Another nice catch from the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross brings into sharp relief another aspect of the danger to national security that Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail system created. Chief of staff Cheryl Mills lost her Blackberry in March 2010, a little over a year into Hillary’s tenure at State, which had been used with the unauthorized and non-secure homebrew Hillary server. She reached out to the State Department to inform a familiar figure of the loss:
Records obtained by The Daily Caller through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show [Cheryl] Mills revealed that she lost her Blackberry in a March 20, 2010 email she sent to Bryan Pagliano, the State Department IT staffer who managed Clinton’s private email server. …
Some of the emails Mills sent and received on the account contain information that the State Department has retroactively determined to have classified information.
In one such email, from Dec. 24, 2009, Clinton forwarded Mills a message she had received from Johnnie Carson, then the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who provided details from a conversation he had with French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner about a situation in Guinea.
“Pls review so we can discuss,” Clinton wrote to Mills and Jake Sullivan, her foreign policy aide.
In a Jan. 14, 2010 email, Rajiv Shah, who was in charge of U.S. Agency for International Development, emailed Clinton and Mills about Haiti. The email is heavily redacted because it contains now-classified information. The State Department has retroactively classified more than 1,300 emails housed on Clinton’s private server, though Clinton and the State Department maintain that the information was not considered classified when it was originated.
Had the State Department known of the Hillary Clinton home-brew server, this should have touched off an investigation to see whether the loss may have exposed sensitive information. It’s telling that Mills went to the one man at State who knew full well of the system — in fact, the man who had worked for Hillary’s political action committee for a few years before moving into the State Department’s IT support group. Pagliano apparently was the only contact at State for support on the Hillary e-mail server during her tenure as Secretary.
Did Pagliano report the loss of the Blackberry as a potential spillage of sensitive material? If not, this might be another good reason for Pagliano’s decision to take the Fifth and potentially hold out for a deal. Failing to report potential spillage would likely cost Pagliano his clearance, and perhaps result in harsher punishment as well.
That holds even more true for Mills than it does for Pagliano. Unlike the IT tech who worked on the system, Mills had actually transmitted sensitive data on and through her Blackberry. Once she realized it was missing, she needed to report the loss as a potential security risk, and not just to IT as a headache to be resolved. If Mills never reported it, that may put her at risked of being charged with a felony under 18 USC 793 (f) (1) and (2):
(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.
Emphases mine. Did Mills make such a report? If not, then this is a clear violation under both (1) and (2) through “gross negligence.” If she told Hillary, who did Hillary contact? If Hillary knew about it and did nothing, then she is equally liable under (2). And if Pagliano knew that Mills and Hillary passed sensitive information through an unsecured and unauthorized system, he’d be just as liable for not acting when told of the loss of the device, and would also face risk of being charged under section (g) for a conspiracy.
The FBI certainly has much to investigate. We’ll see if the Justice Department has any interest in applying the law.