WASHINGTON — In Hillary Clinton's July interview with FBI agents, the former secretary of State told investigators that she could not recall "any briefing or training'' that she received on the retention or handling of classified documents.
In a partially redacted 11-page interview released Friday by the FBI along with a 47-page summary of the now-closed investigation into her handling of classified information and use of a private email server, Clinton said she used her own BlackBerry for both personal and official business "out of convenience'' and noted that she had spoken with former secretary of State Colin Powell who maintained the same practice while in office, "as had other secretaries of State before him.''
While Clinton told investigators that she believed "everyone at State'' knew she had a private email address, she did not "explicitly request permission to use a private server or email address.''
"During her tenure, no one at State raised concerns regarding Clinton's use of a private server or email address,'' according to the interview transcript.
In one heavily redacted portion of the interview, agents sought Clinton's knowledge about how officials exchanged information about the highly-secretive process of nominating targets for drone strikes, but Clinton said she "could not recall a specific process for nominating a target.''
When classified information was exchanged about the drone program at the State Department, she said it occurred either in her office or on a secure telephone line.
"When Clinton exchanged classified information pertaining to the drone program externally, it was at the White House. Clinton never had a concern with how classified information pertaining to the drone program was handled,'' according to the interview transcript.
The release comes just weeks after the FBI provided Republican congressional leaders a classified version of its closed investigation.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought the material after FBI Director James Comey recommended last month that no criminal charges be brought against the now-Democratic presidential nominee.
“Consistent with our commitment to transparency with respect to the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server, the FBI is providing certain relevant materials to appropriate congressional committees to assist them in their oversight responsibilities in this matter,'' the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. "The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”
More than a month ago, Comey offered an extraordinary summary of the bureau’s findings, describing the handling of classified information by Clinton and others as “extremely careless’’ but not worthy of a criminal prosecution.
“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,’’ Comey said then, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutors would bring such a case.’’
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had earlier vowed to accept the recommendation of career prosecutors and the FBI, formally closed the yearlong inquiry that has shadowed Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The director later defended his decision in an appearance before the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee that lasted more than four hours.
"There is no way anybody would bring a case against John Doe or Hillary Clinton for the second time in 100 years based on those facts,’’ Comey told lawmakers then, referring to a review of past prosecutions.
"In looking back at our investigations into mishandling of removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts," Comey said.
Republican congressional leaders sought the FBI's notes in an attempt to support their recent call for the Justice Department to launch a new investigation, alleging that Clinton provided false testimony to Congress last year about her use of the personal email system.
(© 2016 KHOU)