Among the revelations found in the report issued by FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Thursday was that, as president, Barack Obama was one of an elite few who maintained “direct contact” with Hillary Clinton while she served as his secretary of state. In a small footnote, the report noted that "FBI analysts and Prosecutor 2 told us that former President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account."

Moreover, the IG demonstrated that Obama prefered to use a pseudonym for his username. However, when intelligence analysts questioned whether his communications contained classified information, the emails transmitted and received were found to be non-classified.

This conflicts with statements made by then-president Obama in 2015, when he told CBS News in an interview that he had learned about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for classified communications at "the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports." However, Press Secretary Josh Earnest soon acknowledged afterwards that Obama and Clinton had indeed exchanged emails. Earnest said, "The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office, trade emails with the secretary of state." Earnest claimed that the president was unaware of Clinton's use of a personal email server and how she was following federal records law.

The inspector general asked FBI investigators why they did not obtain the personal devices that Clinton’s senior aides used during their tenure at the State Department, noting that the devices  were "potential sources of Clinton's ... classified emails" or places where unauthorized classified emails were being stored. The investigators blamed "the culture of mishandling classified information at the State Department" was so widespread that it "made the quantity of potential sources of evidence particularly vast." This excuse, implied the report, was not credible because- could simply have obtained personal devices for a handful of key Clinton aides.

Coverup of Obama's involvement

The summary of the IG's report noted that Comey’s Draft Statement about the Clinton email investigation, which was shared with senior FBI staff on May 2, 2016, criticized her handling of classified information as “grossly negligent,” but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case based on the facts developed in the investigation. However, over the ensuing two months, the draft statement continued to morph. The IG report revealed that FBI officials sought to coverup evidence that then President Obama communicated with then Secretary of State Clinton through a private email server while she was travelling in the territory of an as yet undisclosed "foreign adversary." In addition, a draft document written by then FBI director Comey was subsequently changed to conceal evidence that Clinton's emails had been hacked by foreign powers.

The report declared:

• The description of Clinton’s handling of classified information was changed from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;”

• A statement that the sheer volume of information classified as Secret supported an inference of gross negligence was removed and replaced with a statement that the classified information they discovered was “especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on servers not supported by full-time staff”

• A statement that the FBI assessed that it was “reasonably likely” that hostile actors gained access to Clinton’s private email server was changed to “possible.” The statement also acknowledged that the FBI investigation and its forensic analysis did not find evidence that Clinton’s email server systems were compromised; and

• A paragraph summarizing the factors that led the FBI to assess that it was possible that hostile actors accessed Clinton’s server was added, and at one point referenced Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary. This reference later was changed to “another senior government official,” and ultimately was omitted."
 

 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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