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GOP presses for answers on Clinton’s access to classified material

Hillary Clinton.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee is asking the State Department's Office of Inspector General to weigh in on whether former secretary of state Hillary Clinton broke any laws by using a personal server for official duties.

In a letter sent earlier this week, the committee's chief counsel asked the inspector general's office for a written response on whether "negligent mishandling of classified material" is considered a "breach of duty," whether Clinton's decision to use a private e-mail account and server violated her duties to protect classified material, and whether she should have been able to identify secret material even if it didn't include a label marking it as classified.


"The American people have a right to know whether a top official who certified that she could be entrusted with the government's most sensitive materials violated her contract with the federal government and the criminal law of the United States," wrote John Phillippe, the RNC's chief counsel, in a letter obtained by the Globe.

Clinton's presidential campaign declined to comment. Clinton has said repeatedly that she never received or sent any material "marked" as classified via her unorthodox personal e-mail account when she was secretary of state. The State Department has determined that hundreds of her e-mails are now classified, though it is unclear if they were classified at the time she was handling them.

Earlier this month the State Department released a document, called a classified information nondisclosure agreement, that lays out Clinton's responsibilities for handling classified material. She signed it on Jan. 22, 2009.

The document includes a provision acknowledging that "any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by me may constitute a violation, or violations, of criminal laws."

The FBI has launched a probe into whether classified information that passed through Clinton's server was handled appropriately. Federal agents took possession of Clinton's server earlier this year as part of the investigation.


Annie Linskey can be reached at annie.linskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.