Of course we know. Everyone knows. And now that Hillary Clinton has been made safe from prosecution for putting national security at risk in order to thwart legitimate Congressional and court oversight on the State Department during her tenure, the New York Times can acknowledge the obvious. Foreign governments had almost certainly gained a valuable stream of intelligence on American operations abroad — but they were smart enough not to leave evidence of it:
When the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Tuesday that his investigators had no “direct evidence” that Hillary Clinton’s email account had been “successfully hacked,” both private experts and federal investigators immediately understood his meaning: It very likely had been breached, but the intruders were far too skilled to leave evidence of their work.
Mr. Comey described, in fairly blistering terms, a set of email practices that left Mrs. Clinton’s systems wide open to Russian and Chinese hackers, and an array of others. She had no full-time cybersecurity professional monitoring her system. She took her BlackBerry everywhere she went, “sending and receiving work-related emails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.” Her use of “a personal email domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent.”
In the end, the risks created by Mrs. Clinton’s insistence on keeping her communications on a private server may prove to be a larger issue than the relatively small amount of classified data investigators said they found on her system. But the central mystery — who got into the system, if anyone — may never be resolved.
“Reading between the lines and following Comey’s logic, it does sound as if the F.B.I. believes a compromise of Clinton’s email is more likely than not,” said Adam Segal, the author of “Hacked World Order,” who studies cyberissues at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Sophisticated attackers would have known of the existence of the account, would have targeted it and would not have been seen.”
As the Times’ David Sanger notes, it’s even more of a certainty, thanks to Comey’s specific allegation that Hillary routinely sent and received e-mails through her private system while “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.” That means Russia and China, Sanger deduces, among other places. A failure to have seized on the opening provided by Hillary would have been an embarrassment even to a second-rate intelligence service, let alone those of the top rank.
So yes, Comey has made it clear that some — or perhaps all — of the information entrusted to Hillary for safekeeping has wound up in the hands of our enemies. How many operations have been blown as a result? How many people have lost their lives? Have our sensitive SIGINT capabilities been compromised? Sanger’s report doesn’t address those questions, but at least his reporting is at least in the vicinity of the real issues of Hillary’s catastrophic intelligence failures over four years.
Other media outlets … not so much. Less than 48 hours after Comey made it clear that our top diplomat was an unwitting font of intelligence for our adversaries, this is what matters to the rest of the media:
Will House Republicans overplay their hand as FBI Director Comey heads to the Hill? We've seen this movie before https://t.co/x89jE0qp4E
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) July 7, 2016
And this, for a news search within the last 24 hours:
James Comey and Loretta Lynch will shortly give testimony to the House Oversight Committee about the FBI investigation. Perhaps someone will mention the reason why this needed to be investigated — and remind Americans of the damage done. And maybe, just maybe, the media will choose to ask the right questions, too.
Here’s the live video of the hearing, from NBC News: