The emails that have been partially or entirely redacted before being released to the public appear to contain sensitive U.S. and foreign government information on a range of issues from around the globe.
On Oct. 12, 2010, a former U.S. ambassador, Thomas Shannon, wrote to Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills about Inter-American Development Bank funding for an energy production project in Haiti. The email was forwarded to Clinton.
On Dec. 7, 2010, Clinton was copied on an email about a report being issued on Norwegian assistance to Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in the 1980s and 1990s.
And On Dec. 5, 2009, Clinton shot off a note to Arturo Valenzuela, her assistant secretary of state for the Western hemisphere, seeking an update on several matters and asking about the situation in Honduras. “It’s never dull in WHA!” she wrote, apparently referring to Western Hemisphere affairs.
Valenzuela replied after landing in Florida en route to Mexico, where he planned to meet with U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual. “On Honduras, we are ok,” Valenzuela wrote her. “We maintain a principled position -- no to coup.”
The emails that are now classified are all at the “confidential” level - the lowest level of classification - and not the more sensitive “Top Secret” or “Secret,” according to a State Department official who is knowledgeable about the emails but not authorized to speak publicly as a matter of practice.
The State Department released about 7,000 pages of emails from 2009 and 2010 in response to a public records lawsuit over the Democratic candidate’s correspondence. Spokesman Mark Toner said late Monday the total number of emails containing classified information was 125. Earlier in the day Toner put the number at “about 150.”
The information in the emails was not classified when they were transmitted to or from Clinton’s email, Toner said, but were “upgraded” later.
Classification “is not an exact science,” he said, explaining that it’s subject to an interagency effort to go through them and “upgrade them as necessary, as we see fit.”
Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account, routed through a private server for all four years she served as secretary of state, has become the focus of multiple inquiries by the FBI, a pair of inspectors general and Congress. At the request of the FBI, Clinton turned over her computer server after months of resistance.
In at least one email, Clinton acknowledged her decision to send sensitive information by email. In a Jan. 30, 2010 email to then USAID Administrator Raj Shah and copied to Mills, Clinton wrote “Pls don't forward my last email” in the subject line.
The department has been releasing the emails after they were scrubbed for classified information in response to a lawsuit in response to a lawsuit over an unanswered public records request filed by the Associated Press after it was disclosed that she’d used the private server located at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., instead of her official State Department system. The State Department has begun to release her emails in chronological order each month.
On Jan. 27, 2010, Mills shared news with the secretary that Edmond Mulet, special representative of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, would be leaving. “Also for WJC,” Mills wrote, meaning she wanted the news to be shared with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose global foundation was trying to help the island nation recover from a massive earthquake two weeks earlier. The short, mostly redacted email was marked “confidential.”
On April 25, 2010, State Department official William Burns sent Clinton a message about Cape Verde and Nigeria. Most is redacted; in part, according to the redaction code, because it dealt with "foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources."
Another email sent from top adviser Jake Sullivan on April 11, 2010 with the subject line “Israel update” was almost entirely redacted for the same reason.
The newly released emails show efforts to coordinate political messages.
In an April 24, 2010 email to an aide, for instance, Clinton said she would be talking to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and would need “suggested points for Iran and Israel.”
A different kind of politically sensitive issue arose in an April 22, 2010 email from a Williams and Connolly attorney, who advised Mills that she was “working with” long-time Clinton legal adviser David Kendall on “the Lozada matter.” This referred to a lawsuit filed by the family of a Dallas motorcycle police officer who died while escorting Clinton.
The latest release will meet a federal judge's order to release, by the end of August, 25 percent of the roughly 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department. The department has been behind on its court-ordered schedule until Monday.
The department attributes the delay the painstaking, labor-intensive methods of poring through the emails to avoid the inadvertent release of any classified material.
“It just takes a long time,” Toner said. “They have to review literally every email, every page.”
Portions of 63 previously released documents, some of them duplicates, were classified during a review of three batches of Clinton emails that have been released by the department.
The inspectors general for the Intelligence Community and the State Department said that two emails’ content is now deemed to be “Top Secret,” prompting questions about judgment and motive for actions that potentially led to national security risks.
Clinton has turned over 30,490 work emails to the State Department in response to a request from the agency, but said that she deleted another 31,830 personal emails. The State Department determined more than 1,200 emails that she turned over were personal and would not be released.
Clinton has said that she regrets using a personal email account for business but said she did so only as a matter of “convenience.” She said she did not send or receive classified information. Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
She said that the use of personal email by State Department employees was permitted at the time, but State Department and White House officials decline to say whether she sought or received prior approval from anyone or whether anyone objected to it later.
But on Monday, Toner declined to say whether Clinton followed the rules and the law.
“I’m just not going to answer that question. It’s not our goal. It’s not our function in releasing these emails,” he said. “Our goal and our sole purpose, when we look at these emails is to decide, first to publish them according to the FOIA request we received, but in doing that looking at them and deciding whether any of that material needs to be redacted and subsequently classified.”
Clinton has agreed to testify about her email arrangements on Oct. 22 before the House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed.