The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) poured fresh fuel on the fire sparked by Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, releasing heavily redacted notes on its probe which White House rival Donald Trump seized on to attack her fitness for office.
The 58 pages 14 of which were entirely blacked out showed that the FBI found no evidence her email system was compromised but decided it could not be ruled out because some of her mobile devices weren’t recovered.
“The FBI did find that hostile foreign actors successfully gained access to the personal email accounts of individuals with whom Clinton was in regular contact and, in doing so, obtained emails sent to or received by Clinton on her personal account,” the notes said.
Clinton’s use of a private server has been the subject of simmering controversy as she runs for president against Trump, the Republican candidate. The documents’ release follows the FBI’s recommendation in July not to prosecute Clinton for sending unsecured emails with classified material through the server, though it found her to have been “extremely careless.”
Clinton’s campaign said it was “pleased” with the report’s release.
“While her use of a single email account was clearly a mistake and she has taken responsibility for it, these materials make clear why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case,” it said in a statement.
But Trump’s campaign pounced, charging that the notes reinforce her tremendously bad judgement and dishonesty.
“Clinton’s secret email server was an end run around government transparency laws that wound up jeopardising our national security and sensitive diplomatic efforts,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.
Embarrassing revelations include a passage in the report in which the 68-year-old Clinton told investigators she was unaware that confidential material was marked with a “C.”
“Clinton stated she did not know what the ‘(C)’ meant at the beginning of the paragraphs and speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order,” the report said.
“When asked of her knowledge regarding TOP SECRET, SECRET, and CONFIDENTIAL classification levels… Clinton responded that she did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classification and took all classified information seriously,” it added.
(With PTI inputs)