FBI says no collusion involved with State Dept. over classified Clinton email

The FBI and State Department both say there was never an offer to swap favors related to the investigation.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Oct. 17, 2016 at 4:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The FBI said Monday there was no discussion between it and the U.S. Department of State to officially declare that an email sent by Hillary Clinton from her private server contained no classified information.

Recently-released documents have suggested that one FBI official and a department official had discussed the possibility of trading favors to change one of the Clinton emails from "classified" to "unclassified."

The document indicated that the offer of "quid pro quo" was made by State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy. In exchange, the State Department would purportedly make available additional overseas assignments for FBI agents.

Monday, though, the FBI said it has found no evidence of such an offer.

The email in question was ultimately labeled as classified.

"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 told CBS News. "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."

"The FBI determined that one such email was classified at the Secret level," the bureau told NBC News. "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 Freedom of Information Act exemption."

The FBI said the issues of the email's classification and stationing more agents abroad were separate and unrelated.

"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," the FBI said.

The State Department has also said there was no proposed trade.

"This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts. To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015," State spokesman Mark Toner stated. "Undersecretary Kennedy sought to understand the FBI's process for withholding certain information from public release."

"As has been reported, there have been discussions within the interagency on issues of classification," he continued. "Classification is an art, not a science, and individuals with classification authority sometimes have different views."

The FBI has been investigating the Democratic nominee's use of a private email server while she served as President Barack Obama's secretary of state. Clinton has maintained that she never sent classified information via the non-official server and the FBI has repeatedly submitted that she committed no wrongdoing.

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