In a major blow for the Hillary Clinton campaign, a second intelligence review of two of the emails received on Clinton's unsecured private account confirmed that they indeed contained "Top Secret" material that was classified at the time it was sent. The Clinton camp responded by blaming "bureaucratic infighting among the intelligence community" for the investigation's findings.
After an initial review by the intelligence community inspector general found that at least two emails (one involving North Korea's nuclear weapons program) contained highly classified material, the Clinton campaign pushed back, claiming classification status is not so cut-and-dried. But a second special review conducted by the CIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have now confirmed the IG's original finding.
The special review determined that the two emails were indeed classified when they were first sent to the former secretary of state in 2009 and 2011, undermining Clinton's claim that the only classified material was deemed so after the fact.
In response to the second review, the Clinton camp is again calling into question the intelligence community's ability to correctly classify material. "Our hope remains that these releases continue without being hampered by bureaucratic infighting among the intelligence community, and that the releases continue to be as inclusive and transparent as possible," said campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.
A State Department spokesman seemed to back Clinton's defense, saying, classification "is rarely a black and white question" and warning that coming to a conclusion now about the classification of the material "would be premature." Many analysts, however, strongly disagree, arguing that the nature of the material not only in the two emails in question but dozens of others are clearly "classified from the start."
As the New York Times points out, the Clinton camp has drastically changed its story about the emails since the reports of the private server first surfaced:
In the months after the disclosure, Mrs. Clinton and her campaign were unequivocal in their stance that there was no classified information on it. But after it was revealed in August that the F.B.I. was investigating how classified materials were handled in connection with the account, Mrs. Clinton's aides began saying that she never sent or received anything that was classified at the time.