FBI clarifies Comey testimony on Clinton emails
The FBI on Tuesday clarified testimony made by Director James Comey before a Senate panel regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton’s emails to her then-husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), to print out for Clinton while she was secretary of State.
In fact, the bureau said in a letter sent to the Senate panel Tuesday that only a handful of the 49,000 relevant emails it uncovered on Weiner’s laptop had been forwarded manually. Most of the emails got onto the computer as a result of backups of her Blackberry.
Just two of 12 total email chains including classified information were manually forwarded, the bureau said. All 12 chains had previously been reviewed by investigators.
ProPublica as well as The Washington Post reported this week that FBI officials had internally acknowledged that Comey incorrectly represented the number of emails Abedin forwarded to Weiner.
Comey told the committee last week that the bureau in October uncovered “hundreds and thousands” of emails sent by Abedin, some of which he said were classified.
Pressed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on how Abedin could forward “hundreds or thousands of classified emails” without violating statute, Comey clarified: “If I said that, I misspoke. She forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information.”
Abedin, the FBI director testified last week, “appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him, for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of State.”
The bureau did not make clear how the mistake occurred, saying only that the letter is intended to “supplement that testimony to ensure that the Committee has the full context of what was reviewed and found on the laptop.”
The letter also sought to clarify statements from Comey about counterterrorism investigations that “appear to have been misinterpreted” in media reports.
Comey stated that the bureau has approximately 1,000 investigations of suspected homegrown extremists and a further 1,000 investigations into individuals suspected of connections to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“These 2,000 investigations are a subset of the FBI’s total number of counterterrorism investigations, which is classified, and which involved subjects from a variety of terrorist groups,” wrote Greg Brower, the bureau’s head of congressional affairs.
The FBI has approximately 300 open counterterrorism investigations into subjects who entered the U.S. as refugees from approximately 25 different countries, Brower wrote.