FBI documents released Monday suggest that former Hillary Clinton undersecretary of state Patrick Kennedy (who still holds that title) requested that the FBI change a classified email to unclassified, in return for a “quid pro quo” offer from the State Department. Kennedy asked for assistance in changing the classification of an email that the FBI had marked classified, according to an FBI official whose name was redacted in the documents. In exchange for marking the email unclassified, the State Department was willing to “reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden,” according to the documents, but the FBI refused the deal and the “quid pro quo” never happened.
As reported by Catherine Herridge of Fox News the FBI 302 (FBI interview summaries and notes) of the Patrick Kennedy discussion said in part:
“[Redacted] indicated he had been contacted by PATRICK KENNEDY, Undersecretary of State, who had asked his assistance in altering the email’s classification in exchange for a ‘quid pro quo,’” the 302 states. “[Redacted] advised that in exchange for marking the email unclassified, STATE would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more Agents in countries where they are presently forbidden.”
At a subsequent meeting at the State Department regarding the classification review of Clinton’s materials where Kennedy presided, someone asked whether any of the emails in question were classified.
“Making eye contact with [redacted] KENNEDY remarked, ‘Well, we’ll see,’” the document says. The official, according to one account, was “attempting to influence the FBI to change its markings.”
Kennedy allegedly asked at that point who else he could speak with and was referred to Michael Steinbach, then a top official with the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Kennedy “continued to pressure the FBI to change the classified markings on the email to unclassified,” the document says. “STEINBACH refused to do so.”
The document says Kennedy then asked about whether the FBI would be making a public statement and was told they would not. Shortly afterward, the story about the email contents broke in the press and Clinton publicly denied having sent classified emails on her server.
The entire document is embedded below, the exchanges above appear on page 26,
There are two disturbing things about this release, firstly the “quid pro quo” offer itself. Another term for that is bribery. And by simply making the offer of a bribe Patrick Kennedy may have broken the law. The second disturbing part of this release is that by saying they weren’t going public with the information the FBI gave Hillary cover for lying about classified emails on her server.
Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook downplayed the accusation during a press call on Monday morning. “It’s very well known that there were disputes between the State Department and other agencies about classification. It’s not unusual,” Mook said.
Disputes are not unusual, but hopefully bribery is unusual.
The documents released on Monday are embedded below: