The State Department's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server has intensified in recent months, ensnaring more than 100 current and former department officials who communicated electronically with Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state.
The Washington Post reported Saturday:
As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox, said current and former State Department officials.
Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post.
Democratic operatives who spoke to the Post claimed the investigation is politically motivated, characterizing the probe as a way "to keep the Clinton email issue alive" and "to tarnish a whole bunch of Democratic foreign policy people."
However, senior State Department officials who spoke to the Post anonymously said the investigation is a routine matter that actually began during the Obama administration.
"This has nothing to do with who is in the White House," one senior official said. "This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails, which is about 3½ years."
A second official said, "The process is set up in a manner to completely avoid any appearance of political bias." He explained the investigation is being conducted by career government officials who do not know the identities of those being investigated.
Many of the individuals being investigated are ambassadors and senior State Department officials responsible for crafting and directing U.S. foreign policy. Dozens of current and former career bureaucrats have also been caught up in the probe, the Post reported.
Most of those targeted have been found "not culpable" despite political security lapses.
Although State Department officials told the Post "they were bound by law to adjudicate any violations," criminal prosecution is unlikely since FBI concluded its criminal investigation into the matter three years ago.