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State Department to Withhold Clinton Emails Labeled 'Top Secret'

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that the emails contained the highest level of classification

The emails have dogged Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign for months. (Photo: AP)

The Obama administration will withhold 22 emails from Hillary Clinton's unsecured home server because they are classified as "top secret," the State Department said Friday.

"These emails will be denied in full, meaning they will not be produced online on our FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] website," State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement to press.

Associated Press writes:

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.

It is the first time the White House has confirmed that the emails contain the highest classified level of government secrets.

The department also confirmed that its Diplomatic Security and Intelligence and Research bureaus will investigate whether the messages were top secret at the time they were sent, something Clinton has denied. The White House, and Clinton's presidential campaign, have maintained the emails were given that classification retroactively.

The emails have dogged Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign for months, since it became known last year that she used a private, nongovernmental account and server for work-related correspondence while in office. Coming just days before the Iowa caucuses, the move is likely to increase scrutiny on the former secretary of state and her "unusual email arrangement," The Hill reports.

Friday was the original deadline for the State Department to release all 55,000 of Clinton's emails, but the agency asked for an extension on the court-ordered date due to "internal oversight and the snowstorm that battered the East Coast last week," The Hill's Julian Hattem writes. "The new deadline for the final release of Clinton’s emails—Feb. 29—will be after the first four primary states have voted."

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