The State Department said on Friday that the department will not release 22 emails in the cache of emails submitted by Hillary Clinton because the emails have been deemed to be "top secret."
With the Iowa caucuses three days away, the designation is the latest news about about a story — Clinton's use of a personal email account and the private server on which it was housed — that has dominated her presidential campaign over the past year. The seven email threads will not be included in the public release of Clinton's email scheduled for Friday, the AP first reported:
But The Associated Press has learned seven email chains are being withheld in full because they contain information deemed to be "top secret." The 37 pages include messages recently described by a key intelligence official as concerning so-called "special access programs" — a highly restricted subset of classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes or government eavesdropping.
Department officials wouldn't describe the substance of the emails, or say if Clinton sent any herself. They also wouldn't disclose if any of the documents reflected information that was classified at the time of transmission, but indicated that the agency's Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus have begun looking into that question. [...]
For those that Clinton only read, and didn't write or forward, she still would have been required to report classification slippages that she recognized. But without classification markings, that may have been difficult, especially if the information was in the public domain.
Clinton has maintained that she didn't send or receive information marked classified, though initially when she first discussed the issue, she said she had not sent classified information, and her campaign said that she had a separate system to consume classified information.