A State Department official who was embroiled in a number of controversies under Hillary Clinton is reportedly attempting to influence the handling of his former boss' emails.
Patrick Kennedy, State's undersecretary for management, visited Capitol Hill in July to argue that an April 2011 email sent from longtime aide Huma Abedin to Clinton contained no classified information, according to a report by Fox News.
Abedin's message touched off the present FBI probe into Clinton's email practices, as three separate intelligence agencies — the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — each laid claim to information in the email.
Kennedy demanded the conversation about Abedin's email be held in a special, secure facility for classified information that is commonly known as a SCIF despite his claim that the Abedin email was unclassified.
The document in question apparently discussed Christopher Stevens — then a special envoy at the State Department — and his movements in Benghazi as he and his staff prepared for a possible evacuation.
The email contained intelligence passed along by "the Brits" that detailed the movements of forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, then the dictator of Libya.
It also included intelligence from the Pentagon's Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, that laid out Gaddafi's gains in the city of Ajdabiyah.
Kennedy reportedly used an article in the Irish Times, which described the violence in Ajdabiyah, as evidence that the email revealed nothing that should have been classified.
The State Department released the message in full on May 22. Nearly two months later, the inspectors general for the intelligence community and the State Department sent a joint memo to Kennedy in which they warned that "at least one of these [classified] emails has been released to the public and can be accessed on the Department's FOIA website."
The watchdogs said a number of emails contained information believed to be classified by various intelligence agencies, a finding that has been bolstered by dozens of so-called "retroactive classifications" made by the State Department in recent weeks.
A State Department spokesman did not return a request for comment about Kennedy's reported interference in the Clinton email controversy.
Kennedy has already been accused of running interference on past investigations that may have damaged Clinton's image.
For example, he allegedly halted an inspector general investigation into the ambassador to Belgium after allegations surfaced that the ambassador had solicited "sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children."
An official with knowledge of the situation told the Washington Examiner Kennedy was close friends with Harold Geisel, then the State Department's temporary watchdog, and noted their personal relationship was a potential factor in Kennedy's attempts to suppress inspector general probes.
Kennedy has also been linked to the security failures that led to the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
It was Kennedy who signed off on the plan to extend the State Department's presence in Benghazi to the end of 2012, an internal memo shows.
Kennedy was also involved in promoting a plan in 2011 for a new embassy in Norway, a major Clinton Foundation donor, over the apparent objections of diplomatic officials in Oslo.
A leaked diplomatic cable sent to Clinton in July 2009 indicated the plans for the embassy project, which predated Clinton's time at the agency, had been pushed from 2011 to 2020 to free up funding for embassies in other countries where the facilities faced higher threats from terrorists.
Kennedy also testified during the sentencing phase of the Wikileaks case that put Chelsea Manning behind bars for 35 years after she leaked an extensive trove of classified information to the website in 2009.
Kennedy reportedly oversaw the agency's investigation into the Manning leak, which caused significant embarrassment for the U.S. when some of the cables revealed the unvarnished comments of diplomats around the world.
When defense attorneys pressed Kennedy in August 2013 about his alleged suppression of the investigation into the Belgian ambassador, Kennedy called the allegations "entirely false."
Manning's defense had brought up the allegations as evidence that Kennedy might "have a vested interest in making the State Department look good," a suggestion Kennedy denied.
But his involvement in the Clinton email controversy and long history of participation in scandals raises questions about his continued role as the State Department's top official for records management.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, has expressed interest in interviewing Kennedy about his knowledge of the 2012 attack.