Did Inspector General Charles McCullough provide a “smoking gun” demonstrating illegality on Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized and secret e-mail server? Depends on who you ask. Despite finding information relating to highly classified “special access programs” in several dozen e-mails, it’s just an issue of poor judgment, according to David Axelrod:
NBC News talked to “officials” who claim the information exposed was “innocuous,” but the only one on the record is Team Hillary flack Brian Fallon — who accused the Obama-appointed McCullough yesterday of being part of a Republican conspiracy:
The classified material included in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails flagged by an internal watchdog involved discussions of CIA drone strikes, which are among the worst kept secrets in Washington, senior U.S. officials briefed on the matter tell NBC News.
The officials say the emails included relatively “innocuous” conversations by State Department officials about the CIA drone program, which technically is considered a “Special Access Program” because officials are briefed on it only if they have a “need to know.”
Well, maybe. But if they are so innocuous, why are some lawmakers barred from accessing them?
Some of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her private server contained information so secret that senior lawmakers who oversee the State Department cannot read them without fulfilling additional security requirements, Fox News has learned.
The emails in question, as Fox News first reported earlier this week, contained intelligence classified at a level beyond “top secret.” Because of this designation, not all the lawmakers on key committees reviewing the case have high enough clearances.
A source with knowledge of the intelligence review told Fox News that senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, despite having high-level clearances, are among those not authorized to read the intelligence from so-called “special access programs” without taking additional security steps — like signing new non-disclosure agreements.
These programs are highly restricted to protect intelligence community sources and methods.
Make no mistake, writes intel analyst and former Special Ops member Anthony DeChristopher in The Hill today, this is indeed a smoking gun. Exposure of SAP data should be enough to make anyone with a significant clearance “mess their pantsuit”:
As more information from Hillary Clinton’s server has been made available, it is clear that the contents of the server contained Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and Signal Intelligence (SIGINT). Understanding that much of the information has beenretroactively classified, there are a few facts that are tough to grasp—at least from the perspective of an intelligence practitioner.
First, when imagery that is classified SECRET//NOFORN (no foreign national) is viewed, regardless of the absence of classification markings, it is distinctly evident. Second, any documents that contain or reference HUMINT is always classified SECRET, and if specificnames of sources or handlers are mentioned, they are at a minimum SECRET//NOFORN. Third, SIGINT is always classified at the TS level. It’s not uncommon for some SI to be downgraded and shared over SECRET mediums, however, it is highly unlikely that a Secretary of State would receive downgraded intelligence. Finally, SAP intelligence has been discovered on Clinton’s private server, and many are now calling this the smoking gun. SAP is a specialized management system of additional security controls designed to protect SAR or Special Access Required. SAR has to do with extremely perishable operational methods and capabilities, and only selected individuals who are “read on” or “indoctrinated” are permitted access to these programs. The mishandling of SAP can cause catastrophic damage to current collection methods, techniques and personnel.
In other words, if you have worked with classified material for more than a day, it seems highly implausible that someone could receive any of the aforementioned over an un-secure medium without alarm bells sounding. However, reading about a Special Access Program on an unclassified device would make anyone even remotely familiar with intelligence mess their pantsuit.
DeChristopher calls this a time for Hillary — and the FBI — to make good on her declaration that “no one is too big to jail”:
With more damming information being released almost weekly now, it’s interesting that during last Sunday’s Democratic debate, Clinton resoundingly stated: “No one is too big for jail.” Although the context was referencing bank CEOs and Hedge fund managers, the obvious correlation left many scratching their heads and wondering—did Hillary Clinton just say, “I dare you” to the FBI?”
Not to the FBI — to the Department of Justice. And it’s time that Loretta Lynch called Hillary’s dare, or be asked to explain why she won’t.