Somebody Offered Someone a Sleazy Deal Last Year

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The Wall Street Journal takes a look today at the latest document dump from the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. Unsurprisingly, the State Department disagreed with many of the classification decisions made by the FBI, and a senior State official, Patrick Kennedy, lobbied to have them changed. Then there’s this:

When the FBI official refused to accede to the request, according to the summary, Mr. Kennedy went to a senior FBI official and offered what the official called a quid pro quo: “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,’’ according to a summary of the FBI interview of the unidentified witness.

Alternatively, there’s this:

A senior FBI official told investigators that Mr. Kennedy reached out to him seeking help on the email issue, saying he wanted a different classification that would “allow him to archive the document in the basement of the [State Department] never to be seen again.’’ In response, the FBI official said he would “look into the email matter if Kennedy would provide authority concerning the FBI’s request to increase its personnel in Iraq.’’ That arrangement was ultimately rejected by others at the FBI.

So either State offered a sleazy deal or else the FBI offered a sleazy deal. I guess we’ll never know which.

But I have an entirely different question: Why is the FBI involved in classification decisions regarding State documents about foreign affairs? I’ve been a little fuzzy all along about where the classification decisions came from, and this is the first time that it’s seemed absolutely clear. But why? I thought the CIA and other members of the intelligence community did this stuff.

Also, no one knows what the hell is classified and what isn’t. It’s a mess.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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