WASHINGTON » The State Department said Thursday that portions of 275 emails released on New Year’s Eve from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state have been newly classified, bringing 2015 to a close for the Democratic presidential front-runner.
Clinton has said she didn’t send or receive information that was classified at the time via her personal email account, which was run on a private server at her New York home. Republicans have repeatedly questioned whether her use of a private email system put sensitive information at risk.
In all, the State Department said 1,274 of Clinton’s emails have been retroactively classified since the department started reviewing them for public release.
Two emails released Thursday were designated “secret,” the second-highest level of classification, which applies to information that could cause serious damage to national security if released. Most of the emails were classified “confidential,” which is the lowest level of classification.
In a statement Thursday night, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “With more than 1,250 emails containing classified information now uncovered, Hillary Clinton’s decision to put secrecy over national security by exclusively operating off of a secret email server looks even more reckless.”
About 5,500 pages of Clinton emails were released on the final day of 2015. Here’s a look at what was in the latest batch:
Clinton and one of her closest aides, Jake Sullivan, had an exchange in September 2010 that showed considerable confusion over her email practices.
“I’m never sure which of my emails you receive, so pls let me know if you receive this one and on which address you did,” she wrote to Sullivan on a Sunday morning.
A few hours later Sullivan responded: “I have just received this email on my personal account, which I check much less frequently than my State Department account. I have not received any emails from you on my State account in recent days — for example, I did not get the email you sent to me and (Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeff) Feltman on the Egyptian custody case. Something is very wrong with the connection there.”
Sullivan added, “I suppose a near-term fix is to just send messages to this account — my personal account — and I will check it more frequently.”
Clinton also cited trouble with her BlackBerry in January 2012, according to one of her emails. “Sorry for the delay in responding,” she wrote to Jamie Rubin, a diplomat and journalist, saying her BlackBerry was having “a nervous breakdown on my dime!”
Billionaire George Soros, a major donor to liberal causes, confided to a former Clinton aide that he made the wrong choice in supporting Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries over Clinton.
Soros told Neera Tanden during a dinner sponsored by Democracy Alliance, a liberal group, that he “regretted his decision in the primary — he likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them,” Tanden told Clinton in a May 2012 email. “He then extolled his work with you from your time as First Lady on.”
Tanden also said Soros had been “impressed that he can always call/meet” with Clinton on policy issues but he hadn’t yet met with Obama. Soros has been a major donor to Priorities USA, a pro-Clinton Democratic super PAC.
Politics was never far from Clinton’s mind at the State Department. In September 2010, as Republicans threatened to take the majority in the House, Clinton told former policy adviser Neera Tanden, president of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, “I confess I’m bewildered at how poorly the Dems are doing in driving any message and putting the Rs on the defensive.”
“Do you and CAP have any ideas as to how to change the dynamic — before it’s too late?” Clinton asked. Losing the House would, she wrote, “be a disaster in every way.”
Republicans seized control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections in what President Barack Obama later called a “shellacking.”
SITUATION ROOM PHOTO
Clinton expressed outrage at a Hasidic Jewish newspaper that airbrushed her and another woman out of a famous photograph of officials in the White House Situation Room watching the raid on Osama Bin Laden.
The original photo had shown Clinton seated at the table, her hand covering her mouth. Counterterrorism director Audrey Tomason had also been pictured, standing at the back of the room. Both were blacked out in the newspaper’s reproduction of the photograph.
“The Jerusalem Post reported today that a NY Hasidic paper Der Zeitung published the sit room photo w/o me (or Audrey T) photoshopped out perhaps because no woman should be in such a place of power or that I am dressed immodestly!!” Clinton wrote in an email with the subject line “Unbelievable.”
The email was sent May 8, 2011, to aides, including Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and to her daughter, Chelsea, under the alias Diane Reynolds.
Clinton showed keen interest in the politics of her hometown of Chicago when longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley announced in September 2010 he would not run for re-election.
Betsy Ebeling, Clinton’s close childhood friend, told Clinton in an email that she was in “shock.” Clinton responded: “I’m in shock too,” asking Ebeling to “share any and all insights into this huge news (as any real Chicagoan knows it to be!)”
Ebeling said the next day that “Rahm rumors are everywhere,” referencing then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who is now Chicago’s mayor.
Clinton replied: “I can’t tell yet whether Rahm will actually decide to run. So it will be a wild ride the next few months.”
RIDING WITH HRC
Philippe Reines, Clinton’s senior communications adviser, developed an elaborate flow chart during the summer of 2012 to determine a specific pecking order: Who gets to ride with Hillary?
In an email to a group of Clinton advisers, Reines said longtime aide Huma Abedin should ride with Clinton under most circumstances, with deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan joining Clinton on other occasions. Capricia Marshall, a Clinton insider and the chief of protocol, was also listed as someone who should ride with the secretary of state.
The flow chart also includes cases in which Clinton could ride with “Ambassador Tolerable,” how they should handle drives covering 10 minutes or more and the circumstances in which Reines “should jump in.” As they say, access is power.
Confidant Sidney Blumenthal wrote Clinton that sanctions freezing Libya’s foreign bank accounts presented “serious challenges” to dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but he was still sitting pretty on “143 tons of gold and a similar amount in silver” valued at more than $7 billion.
In an April 2, 2011, email, Blumenthal wrote that Gadhafi moved the gold and silver from vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli to Sabha, a city in southwest Libya that is in the direction of the nation’s border with Niger and Chad. At the time, the World Gold Council also estimated Libya’s trove of gold at 143 tons.
The gold, Blumenthal wrote, was intended to be used to establish an African currency based on Libyan currency, which African countries then could use instead of the French franc. “French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly before the rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya,” Blumenthal wrote.
Gadhafi was deposed in August 2011 and killed two months later.
A September 2011 exchange with Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland showed Clinton’s ties to the female Democrats in the Senate, her former colleagues.
Mikulski emailed Clinton, a former New York senator, to celebrate that the Senate had confirmed Wendy Sherman as an assistant secretary of state and invite Clinton to a gathering of female senators.
Noting they now meet in the Strom Thurmond room in the Capitol, Mikulski remarked, “Isn’t that a hoot” — an apparent reference to the late South Carolina senator’s history of womanizing.
Clinton wrote back, affectionately addressing Mikulski, the longest-serving female senator, as “dean.” Clinton said she probably couldn’t make it to the gathering.
Mikulski told Clinton she would always be welcome in the Senate and suggested she come over to the State Department “for a Diet Coke or something stronger.”
The State Department said it wouldn’t meet a court-ordered goal of making 82 percent of Clinton’s emails from her time at State public by year’s end. The department said prior to Thursday’s release that while it has “worked diligently” to come close to the goal, it will fall short because of the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule.
The department said Thursday it plans to release more Clinton emails next week.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took note of the timing of the latest release on Twitter, writing: “Do you believe that The State Department, on NEW YEAR’S EVE, just released more of Hillary’s e-mails. They just want it all to end. BAD!”
But Trump’s tweet was off-base. A federal judge set the schedule for the release of the emails, not Clinton or the department.
Associated Press writers Josh Lederman, Catherine Lucey, Robert Burns, Jill Colvin, Erica Werner, Becky Bohrer, Justin Juozapavicius, Kathleen Ronayne, Jill Colvin, Chad Day, Deb Riechmann, Michael Sisak, Jill Zeman Bleed, Janie Har, Matthew Brown, Jonathan Cooper, David Eggert and Corey R. Williams contributed to this report.