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State Department Releases First Set Of Clinton Emails


Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail account while she was Secretary of State has been widely criticized as suspiciously secretive. Today, nearly 300 of those emails were made public by the State Department. They all deal with the subject of an ongoing congressional investigation - the attacks that took the lives of four Americans nearly three years ago in Benghazi, Libya. NPR's David Welna has this report.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: If Hillary Clinton's adversaries hope for a smoking gun among the 296 emails released today, they were likely disappointed. The correspondence, which was vetted by Clinton's lawyers before being turned over to the State Department, has very little of Clinton's own writing in it. Most of it is news articles forwarded by aides. Today, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in New Hampshire, Clinton hailed the release.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: I'm glad that the emails are starting to come out. This is something that I've asked to be done, as you know, for a long time.

WELNA: Clinton had earlier asserted that her private email account contained no classified information. She was asked today why some names and other information are blanked out in what was released.


CLINTON: I'm aware that the FBI has asked that a portion of one email be held back. That happens in the process of Freedom of Information Act responses, but that doesn't change the fact that all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately.

WELNA: Administration officials say it was only today that the FBI decided to classify some of the email that was released. Here's White House spokesman Josh Earnest.


JOSH EARNEST: It's not uncommon for information that was previously unclassified to, upon later review and based on changing events in the world, be deemed classified.

WELNA: There will certainly be more questions about that last-minute classification and many other matters when Clinton appears before a special House committee on Benghazi on a date that's yet to be agreed on. And the State Department promised today that the rest of the 55,000 emails provided by Clinton will released on what it called a rolling basis. It did so only after a federal judge ordered such a staggered release earlier this week. David Welna, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.