The new FBI release contains a May 21, 2015 email in which Michael Steinbach, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, detailed a conversation he had with Kennedy about the classification issue.
Steinbach said that the FBI had determined that one of Clinton’s emails should be classified using b(1) and b(7) redactions, used to protect information in the interest of national defense and to prevent the disclosure of a confidential source, respectively. Kennedy asked Steinbach to classify the email using only the b(1) category.
An email sent two days earlier from a separate FBI official provided more information about the dispute.
The official, whose name is redacted, wrote that the Clinton email was redacted and classified on the rationale that it contained information that would cause “interference with foreign relations.”
The FBI official wrote that the email could disclose sources and investigative methods used by the bureau.
“While the email does not name the particular official, this might be deduced and, given the threat of violence in the region, any surmise could be fatal for whoever cooperated with us,” the official wrote.
“State will say no one will know if it is redacted, but that is not how classification works,” they added.
The official wrote that he informed Kennedy of that rationale and that Kennedy said he would be in contact with Steinbach.
The FBI release also includes an email from the attorney of Bryan Pagliano, the Hillary Clinton State Department aide who set up and managed her secret email server. In the email, Mark MacDougall, Pagliano’s lawyer, informed the FBI that Pagliano would decline the bureau’s request for an investigation. Pagliano would eventually meet with the FBI in December, but only after receiving limited immunity from the Department of Justice.