sends an email to about a dozen other US officials, mostly also in the State Department. He says, “All – below is a conversation that Salman Ahmed had with Lakhdar Brahimi on Sunday. Ask that you keep this closehold, given the frankness of his comments.”

Salman Ahmed is a US senior policy advisor, and Lakhdar Brahimi is the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria. The email discusses the civil war in Syria, and large portions of it will later be redacted. But most notably, the name and email address of one recipient of Ryu’s email will be redacted because that person is a secret CIA official.

Clinton aide Jake Sullivan is another recipient, and he forwards the email to Clinton. (US Department of State, 2/13/2016)

October 13, 2012: Clinton receives an email that reveals undercover CIA officers use State Department cover in Afghanistan.

Jeremy Bash (left) Leon Panetta (right) (Credits: public domain)

Jeremy Bash (left) Leon Panetta (right) (Credits: public domain)

Jeremy Bash, who is chief of staff to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the time, sends an email to four other US officials, including Clinton aides Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. Sullivan then forwards the email to Clinton. The email has the subject heading: “This a.m. Green on Blue.” That is an idiom referring to when police attacks soldiers. The email refers to an Afghan police officer triggering a suicide vest and killing or wounding 14 Americans or Afghans, including one dead American.

The email will later be classified at the “secret” level, suggesting some important classified information in it, but its redactions make it difficult to understand. There is no indication of a reply from Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)

In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, she will be specifically asked about this email, again suggesting something unusual about it. However, her answer will also be heavily reacted. For instance, “Clinton believed she would be speculating if she were to state what [redacted] meant when he referred to [redacted].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Dario Lorenzetti (public domain)

Dario Lorenzetti (public domain)

On February 4, 2016, NBC News will reveal that the email concerns undercover CIA officer Dario Lorenzetti. He died in the suicide attack described in the email. Lorenzetti’s CIA connection was leaked to the media by anonymous officials four days after his death and was widely reported in the news media, although his CIA cover was not lifted until later.

According to NBC News, in the redacted portions of the email, it seems Bash was trying “to preserve the CIA officer’s cover. But some of the language he used, now that Lorenzetti is known to have been a CIA officer, could be read as a US government acknowledgement that CIA officers pose as State Department personnel in a specific country, Afghanistan — something widely known but not formally admitted.” This is why the email is classified at the “secret” level.

Bash ends the email by instructing a CIA spokesperson to “please lash up with [redacted].” NBC News will indicate the missing word is “presumably either the spy agency or one of its employees.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

This may be the phrase that the FBI asked Clinton about, and to which she replied that “she would be speculating if she were to state what [redacted] meant when he referred to [redacted].” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

NBC News will also interview Bash about this email. Bash will claim that the email “did not reference the individual’s name, employer, nor any identifying description or information.” Additionally, once the CIA posthumously lifted Lorenzetti’s cover, “the original unclassified email could be read to confirm the general use of cover, prompting the redactions we now see. But any suggestion that this email contained confirmation about the person or his cover, or any inappropriate information, is flat wrong.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

October 25, 2012: An email forwarded to Clinton contains embassy security details that could endanger lives.

US Chargé D’Affaires for Sudan Joseph Stafford (Credit: State Department)

US Chargé D’Affaires for Sudan Joseph Stafford (Credit: State Department)

Joseph Stafford, a top official at the US embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, is asked if the embassy has gotten extra security for some unnamed reason. Stafford explains in an email, “We’ve gotten the extra protection – twenty-seven police currently deployed around Embassy compound,” [redacted] “Senior police contact reports that an additional 300 police are on standby at nearby police compound, approx. 8 minute response time…” According to classification coding, the missing portion will later be redacted due to information that could “endanger life or physical safety of any individual.”

The email is forward to Clinton by her chief of staff Cheryl Mills with the comment, “FYI.” There is no apparent response from Clinton. (US Department of State, 11/30/2015)

November 10, 2012: An email to Clinton inadvertently mentions the name of a secret CIA official.

Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan (Credit: public domain)

Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan (Credit: public domain)

One day after David Petraeus resigns as CIA director due to media reports that he had improperly handled classified information, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan sends an email to National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon detailing the provisions for Petraeus’s personal security due to his unexpected resignation.

Donilon then forwards it to Clinton, commenting, “Madam Secretary – Attached is an update on the security for Dave P.”

All of Brennan’s email will later be redacted and classified at the “confidential” level on the grounds that it involves “vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security.” But another reason given for that classification is that it mentions the name of a secret CIA officer.

There is no apparent reply from Clinton. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (The New York Times, 5/10/2016)

January 19, 2013: An email to Clinton lists the names of defense personnel sent to war-torn Mali.

French troops are greeted by locals as they arrive to defend Timbuktu, Mali, on January 28, 2013. (Credit: Arnaud Roine / Reuters)

French troops are greeted by locals as they arrive to defend Timbuktu, Mali, on January 28, 2013. (Credit: Arnaud Roine / Reuters)

Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy sends Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills an email regarding the sending of six officers from the Defense Department’s Defense Attaché Office (DAO) to Bamako, Mali, the next day.

The names of these six people are given in the email, but they will later be redacted due to a code indicating their identities are to be kept secret. Mali is experiencing a civil war with Islamist militants at the time, and in January 2013 numerous foreign governments have sent soldiers to assist the Mali government.

The email is forwarded to Clinton, who replies that she is fine with the DAO personnel being sent. But her response will later also be partially redacted. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) 

Furthermore, it appears Kennedy attaches a document that lists the names and job positions of dozens of employees temporarily assigned to the US embassy in Bamako, Mali. The names of eight defense attachés in the list will later be redacted as well. (US Department of State, 2/13/2016)

January 23, 2013: Another email forwarded to Clinton contains the name and email address of a CIA official.

Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the attacks against the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on January 23, 2013. (Credit: Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

Hillary Clinton testifies before the Congress on the attacks against the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on January 23, 2013. (Credit: Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwards Clinton’s recent Congressional testimony about the US response to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. One of the handful of people Mills forwards the email to is a secret CIA official, so the name and email address of that person will later be redacted.

Mills then forwards the email chain to Clinton. (US Department of State, 2/29/2016)

January 20, 2016: A former CIA official says Clinton’s top secret emails “absolutely, without question” could have gotten people killed.

Charles Faddis (Credit: Pro Publica)

Charles Faddis (Credit: Pro Publica)

In a Fox News interview, former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis explains how ‘top secret” and especially SAP or “special access program” intelligence is kept separate from all other intelligence: “There is zero ambiguity here. None. Hard copy, electronic, it is clearly marked. If it’s electronic, you’re probably accessing it in a completely separate channel. So not all one stream where everything is mixed together.”

He adds that “the reason this stuff is in this channel is because it’s going to do incredible damage to US national security if it gets out in the open.”

Asked if a leak of the top secret intelligence sent to Clinton’s private email would cost lives, he replies, “Absolutely, without question.”

And when asked what would have happened if he had sent such information to an unsecure email account, he replies, “My career’s over, I lose my clearance, I lose my job, and then I go to prison, probably for a very long time.” (Fox News, 1/20/2016)

February 1, 2016: Some of Clinton’s 22 “top secret” emails allegedly contain “operational intelligence” involving espionage sources and methods.

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency (NSA) counterintelligence officer, claims that, “Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s ‘unclassified’ emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. […] At a minimum, valuable covers have been blown, careers have been ruined, and lives have been put at serious risk.” Additionally, some names of foreigners who are on the CIA payroll are mentioned.

One unnamed senior Intelligence Community official says that because of the likelihood that foreign governments have accessed all of Clinton’s emails, “It’s a death sentence. If we’re lucky, only agents, not our officers, will get killed because of this.”

Schindler comments, “Her defense seems to be that neither she nor anybody on her staff were able to recognize that top secret information was actually top secret, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Hillary’s qualifications to be our next commander-in-chief.” (The New York Observer, 2/1/2016)

Four days later, a NBC News article comments on the same topic with more modest claims. According to unnamed US officials, the references to undercover officers were indirect and Clinton made no comment about them.

The article adds, “Some of the references to covert intelligence officers, and other discussions of CIA drone strikes, were against classification rules and were ‘sloppy,’ one official said. But views are split on whether they were damaging to national security.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

February 3, 2016: Clinton’s top secret emails are said to reveal sources, methods, and assets.

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune)

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune)

Representative Chris Stewart (R), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has viewed Clinton’s 22 “top secret” emails, says those emails “do reveal classified methods, they do reveal classified sources, and they do reveal human assets.” He adds, “I can’t imagine how anyone could be familiar with these emails, whether they’re sending them or receiving them, and not realize that these are highly classified.” (The Washington Post, 2/4/2016

Additionally, he claims that there are seven more Clinton emails with a classification of “top secret” or higher that the government has not publicly mentioned yet. (The Washington Examiner, 2/3/2016) 

The Washington Post reports, “Other sources who have viewed the emails do not describe [them] as strongly, though one official said Clinton’s aides might have put their security clearances at risk.” (The Washington Post, 2/3/2016) 

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), who as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee has also viewed the emails, claims that none of them originated from Clinton, were not marked as classified at the time, and do not deserve to be marked as such. (Dianne Feinstein, 1/29/2016)

In July 2016, it will be reported that there are eight chains of top secret emails instead of the previously reported seven, suggesting that Stewart was right that there are more than 22. It will also be reported by FBI Director James Comey that some of the top secret emails originated from Clinton, all of them deserved to be marked “top secret,” and all contained classified information when they were sent. (The New York Times, 7/5/2016)

February 4, 2016: A handful of publicly released Clinton emails make indirect or veiled references to undercover CIA officers.

For instance, a CIA officer is referred to as a “State” Department official, with the quote marks suggesting the person is not actually a diplomat. Another email refers to “OGA,” which stands for “other government agency” and is a common pseudonym within government circles for the CIA. NBC News notes, “The messages at issue are part of a longstanding pattern of senior officials at the State Department and other government agencies trying to talk around classified information over email, sometimes unsuccessfully.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

February 5, 2016: The New York Times reveals a few more details about what Clinton’s 22 emails deemed “top secret” contain.

A Reaper drone firing its missile. (Credit: public domain)

A Reaper drone firing its missile. (Credit: public domain)

The Times reports, “It remains unknown what exactly the 22 emails contain, given their classification as ‘top secret,’ but [some US] officials described them generally, on the condition of anonymity. The officials included people familiar with or involved in the handling of the emails in government agencies and in Congress.”

  • Officials from US intelligence agencies have battled with State Department officials over what should be considered classified in Clinton’s emails, with the intelligence agencies arguing for more classification and the State Department arguing for less. But in the case of Clinton’s 22 top secret emails, even the State Department agreed that all 22 should be deemed top secret or even above top secret.
  • The emails comprise seven distinct email chains, and most of those chains involve discussions of the CIA drone program. The Obama administration has generally considered the program highly classified, even though details of it have been widely reported. However, some Clinton’s emails contain unredacted mentions of the drone program, so it is the discussion of certain details of the drone program that merit a top secret classification. For instance, some of the top secret emails include an email discussion relating to an unnamed New York Times article that “contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the CIA’s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.”
  • At least one of the email chains was started by Richard Holbrooke, “who as the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan would have been intimately involved in dealing with the ramifications of drone strikes.” He died in December 2010.
  • “Some of the emails” include information deemed “top secret/SAP,” which means “special access programs.” The Times calls these programs “among the government’s most closely guarded secrets.”
  • “At least one of the emails contain[s] oblique references to CIA operatives.” One email has been given a designation of “HCS-O,” which indicates the information came from human intelligence sources. However, officials say that “none of the emails mention specific names of CIA officers or the spy agency’s sources.” (The New York Times, 2/5/2016)

May 10, 2016: The New York Times reports that 18 of Clinton’s publicly released emails have been deemed classified on the grounds that they identified CIA officials.

The Times claims that, “In 18 emails, for example, information has been classified on the grounds that it identifies CIA officials, including two instances that are now considered “secret.” (The New York Times, 5/10/2016) 

However, this is not entirely accurate. A search of the State Department’s database of Clinton’s released emails indicates that 49 emails used the code “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” which indicates a redacted mention of secret CIA personnel or organizational details. Many of these are emails from the same email chain. But there are in fact five separate chains mentioning the name of a CIA official classified at the “secret” level, not two. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (US Department of State, 2/29/2016) (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (US Department of State, 1/29/2016) (US Department of State, 1/29/2016

There are 17 more separate email chains that have the redacted names of secret CIA officials, for a total of 22, not 18. Additionally, it has previously been reported that a “handful” of additional emails make veiled references to the fact that certain government officials actually work for the CIA. (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

June 8, 2016: The names of CIA officials could have been revealed through a combination of the content of Clinton’s emails and the classification markings on them.

Stewart Baker (Credit: Diego M. Radzinsch / National Law Journal)

Stewart Baker (Credit: Diego M. Radzinsch / National Law Journal)

The Associated Press reports that after Clinton’s 30,000 work-related emails were turned over to the State Department, 47 of them were marked with the notation “B3 CIA PERS/ORG” to justify why certain passages were redacted.

Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary of the Homeland Security Department and a former NSA legal counsel, says, “Start with the entirely plausible view that foreign intelligence services discovered and rifled Hillary Clinton’s server.” Then those agencies could compare the full emails with the redacted versions and use the B3 CIA markings to find the meaning of names that otherwise might not be obvious. Baker says, “Presto—the CIA names just fall off the page.”

An unnamed US official says the risk of the names of CIA personnel being revealed in this way is “theoretical,” since it is unknown if other governments hacked Clinton’s server to get their own full versions of the emails. (The Associated Press, 6/8/2016)

June 10, 2016: A Congressperson claims Clinton’s “top secret” emails reveal classified means, methods, and human assets.

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: public domain)

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: public domain)

Republican Representative Chris Stewart, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has access to unredacted versions of Clinton’s emails, including her 22 “top secret” emails. He says of Clinton, “She did reveal classified means. She did reveal classified methods. She did reveal classified human assets.”

Stewart, a former Air Force pilot, adds, “If I had behaved that way in the military, I would be very concerned about my legal future.” (The Guardian, 6/10/2016)