State Department spokesman John Kirby was grilled Tuesday over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "extremely careless" handling of classified information — and the alleged "lax culture" at the State Department where the activity occurred.
The tense exchange came not long after FBI Director James Comey recommended no charges for Clinton following the 16-month probe of her private email server.
While Comey said that the bureau found no evidence of criminal activity, his criticism of Clinton and the judgment she exhibited during her tenure at the State Department was anything but politically exonerating for the presumptive Democratic nominee. The director's damning comments prompted reporters to ask Kirby about the seriousness with which business was conducted under Clinton.
"Clearly, the FBI found enough, Secretary Clinton's intent notwithstanding, that generally there were a lot of officials that they came across in the scope of this investigation, which led them to believe that the culture is not taken as seriously as it could be," one reporter asked.
Kirby responded by saying he'd "let the FBI director speak to their findings and recommendations."
"The question was, do I share, do we share the assessment of the culture at the institution of the State Department to be lax. We do not share that assessment. We take it very seriously," Kirby added.
The same reporter followed up, saying that Comey "clearly" found inappropriate behavior, perhaps not under current Secretary of State John Kerry, but under Clinton. "So you're saying that maybe there was a lax culture that doesn't exist anymore?" the reporter then asked.
Kirby denied that notion, too.
"I'm not parsing words here," Kirby said. "The State Department has in the past and does today take the treatment of classified information very seriously."
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