Yep, the “Top Secret” Emails Were All About Drones

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


So just what was in those “top secret” emails that Hillary Clinton received on her personal email server while she was Secretary of State? The New York Times reports what everyone has already figured out: they were about drones. What’s more, the question of whether they contain anything that’s actually sensitive is mostly just a spat between CIA and State:

Some of the nation’s intelligence agencies raised alarms last spring as the State Department began releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, saying that a number of the messages contained information that should be classified “top secret.”

The diplomats saw things differently and pushed back at the spies. In the months since, a battle has played out between the State Department and the intelligence agencies.

….Several officials said that at least one of the emails contained oblique references to C.I.A. operatives. One of the messages has been given a designation of “HCS-O” — indicating that the information was derived from human intelligence sources…The government officials said that discussions in an email thread about a New York Times article — the officials did not say which article — contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the C.I.A.’s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.

The whole piece is worth reading for the details, but the bottom line is pretty simple: there’s no there there. At most, there’s a minuscule amount of slightly questionable reporting that was sent via email—a common practice since pretty much forever. Mostly, though, it seems to be a case of the CIA trying to bully State and win some kind of obscure pissing contest over whether they’re sufficiently careful with the nation’s secrets.

Release them all. Redact a few sentences here and there if you absolutely have to. It’s simply ridiculous to have nebulous but serious charges like these hanging like a cloud over the presidential race with Hillary Clinton unable to defend herself in any way. Release them and let the chips fall where they may.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate