Hillary Clinton faces new questions about her treatment of classified information after the discovery of her signature on forms acknowledging the consequences of mishandling sensitive material.
The "sensitive compartmented information nondisclosure agreement," which was obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute late last week through the Freedom of Information Act, quickly touched off a debate about whether Clinton violated provisions outlining the treatment of classified information that wasn't necessarily marked as such.
The nonprofit also obtained a "classified information" NDA, known as a Special Form 312, that was shared first with the Washington Free Beacon.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had asked for that NDA in early August, but was stonewalled by the State Department for months.
The agency did not give the committee a copy of the agreement, which Clinton signed upon entering office in 2009, until after it had released the form to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a story about the form had run in the media, an aide told the Washington Examiner.
While the State Department has now provided the SF-312s that Clinton and two of her aides, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, signed at the beginning of their government service, the agency has yet to hand over the agreements Clinton and Mills should have signed when they left the State Department.
Experts had long speculated that Clinton signed the NDAs, as government officials with security clearances are reportedly required to do.
But the State Department repeatedly declined to discuss whether Clinton signed the agreement, ignoring congressional requests for the form and questions about its existence for months.
Jim Hanson, executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy, said the agreement in question involved Clinton's approach to "top secret" information.
"The NDA Hillary signed for Sensitive Compartmented Information requires she not disclose or handle such top secret information negligently," Hanson told the Examiner. "Using an unsecured email server is certainly negligent and would lead to leakage and disclosure."
Whether Clinton transmitted top secret material on her private network is presently a matter of public debate.
Although Politico reported Friday that the intelligence community inspector general was walking back his claim that at least two emails should be marked top secret, a spokesman for the office said the pair of documents were still under review.
Clinton's campaign quickly seized on the report, blasting it out to supporters in an email with the subject line, "A big update about Hillary's emails."
Hanson said Clinton may have signed NDAs for other levels of classified material.
"She almost certainly signed another NDA for other classified information lower than SCI, top secret or secret, and there is ample evidence of those levels of information in the already released emails," he said. "The only real question left is how high a level of classified information she handled negligently."
Hundreds of Clinton's emails have been marked classified before being released by the State Department at the end of every month since June. The agency released the first batch of the former secretary of state's emails in May, although that trove contained just 296 messages related to Benghazi.
Some have been marked "secret," but most have been classified as "confidential," the lowest level.
Clinton's case has drawn numerous comparisons to that of David Petraeus, former head of the CIA.
Petraeus was forced to resign amid controversy over whether he shared classified information with his biographer and mistress, and was later fined $100,000 and placed on probation for the breach.
According to court documents, the case against Petraeus hinged largely on the fact that he had violated specific provisions of the NDAs he signed during his time in the military and at the CIA.