Have we officially reached Hillary email burnout level yet? I would say that this story “keeps getting worse” but that’s pretty much like predicting rain in Seattle. Virtually everything which the former Secretary of State has told us regarding the unending saga of her private server has turned out to be untrue, but now it seems that her mishandling of classified information may be claiming some new victims. Chuck Grassley has some questions for her legal team, particularly the attorney who was in possession of one or more thumb drives with top secret information on them. Hey, buddy… were you cleared to have all that stuff? (SW Times Record)
In a letter released Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked David Kendall to describe what security clearance he and his employees had that allowed them access to tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails that were eventually stored on a thumb drive.
“The transmission of classified material to an individual unauthorized to possess it is a serious national security risk,” wrote Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter dated Friday. “Moreover, if a person unauthorized to maintain custody of the classified materials does in fact maintain custody, it raises legitimate questions as to whether the information was properly secured from foreign governments and other entities. Many intelligence community personnel, uniformed personnel and the American people may be at risk when classified material is not properly secured.”
As our own Katie Pavlich points out, it seems that Kendall not only didn’t have the appropriate level of clearance to handle intelligence data in that highest level of classification, but he had been given instructions by the State Department on how to handle it and he failed to follow through. (Townhall)
“Recent news reports indicate that as Secretary Clinton’s attorney you had a security clearance that was used to possess her official emails. In fact, according to a Washington Post report, the Department of State allegedly instructed you on “appropriate measures for physically securing” her classified emails. However, since that report, the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) notified the Judiciary Committee that at least two emails on Secretary Clinton’s server were – and are – classified at the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level. Importantly, according to the IC IG and Department of State Inspector General, the emails were classified at that level when created,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Kendall Monday (bolding is mine). “In light of that particular classification, which generally requires advanced protocols such as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) and other similar arrangements to possess and view, it appears the FBI has determined that your clearance is not sufficient to allow you to maintain custody of the emails. Consistent with that determination, the FBI is now in custody of not only the thumb drives previously in your possession that allegedly contain all of Secretary Clinton’s emails, but also Secretary Clinton’s personal server that was used to maintain the top secret emails outside of a government facility.”
I’m still seeing press coverage on CNN and a few other places where they are playing up Hillary’s line that this “isn’t about the emails” and it’s all just politics, but that song and dance is going to start wearing thin if somebody gets indicted and/or winds up in jail. I’m not optimistic enough to believe that we’ll ever find out with 100% certainty how much, if any of Clinton’s communications were hacked and wound up in the hands of our enemies. That would require a remarkable discovery by our intelligence agencies and they might not want to talk about it even if they knew. But that’s never really been the point here.
Let’s just say that none of the documents were properly labeled as being secret or whichever other level of classification applies in each case. (A carefully worded argument which Hillary makes at every turn.) It could be because the classification tags were removed by Clinton or someone on her staff, or perhaps she just failed to label them in the first place. Each is equally bad because as the Secretary of State, Clinton should have known better and it’s a fantasy to pretend that she didn’t know the material was sensitive. And knowing this was the case, each and every person who handled or had access to the information needed to have the appropriate clearance to do so. It is equally implausible to claim that Clinton wasn’t aware of that either.
In political terms I’m fine with this process dragging out all year and into next summer, but that’s an admittedly cynical attitude to take. In reality, this is the sort of thing which should have long since had federal agents swooping in to vacuum up every last bit of potentially sensitive material along with all pertinent evidence and issuing non-optional invitations for a long talk in a closed room to get some answers. How that hasn’t already happened is an embarrassment to the entire government, but now that the wheels are in motion it seems impossible that this train is going to stop.