A member of Hillary Clinton's security detail accused her of "blatantly" disregarding security and diplomatic protocols during trips abroad as secretary of state, according to newly released FBI documents.
The former State Department agent cited incidents in Indonesia and Palestine in which Clinton allegedly ignored security protocols and put the safety of those around her in danger.
The belief among State Department agents was "that Clinton disregarded security and diplomatic protocols, occasionally without regard for the safety of her staff and protection detail, in order to gain favorable press," according to an FBI interview transcript released Monday.
The FBI interviewed the former State Department agent on Sept. 2, 2015, as part of the investigation into Clinton's use of a personal email account while secretary of state.
The agent, who had since moved to the Department of Homeland Security, told FBI agents that she served in Clinton's security detail in 2009.
According to an interview transcript released by the FBI on Monday, the agent "described a ‘stark difference’ between" former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her successor, Clinton, "with regard to obedience to security and diplomatic protocols."
"RICE observed strict adherence to State Department security and diplomatic protocols while CLINTON frequently and ‘blatantly’ disregarded them," the transcript says.
The observation was based on the agent's "own experience, and information obtained through [REDACTED] and other agents."
The redacted name may refer to a "spouse" mentioned in the interview who appears to have also served in Clinton's protective detail, as well as in Rice's.
The agent "explained that Clinton's protocol breaches were well known throughout Diplomatic Security and were 'abundant.'"
During a 2009 trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, the agent told the FBI that Clinton asked to visit an area with "security and safety challenges" for a photo opportunity involving a clean stoves initiative.
The security team advised against it "because the route could not be secured and was lined with dangerous circumstances and individuals," the interview transcript states. However, the advance team that made the recommendation was told by security management that the trip "was going to happen because 'she wanted it'," apparently referring to Clinton.
"DS agents felt this excursion into potentially hostile areas placed CLINTON, her staff, the media, and her security detail in unnecessary danger in order to conduct a photo opportunity for 'her election campaign'," the transcript states.
"DS agents felt CLINTON traveled with hand-picked media who would present her in favorable light in order to garner political support," the transcript adds. "It was also believed that Clinton disregarded security and diplomatic protocols, occasionally without regard for the safety of her staff and protection detail, in order to gain favorable press."
The State Department agent also described another incident in which, while traveling in an armored vehicle in Palestine, Clinton "ordered the limousine driver, believed to be [REDACTED] to open the window while in 'occupied territory,' referring to a dangerous area of the West Bank."
At first, the driver declined Clinton's request, the agent said, but "repeated demands by CLINTON forced him to open his window despite the danger to himself and the occupants."
The agent also accused Clinton of breaching protocol by riding in the armored limousine and arriving at events abroad with her chief of staff, Huma Abedin, instead of the local ambassador.
"This frequently resulted in complaints by ambassadors who were insulted and embarrassed by this breach of protocol," the transcript states.
The agent also said she believed "Abedin herself was often responsible for overriding security and diplomatic protocols" on Clinton's behalf.
The agent told FBI interviewers that Clinton's alleged breaches were "often communicated" back to the State Department through official cables.
The agent said that Clinton's treatment of State Department agents "was so contemptuous that many of them sought reassignment or employment elsewhere," and that it became "difficult to find senior agents willing to work for her."
Another former State Department agent also told the FBI in 2015 that Clinton's tenure “brought about significant changes to established security and diplomatic protocols owing to dissimilar management styles and attitudes” between her and Rice, although he had no information regarding security violations or handling of classified information.
Clinton's presidential campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Emma Loop is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.
Contact Emma Loop at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.