Questions continue to arise from the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server, to include concerns about two missing “bankers boxes” filled with the former secretary of state’s emails and the possibility of evidence tampering.
The new mystery comes to light after Fox News reviewed more than 189 pages of heavily redacted FBI witness interviews.
Fox News reported:
The interviews released earlier this month, known as 302s, also reveal the serious allegation that senior State Department official Patrick Kennedy applied pressure to subordinates to change the classified email codes so they would be shielded from Congress and the public.
The details about the boxes are contained in five pages of the FBI file – with a staggering 111 redactions – that summarize the statements of a State Department witness who worked in the “Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS).” The employee told the FBI that, “Initially, IPS officials were told there were 14 bankers boxes of former Secretary of State Hillary CLINTON’s emails at CLINTON’s Friendship Heights office.” Friendship Heights is a neighborhood that straddles the Northwest neighborhood of the District of Columbia and Maryland.
The State Department witness further explained to the FBI that “on or about December 5, 2014, IPS personnel picked up only 12 bankers boxes of CLINTON’s emails from Williams & Connolly.”
The officials were not sure if the boxes “were consolidated or what could have happened to the two other boxes. “
The network also reported an unidentified State Department witness claimed that Clinton’s team, to include Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, “played classification games to confuse and obfuscate the formal FOIA review process.”
More from Fox News:
In the same Aug. 18, 2015, interview, on page 42, the State Department witness also told the FBI there was a deliberate effort to change sensitive Clinton emails bearing the “B(1)” code — used in the Freedom of Information Act review process to identify classified information — to the category of “B-5.” That category covers Executive Branch deliberations, “interagency or intra-agency communications including attorney client privileges,” and makes material exempt from public release. […]
“(Redacted) believed there was interference with the formal FOIA review process. Specifically, STATE’s Near East Affairs Bureau upgraded several of CLINTON’s emails to a classified level with a B(1) release exemption. (Redacted) along with (redacted) attorney, Office of Legal Counsel called STATE’s Near East Affairs Bureau and told them they could use a B(5) exemption on an upgraded email to protect it instead of the B(1) exemption.”
In early May 2015, the witness reported, “… KENNEDY held a closed-door meeting with (redacted) and (redacted) DOJ’s Office of Information Programs where KENNEDY pointedly asked (redacted) to change the FBI’s classification determination regarding one of CLINTON’s emails, which the FBI considered classified. The email was related to FBI counter-terrorism operations.”
When asked about the claims Kennedy tampered with the FOIA review process, State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau told Fox News the agency “strongly refute those claims.”
“The department has complete confidence that the … attorneys performed the highest professional and ethical standards, including, with connection, with the review and release of Secretary Clinton’s emails,” Trudeau added.
After all, they are lawyers.
When interviewed by the FBI on Dec. 21, 2015, Kennedy “categorically rejected” the tampering allegations, according to Fox News.