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NSA head: Clinton server a 'priority' target for foreign agencies

The head of the National Security Agency told a Senate Committee on Thursday that Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump must not pull a bait-and-switch on American workers Jewish groups divided over Hanukkah party at Trump hotel Colo. AG: Electoral College lawsuit could cause 'chaos' MORE’s former email setup would be an “opportunity” for the U.S. if it had been used by a top foreign diplomat.

“From a foreign intelligence perspective, that would represent opportunity,” Adm. Michael Rogers testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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The server would be a “top priority for foreign intelligence services,” Rogers agreed in response to a question from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

The comments are only likely to deepen the political trouble for Clinton, the former secretary of State whose private email setup has threatened to engulf her campaign for the White House.

Critics have long feared that Clinton’s decision to go outside of the State Department's normal email protocol posed a security risk to the nation by making it easier for foreign spies to crack into her messages and steal potentially crucial diplomatic secrets. Those concerns have only been compounded by revelations that some of the information contained in her emails is now classified.

Rogers said he had “no knowledge” of whether or not NSA officials’ emails were contained among the tens of thousands of work-related messages on Clinton’s personal server, or if any NSA officials were aware of her personal server.

The intelligence chief repeatedly attempted to dodge questions about the email setup on Thursday, clearly aiming to stay above the political fray.

“Do you really want to drag me in to this one, sir?” he asked Cotton at one point, to chuckles from the audience.

“I’d simply like your professional opinion,” responded Cotton, one of the more combative members of the Senate Republican Conference.

The discussion earned a small reprimand from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence panel, who has already endorsed Clinton’s bid for the White House.

“I don’t see the relevance of that to this committee,” Feinstein said after Cotton's questions, ”however that’s just my opinion.”

Clinton’s server is currently in the hands of the FBI, which is searching the machine and reportedly has been able to recover at least some her personal emails.