An FBI letter addressed to the State Department has confirmed that the bureau is investigating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. This is the first official confirmation that such an investigation was taking place.
On Feb. 2, FBI general counsel James Baker wrote to State Department acting legal adviser Mary McLeod. The letter became public on Feb. 8 when it was part of a Freedom of Information Act court case filed by Judicial Watch against the State Department, MSNBC reports.
Throughout 2015, the FBI would neither confirm nor deny that there was an investigation into Clinton’s email cache.
“Since that time, in public statements and testimony, the Bureau has acknowledged generally that it is working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server,” Baker wrote, according to Politico. “The FBI has not, however, publicly acknowledged the specific focus, scope or potential targets of any such proceedings.”
Despite the FBI’s investigation having been an open secret, Baker wrote that “we remain unable to provide the requested information without adversely affecting on-going law enforcement efforts.”
The FBI’s investigation is now officially confirmed, although specific details about the bureau’s progress or whether or not they consider Clinton’s actions criminal remain a mystery.
The former Secretary’s emails have been incrementally released by the State Department. The final installment of emails were scheduled to be made public on Jan. 29, but the department said that an internal oversight and the January blizzard in Washington D.C. made it impossible to meet the deadline.
The State Department has disclosed that former Secretaries Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice had information sent to their private servers that would now be retroactively deemed classified.
While the FBI has not described the investigation in-depth, GOP leaders are using the official confirmation as evidence that Clinton is not electable, Washington Times reports.
“The FBI’s announcement confirms the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret email server is far from the routine ‘security review’ she has claimed,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “Clinton’s conduct was a severe error in judgment that grossly endangered our national security and put highly classified information at risk. This development is another reminder that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted with the presidency.”