Lawyers with expertise in government security and secrecy law reportedly believe Hillary Clinton is not at risk of going to prison over the information found in emails that were sent from an unsecured computer server during her time as U.S. Secretary of State.
Late on Aug. 31, the State Department released another swath of Clinton’s emails, which discuss everything from the 2010 midterm elections to primetime television programs, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Around 7,000 pages, or 4,368 emails, were released, making this batch the largest email release to date, USA Today reported. The department upgraded 125 emails as “classified” due to the information they contain.
The Clinton camp has repeatedly said that any information that was sent out in the past was not deemed classified at the time.
Critics say Clinton should have known better than to use her personal computer server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, to conduct governmental affairs and business. They also claim that if her unprotected server had been the target of any cyberattack, it would have put government information at risk.
Lawyers note that proving that Clinton knew that she was sending classified documents will be a difficult task.
“How can you be on notice if there are no markings?” Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who specializes in security clearance cases, told the AP.
It will also be tricky to prove Clinton and her aides knew they were mishandling sensitive information at the time.
McAdoo added, however, that if information were to arise that is clearly highly confidential in nature, then Clinton could face serious consequences. An email like that has yet to surface, but two emails uncovered have been labeled “Top Secret” by the State Department.
Another problem facing Clinton is that she destroyed thousands of emails before providing them to the state. Around 32,000 emails were reportedly destroyed earlier this year, with Clinton saying they were only personal in nature.
Another lawyer points out that this was a risky move for Clinton.
“If one person has a copy of one of those deleted emails, and it was about government business, the whole game changes,” Kel McClanahan, an expert in government records, told the AP.
In the batch of correspondence released on Aug. 31, Clinton asked then-Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and USAID administrator Rajiv Shah to not forward her previous email to them.
“Cheryl and Raj — I sent you emails (redacted) before removing their email info so pls do not forward to anyone and delete after reading. Thx,” Clinton wrote, TheBlaze reported.
It is unclear at this time what legal impact the recently-released emails will have on Clinton.
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