Oh my: Hillary e-mail contained “operational” intel; Update: State proposed workaround for nonsecure system; Update: NOC lists?
posted at 10:41 am on February 1, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
“Convenience” has a high price, no? According to a new exclusive report from Fox’s Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne, the State Department had to take the unusual step of hiding 22 e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s secret server completely from public view because they expose operational intelligence, which could damage “sources, methods, and lives.” The top-secret intelligence data didn’t come from a single exchange over a purportedly interagency dispute, but from across the entire time Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State:
Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and was limited in discussing the contents because of their highly classified nature, was referring to the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails that the State Department announced Friday it could not release in any form, even with entire sections redacted. …
The official emphasized that the “TOP SECRET” documents were sent over an extended period of time — from shortly after the server’s 2009 installation until early 2013 when Clinton stepped down as secretary of state.
We have analyzed this in terms of 18 USC 793 in the past, which makes gross negligence in handling this kind of data a felony. It’s worth pointing out again, especially given that this statute does not require that such data carry a classification, although it certainly helps for prosecutions:
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Mike Pompeo makes the point that no one could possibly mistake the serious nature of intelligence at this level:
“There is no way that someone, a senior government official who has been handling classified information for a good chunk of their adult life, could not have known that this information ought to be classified, whether it was marked or not,” he said. “Anyone with the capacity to read and an understanding of American national security, an 8th grade reading level or above, would understand that the release of this information or the potential breach of a non-secure system presented risk to American national security.”
Pompeo also suggested the military and intelligence communities have had to change operations, because the Clinton server could have been compromised by a third party.
“Anytime our national security team determines that there’s a potential breach, that is information that might potentially have fallen into the hands of the Iranians, or the Russians, or the Chinese, or just hackers, that they begin to operate in a manner that assumes that information has in fact gotten out,” Pompeo said.
Someone had to convert this data from secure systems — and most likely SCIF containment — into Hillary’s e-mail system. Even if that person isn’t Hillary, she set up the server for her “convenience” and required her aides to use it. She would have seen the intelligence, and her clearance and signoffs make her responsible to deal with spillage of highly classified material into non-secure systems. On top of that, she kept possession of this information in her home on an unsecured and unauthorized computer — and then shared the database with unauthorized data-management companies. Those are all violations of 18 USC 1924.
Hillary put lives and national security at risk. Not only should she be disqualified for public office, she should be facing charges.
Update: Hillary Clinton’s response? “I take classified information seriously.” All evidence to the contrary, of course.
In reference to 18 USC 1924, here is the statute:
(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.
Note that unlike 18 USC 793, prosecution under 1924 does require material to have been classified — but that could be any level of classification, from Confidential all the way to Top Secret/Compartmented, SAP, HCS, etc. Information bearing all of those classifications have been redacted from Hillary’s e-mails at least 1,300 times, and kept secure entirely in the case of these 22 e-mails.
Update: Question: What did the State Department know, and when did it know it? Answer: Almost everything, and almost immediately. In fact, State proposed a workaround on security so that Hillary could access her home-brew e-mails at the office:
The State Department proposed created a “standalone” computer operating on a separate network for Hillary Clinton shortly after she took helm as the nation’s top diplomat in 2009, according to newly released emails.
Clinton’s personal computer would be “connected to the internet (but not through our system) to enable her to check emails from her desk,” State Department official Lewis Lukens wrote on Jan. 24, 2009, days after Clinton was sworn in as secretary of State.
“The stand-alone seperate [sic] network PC is on on [sic] great idea,” Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy responded.
“Yes we were hoping for that if possible so she can check her email in her office,” agreed Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide and her deputy chief of staff at the time.
Say, remember all of those FOIA cases in which State insisted that they had no record of Hillary e-mails responsive to those requests? I’ll bet the judges presiding in those cases do.
I can confirm that the FoxNews report, which lacks any specifics about exactly what was compromised, is accurate. And what was actually in those Top Secret emails found on Hillary’s “unclassified” personal bathroom server was colossally damaging to our national security and has put lives at risk.
Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. NOCs (see this for an explanation of their important role in espionage) are the pointy end of the CIA spear and they are always at risk of exposure – which is what Ms. Clinton’s emails have done.
Not only have these spies had their lives put in serious risk by this, it’s a clear violation of Federal law. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, enacted due to the murder of the CIA’s station chief in Athens after his cover was blown by the left-wing media, makes it a Federal crime to divulge the true identity of any covert operative serving U.S. intelligence if that person has not previous been publicly acknowledged to be working for our spy agencies.
People really go to jail for breaking this law. John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, recently emerged from two years in prison for unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including exposing the identity of an Agency colleague who was serving under cover.
Wow. If this is true, it could be the greatest security breach since Robert Hanssen. Guy’s advice is worth considering, too:
Incl CIA identities & foreign nat'ls on CIA payroll, via "IC officials." Explosive if true. Proceed w/ caution. https://t.co/8fl0aYDzoQ
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 1, 2016
Proceed with caution, indeed — but there’s a reason why the State Department can’t even release the fully redacted e-mail messages.