If the nation's top intelligence official had his way, some of the classified information found on Hillary Clinton's private email server wouldn't have been deemed sensitive enough to be classified in the first place.
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Speaking today at an intelligence-related summit in Washington, D.C., Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said U.S. agencies are “guilty” of labeling too much information as classified, and he said agencies could “somewhat simplify our system” if they would “just not bother” restricting information that's currently classified as “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.
Clapper was not speaking about Clinton’s case, instead referring to a broader effort to overhaul the classification system used across the U.S. government. But his comments come amid an increasing debate over the classified information found on the private server that the Democratic presidential nominee used when she was secretary of state.
In all, authorities found 81 email chains containing information that was classified at some level when sent, according to the FBI’s recently released report on the matter.
Of those email chains, 36 contained “Confidential” information, while eight contained “Top Secret” information and another 37 contained “Secret” information, the FBI’s report released Friday stated.
In addition, the only information marked as classified on Clinton’s server involved “Confidential” material -- three email chains contained at least one paragraph with the “(C)” marking to indicate information in the paragraph was “Confidential.”
But the emails were not properly marked, lacking a header or footer to signal they contained classified information, according to the FBI report.
“Clinton stated she did not know what the ‘(C)’ means 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 of USG information, Clinton responded that she did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classification and took all classified information seriously.”
House Republicans have accused Clinton of lying to Congress when she testified late last year that she never sent or received emails marked classified at the time, and they want federal authorities to open a criminal investigation into the matter.
FBI Director James Comey has said that while his agency didn’t find evidence Clinton knew she was sending or receiving classified information over her server, he believes she was “extremely careless” and “negligent.”
He also said the FBI determined that Clinton was not “particularly sophisticated with respect to classified information.”