Emails that are part of the criminal investigation over Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information include exchanges between diplomats in Islamabad and State Department officials about drone strikes. Some of the emails were sent by Clinton staffers to her personal email account via a server she kept at her New York home. Authorities have long fretted the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s personal server was not secure enough for the classified information she was handling as secretary of State. The dispatches were frequently written within the small window of time—20 minutes to several days—during which State officials could object to drone strikes before the CIA initiated them. One official said “If a strike was imminent, it was futile to use the high side, which no one would see for seven hours.” (“High side” is slang for a secure system.) According to The Wall Street Journal, on about six occasions officials were away from secure equipment and sent vague emails on their smartphones discussing whether or not to back an impending strike. None of the messages in question use the words “drones,” “CIA” or reportedly give away any details about specific targets. Based on U.S. security classification rules, government officials are prohibited from discussing strikes publicly or at all outside of secure communication formats.
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