Investigators have found over 1,300 e-mails with classified information from the Confidential level all the way to Top Secret/Compartmented, including extremely sensitive human intelligence. How did that information get into an unsecured and unauthorized system in the first place? The New York Post reports that the FBI has begun to focus on that question as well — and that’s bad news for Hillary Clinton’s inner circle:
Clinton and her top aides had access to a Pentagon-run classified network that goes up to the Secret level, as well as a separate system used for Top Secret communications.
The two systems — the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) — are not connected to the unclassified system, known as the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). You cannot e-mail from one system to the other, though you can use NIPRNet to send e-mails outside the government.
Somehow, highly classified information from SIPRNet, as well as even the super-secure JWICS, jumped from those closed systems to the open system and turned up in at least 1,340 of Clinton’s home e-mails — including several the CIA earlier this month flagged as containing ultra-secret Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Programs, a subset of SCI. …
FBI agents are zeroing in on three of Clinton’s top department aides. Most of the Clinton e-mails deemed classified by intelligence agency reviewers were sent to her by her chief of staff Cheryl Mills or deputy chiefs Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan.
This makes sense, since the normal flow of information at the upper echelons of an organization goes upward so that decisions can come downward. Had Hillary Clinton used official State Department e-mail, the classified information could have come to her in the normal manner, and her aides would not have had to find an unauthorized and unsecured route to send it. Lower-level employees probably would not have been trusted with knowledge of the work-around, and everyone involved in Hillary’s secret server would have assumed that its existence would never come to light. That was the express purpose of using it at all — to keep knowledge of Hillary’s communications from Congress and the courts. There literally is no other reason for this operation.
It’s therefore no surprise that the FBI is focusing on who specifically put classified information into the home-brew e-mail system, and how. But that doesn’t help Hillary much. She initiated the use of this system and required her aides to use it. They failed to report the breach, but Hillary initiated it, and clearly for malicious purpose — to evade legitimate oversight of her actions as Secretary of State. Under 18 USC 793 (g), Hillary would be part of a conspiracy to violate the law and just as liable even if she never cut-and-pasted or even sent classified information herself, emphasis mine:
(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.
Setting up the server and requiring her aides to use only that system for e-mail communications would be an act to effect the object of the conspiracy to transmit classified information illegally, as well as hiding communications from Congress. If the Post’s report is accurate, the FBI is using a classic investigative technique of getting to the boss through the flunkies.
The Post also reports on the nature of the information that might have been exposed by the breach:
Top Secret/SCI e-mails received by Clinton include a 2012 staff e-mail sent to the then-secretary containing investigative data about Benghazi terrorist suspects wanted by the FBI and sourcing a regional security officer. They also include a 2011 message from Clinton’s top aides that contains military intelligence from United States Africa Command gleaned from satellite images of troop movements in Libya, along with the travel and protection plans for Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was later killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi.
If that last piece related to Stevens’ final and fatal trip to Benghazi, then that might require a lot more explanation from all involved. Those topics make it much more difficult to believe that Hillary “wipe with a cloth?” Clinton could possibly have been oblivious to the highly sensitive nature of that information — which is all it takes to cross the lines drawn in 18 USC 793.