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US State Department finds no deliberate mishandling of classified Clinton emails

A State Department investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct official business found "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information" by agency employees.

However, following a review of roughly 33,000 individual emails that were sent to or from Clinton's private server during her tenure as Secretary of State, the probe found that 38 unidentified employees were responsible for 91 separate violations of security protocols. An additional 497 violations were found during the investigation, but no individuals were assigned responsibility for those breaches.

According to a report on the State Department's investigation — which was undertaken by the agency's Office of Information Security, Program Applications Division, Bureau of Diplomatic Security — the Clinton office's use of the private server "increased the risk of unauthorized disclosures and security compromises."

The controversy over Clinton's use of the private server arose during the 2016 presidential campaign when the former Secretary of State was pitted against Donald Trump. Then-FBI Director James Comey found no evidence to file any charges against her, but the issue rekindled just days before the election when some of Clinton's emails were found on the laptop of the spouse of one of her campaign advisors.

Meanwhile, the State Department has quietly been conducting its administrative investigation into the matter.

In releasing the result of the probe on Oct. 18, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley focused on the security violations identified by the report even though the State Department concluded that "[i]nstances of classified information being deliberately transmitted via unclassified email were the rare exception."

"While there were some instances of classified information being inappropriately introduced into an unclassified system in furtherance of expedience, by and large, the individuals interviewed were aware of security policies and did their best to implement them in their operations," the report said. "Correspondence with the Secretary is inherently sensitive, and is therefore open for broad interpretation as to classification, particularly with respect to Foreign Government Information."