The reports indicated that the decision as to whether to reveal the intercepts would be made by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, and it was possible that the release would, if made, be through a third party, such as Wikileaks. The apparent message from Moscow, through the intelligence community, seemed to indicate frustration with the pace of the official U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the so-called server scandal, which seemed to offer prima facie evidence that U.S. law had been violated by Mrs Clinton’s decision to use a private server through which to conduct official and often highly-secret communications during her time as Secretary of State. U.S. sources indicated that the extensive Deptartment of Justice probe was more focused on the possibility that the private server was used to protect messaging in which Secretary Clinton allegedly discussed quid pro quo transactions with private donors to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for influence on U.S. policy.
The Russian possession of the intercepts, however, was designed also to show that, apart from violating U.S. law in the fundamental handling of classified documents (which Sec. Clinton had alleged was no worse than the mishandling of a few documents by CIA Director David Petraeus or Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger), the traffic included highly-classified materials which had their classification headers stripped. Russian (and other) sources had indicated frustration with the pace of the Justice Dept. probe, and its avoidance of the national security aspects of intelligence handling. This meant that the topic would be suppressed by the U.S. Barack Obama Administration so that it would not be a factor in the current U.S. Presidential election campaign, in which President Obama had endorsed Mrs Clinton.
Moscow’s discreet messaging about a possible leak of the traffic, in time to impact the U.S. elections, was designed to pressure faster U.S. legal action on the matter, but was largely due to Russian concerns about possible U.S. strategic policy in the event of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Apart from the breach of U.S. Federal law in the handling of classified material, the Clinton private server was, according to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs analysts, always likely to have been a primary target for foreign cyber warfare interception operations, particularly those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and North Korea (DPRK), but probably also by others, including Iran.