While serving as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “blatantly” disregarded protocol, an issue that prompted an official to say that there was a “stark difference” between Clinton’s “obedience to security and diplomatic protocols” and the behavior of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The details come from a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report released Monday.
“This frequently resulted in complaints by ambassadors who were insulted and embarrassed by this breach of protocol,” the summary reads. According to the FBI docs, the interviewee also added that “Clinton’s [use of a private email server was] well known throughout Diplomatic Security, and [breaches] were ‘abundant.’”
The 100-page document contains interview summaries conducted by the FBI along with notes from its agents, which may offer the public a glimpse into the government’s official Clinton email investigation.
The last 100-page release is the fourth installment of documents related to the Clinton email probe recently released by the FBI. The most recent release also contains allegations regarding a “quid pro quo” request from Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management, among other claims.
According to the FBI document, Kennedy “pressured FBI agents to change the classification on sensitive documents found on Hillary Clinton’s private email server” in “exchange for a ‘quid pro quo.’” Promptly after the document’s release, both the FBI and State Department denied such an arrangement took place — but that didn’t stop the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from demanding more information on the exchange.
In a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, the committee chair, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), along with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, claimed to have reasons to believe Kennedy “inappropriately influenced the review of Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
Despite the uproar the release sparked due to the bribery allegations, some news organizations took particular interest in the FBI document’s mention of “the Shadow Government,” a group of “very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government.’”
According to the FBI probe, “[t]his group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional records, and everything CLINTON-related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries.”
In the letter to Secretary Kerry, Chaffetz and Nunes added that members of the Shadow Government included Kennedy and “several former attorneys from the law firm that has represented [Clinton] in this investigation, Williams & Connolly LLP,” suggesting Clinton’s legal representatives may have influenced the FBI much like Kennedy attempted to.
Both congressmen are now urging Kerry to remove Kennedy from his post until further investigation can show proof the undersecretary did not have anything to do with the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Clinton.
In the FBI’s summary, the Shadow Government is said to have urged the FBI to drop the investigation documents all at once “for coordination purposes.” This information comes from an unidentified person, the FBI documents claim.
Usually, the bureau releases investigation documents on a rolling basis, releasing batches of investigation documents in its official vault. The group of very high-ranking State officials allegedly urged officials to do the opposite, but they did not get their way.
Regardless, after announcing the investigation had been concluded, FBI Director James Comey decided not to prosecute former Secretary of State Clinton, claiming the move was apolitical.
“I want the American people to know we really did this the right way,” Comey said in July. “You can disagree with us, but you cannot fairly say we did it in any kind of political way. We don’t carry water for anybody. We were trying to do what the right thing is.”
At the time, Comey explained he arrived at that particular decision because “no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case, no reasonable prosecutor would bring the second case in 100 years focused on ‘gross negligence.’” Nevertheless, the FBI’s own notes seem to argue that Clinton and her State Department minions may have been involved in criminal acts other than gross negligence.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article referred to Rep. Chaffetz as a lawmaker from California. It has been updated to reflect he represents Utah.