A week ago, the FBI told the State Department to back off of their probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server and its transmission and retention of classified information, some classified at the highest levels. Now the Department of Justice has gotten the Romanian hacker “Guccifer” extradition, the figure whose exploits first exposed the correspondence between Hillary and Sidney Blumenthal. According to an intelligence source, the timing is not coincidental — and could spell big trouble for Hillary Clinton, reports Fox’s Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne:
The extradition of Romanian hacker “Guccifer” to the U.S. at a critical point in the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use is “not a coincidence,” according to an intelligence source close to the case.
One of the notches on Guccifer’s cyber-crime belt was allegedly accessing the email account of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, one of Clinton’s most prolific advice-givers when she was secretary of state. It was through that hack that Clinton’s use of a personal account — clintonemail.com — first came to light.
Former law enforcement and cyber security experts said the hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, could – now that he’s in the U.S. – help the FBI make the case that Clinton’s email server was compromised by a third party, one that did not have the formal backing and resources of a foreign intelligence service such as that of Russia, China or Iran.
“Because of the proximity to Sidney Blumenthal and the activity involving Hillary’s emails, [the timing] seems to be something beyond curious,” said Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division from 2012-2014.
The actual extradition took place nine days ago, around the same time the FBI asserted its dominance in the investigation. Why might Marcel “Guccifer” Lazar be important to the case? If he cracked Hillary’s server rather than Blumenthal’s (or both), then it makes prosecution under 18 USC 793 easier under subsection (f), emphasis mine:
(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.
In fact, Lazar bragged about accessing Hillary’s e-mails in an interview a year ago, referred to as Lehel throughout the Pando article:
Back in the Arad penitentiary, I ask Lehel about his heyday. Was it worth it? “I had memos Hillary Clinton got as a State Secretary, with CIA briefings. These were being read by her, two other people from the US Government, and Guccifer. I used to read her memos for six-seven hours and then I’d get up and do the gardening in the yard,” he says.
Jazz noted that the FBI move last week should make Huma Abedin more nervous. This development, if it pans out, points directly at Hillary herself. It was her server; it was in her possession; and she deliberately chose to evade the law and the security provided by the US government for classified information and its transmission. If the Department of Justice can prove that her system was breached in this manner by Lazar, then it’s close to a prima facie case for violation of 18 USC 793 (f). And note that 18 USC 793 does not require such information to have carried a formal classification; it only requires that the information “relat[ed] to the national defense.”
Earlier today, Hillary insisted that there’s no possibility that she’ll face legal action in the probe:
Clinton also took on the email controversy that continues to hover over her campaign. She dismissed the idea that many Republican leaders are hoping that it will ultimately be her downfall and send her to prison.
“I know that they live in that world of fantasy and hope because they’ve got a mess on their hands on the Republican side. That is not going to happen,” she said. “There is not even the remotest chance that is going to happen. But look, they’ve been after me, as I say, for 25 years. And they have said things about me repeatedly that have been proven to be not only false but kind of ridiculous,” she said.
“The Republicans’ fondest wishes will not be fulfilled.”
Expect that bet to be hedged in the near future. The FBI and the DoJ are going to an awful lot of trouble to end this with a shrug.