Several emails with classified information from former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin were among a tranche of documents released Friday that were found on Anthony Weiner’s personal computer during an FBI probe.
The State Department released about 2,800 emails, only a few of which included classified information, as part of a successful lawsuit by conservative legal group Judicial Watch.
The public release of the documents uncovered by the FBI included Clinton’s daily schedule, conversations about media interviews, traveling arrangements and talking points for calls with heads of nations around the world.
Some names and details were redacted, while other messages were entirely redacted or marked with classified information.
After the emails were made public, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the release a “major victory.”
“Judicial Watch has forced the State Department to finally allow Americans to see these public documents,” Fitton said. “That these government docs were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop dramatically illustrates the need for the Justice Department to finally do a serious investigation of Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s obvious violations of law.”
The FBI said most of the emails ended up on Weiner’s computer because of backups from Abedin’s personal electronic devices. Former FBI Director James Comey has said investigators could not prove Abedin acted with criminal intent or “had a sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law.”
A November 2010 email was partially redacted due to “classified” and “confidential” information. It detailed a planned call between Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, where then-Secretary of State Clinton would warn al-Faisal about Wikileaks planning to release sensitive documents.
That same month, Wikileaks released the U.S. diplomatic cables leak, known as “Cablegate.”
A second email, also from November 2010, mentioned a talk with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It was also redacted and marked as having classified information.
Another email with classified information from November 2011 was redacted entirely and also marked “confidential.”
The email’s subject line reads, “Egyptian MFA on Hammas-PLO talks,” an apparent reference to the Palestinian Authority.
A 2011 message regarding a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was redacted for “classified” and “confidential” information. The four-page email explains what their phone call would entail but nearly all of the message was redacted.
A fifth email, sent in May 2012, was also marked as having “classified” and “confidential” information. The contents of the email aren’t entirely clear as many details are redacted. The message talks about “issues” and a press conference.
The email lists being from “BBB backup,” which is the program BlackBerry phones use to backup information.
Some messages released were forwarded to Weiner by Abedin. In one 2010 email, Abedin forwarded a message that another official sent to her and Clinton discussing changes in Israel’s Gaza policy. The email did not have any classified information.
Abedin was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and was married to Weiner, the former New York congressman who pleaded guilty in May to sexting with a 15-year-old girl and was sentenced in September to 21 months in prison. Abedin has since filed for divorce.
Abedin’s email practices have been in the spotlight before — and were central to the FBI’s decision to re-open the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State.
In a May 3 Senate hearing, Comey defended his decision to announce the reopening of the probe 11 days before the November 2016 election after he learned about emails recovered on Weiner’s laptop. “I could not see a door labeled, ‘No action needed,'” he said then.
The FBI recovered the emails while investigating Weiner in a separate sexting investigation.
Also in that hearing, Comey testified that Abedin forwarded “hundreds of thousands” of messages involving Clinton — some of which contained classified information — to her husband so he could print them out.
However, just days later, the FBI sent a letter to the Senate panel explaining that Comey’s assessment was inaccurate.
Only 49,000 emails potentially relevant to the Clinton investigation were found on Weiner’s laptop, the FBI said then. A majority of them ended up on Weiner’s computer because of backups from Abedin’s personal electronic devices — and Abedin forwarded only a “small number” of the emails, the FBI said.
Of those forwarded to Weiner, only two email chains contained classified information, the FBI said. Ten other email chains that had classified information were on the laptop because of backups, the FBI said. What’s more, all 12 email chains had been previously reviewed by investigators.
President Trump fired Comey on May 9, the same day the correction letter was sent to the Hill.
– Jessica Estepa contributed.