New allegations of a quid pro quo arrangement — thins one between a senior State Department official and agents of the FBI, were disclosed through interview summaries and notes that the bureau released to Congress. The apparent arrangement occurred during the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and was disclosed to Fox News chief Intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge by two separate congressional sources.
“This is a flashing red light of potential criminality,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz told Fox News.
“There was an alleged quid pro quo” involving Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy and the FBI “over at least one classified email,” the Utah Republican continued.
“In return for altering the classification, the possibility of additional slots for the FBI at missions overseas was discussed,” Chaffetz said.
According to Fox News:
As Fox News previously reported, interviews released earlier this month, known as 302s, reveal the serious allegation that Kennedy applied pressure to subordinates to change classified email codes so they would be shielded from Congress and the public. Fox News was told as far back as August 2015 that Kennedy was running interference on Capitol Hill. But Kennedy, in his FBI interview on Dec. 21, 2015, “categorically rejected” allegations of classified code tampering.
Chaffetz said that the allegations came through witnesses and not from a reading of the actual documents, which contain classified information.
“Both myself and Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence are infuriated by what we have heard,” he added.
“Left to their own devices the FBI would never have provided these [records] to Congress and waited until the last minute. This is the third batch because [the FBI] didn’t think they were relevant,” Chaffetz said.
A second congressional source confirmed Chaffetz’s assessment and added that the FBI interviews could be released to the public as soon as Monday. An FBI spokesman, however, disputed the conclusions reached by Chaffetz as much ado about nothing in a lengthy statement.
Others weren’t so sure. Senior writer for “The Weekly Standard” Stephen Hayes and the “Washington Examiner’s” chief political correspondent Byron York tweeted:
BREAKING: A senior State Dept official discussed a "quid pro quo" w/the FBI in exchange for reclassification of HRC emails, per FBI docs.
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) October 15, 2016
From @FoxNews Catherine Herridge: Officials discussed deal in which State would re-classify Clinton email in return for FBI jobs overseas.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 15, 2016
The FBI’s statement claimed that no such deal had been made and that the FBI refused to alter classification codes on the Clinton emails.
Prior to the initiation of the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server, the FBI was asked to review and make classification determinations on FBI emails and information which were being produced by the State Department pursuant to FOIA. The FBI determined that one such email was classified at the Secret level. A senior State Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from release under a different FOIA exemption. A now-retired FBI official, who was not part of the subsequent Clinton investigation, told the State Department official that they would look into the matter. Having been previously unsuccessful in attempts to speak with the senior State official, during the same conversation, the FBI official asked the State Department official if they would address a pending, unaddressed FBI request for space for additional FBI employees assigned abroad. Following the call, the FBI official consulted with a senior FBI executive responsible for determining the classification of the material and determined the email was in fact appropriately classified at the Secret level. The FBI official subsequently told the senior State official that the email was appropriately classified at the Secret level and that the FBI would not change the classification of the email. The classification of the email was not changed, and it remains classified today. Although there was never a quid pro quo, these allegations were nonetheless referred to the appropriate officials for review.