IG: E-mails on Hillary server from highly classified “special access programs”
posted at 2:01 pm on January 19, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server contained more highly classified information than previously thought, according to a letter from the Inspector General overseeing the material. Fox News got an exclusive look at a letter from Thursday that concludes that “several dozen” e-mails contained classified information ranging from confidential to top secret from “special access programs” — information that should have only been seen by a handful of government officials. There could be no mistaking the nature of this information, or its sensitivity:
Fox News exclusively obtained the text of the unclassified letter, sent Jan. 14 from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III. It laid out the findings of a recent comprehensive review by intelligence agencies that identified “several dozen” additional classified emails — including specific intelligence known as “special access programs” (SAP). …
“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels,” said the IG letter to lawmakers with oversight of the intelligence community and State Department. “According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources.”
Intelligence from a “special access program,” or SAP, is even more sensitive than that designated as “top secret” – as were two emails identified last summer in a random sample pulled from Clinton’s private server she used as secretary of state. Access to a SAP is restricted to those with a “need-to-know” because exposure of the intelligence would likely reveal the source, putting a method of intelligence collection — or a human asset — at risk. Currently, some 1,340 emails designated “classified” have been found on Clinton’s server, though the Democratic presidential candidate insists the information was not classified at the time.
“There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material,” a former senior law enforcement with decades of experience investigating violations of SAP procedures told Fox News. “It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”
As Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne note, the SAP classification was set out in an executive order issued by Barack Obama in December 2009. The order, EO 13526, makes it crystal clear that the impact of exposure on national security from these programs is considered “exceptional,” and that only Cabinet level officials or their principal deputies have the authority assign SAP status. The EO emphasizes that it is only to be used when “the normal criteria for determining eligibility for access applicable to information classified at the same level are not deemed sufficient to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure,” and that these programs have to be regularly reviewed to maintain SAP status.
In other words, SAP designation requires even more security and oversight than other classified information. Transmitting it over an unsecured system, and storing it in an unauthorized location and manner, would create even more vulnerabilities for national security. That brings us back to 18 USC 793 and especially 18 USC 1924, and perhaps other statutes as well. The former makes the exposure and/or unauthorized transmission of classified information a felony, even if it happens through “gross negligence” rather than malice. The latter deals with removal and retention of classified material:
(a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(b) For purposes of this section, the provision of documents and materials to the Congress shall not constitute an offense under subsection (a).
(c) In this section, the term “classified information of the United States” means information originated, owned, or possessed by the United States Government concerning the national defense or foreign relations of the United States that has been determined pursuant to law or Executive order to require protection against unauthorized disclosure in the interests of national security.
Hillary Clinton retained that information at her residence on her e-mail server for years. She required her subordinates to communicate with her over this unauthorized and unsecured system, creating the exposure through her own gross negligence. As an official with a clearance, Hillary was well aware of the consequences of her decisions, as were those who worked for her and did not attempt to report these violations. Under 18 USC 793 (g), that might qualify everyone involved as members of a conspiracy:
(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
This puts even more pressure on the Department of Justice to take action against Hillary and her team. No one can pretend that they didn’t know about the ramifications for using this illicit server, and no one can pretend that they thought information from programs with SAP designations were unclassified and in the open. Those who helped Hillary carry out this scheme and who moved SAP information into an unsecured system may find out that they were the real saps.
Update: Guy Benson notes the connection to David Petraeus is even clearer:
According to court documents, former CIA Director David Petraeus was prosecuted for sharing intelligence from special access programs with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. At the heart of his prosecution was a non-disclosure agreement where Petraeus agreed to protect these closely held government programs, with the understanding “unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention or negligent handling … could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation.” Clinton signed an identical non-disclosure agreement Jan. 22, 2009.