The latest revelations about Hillary Clinton’s misuse of an unsecured private email system to communicate top secret information appear to lead possible criminal complicity in some intelligence agencies that had to know of her conduct.
This past week we found out that at least twenty-two of those emails are so highly classified that they cannot be released even in a heavily redacted form. Clinton, predictably, is trying to score political points by saying they should all be released, thus putting the blame on the State Department for withholding them even though she knows perfectly well that the emails in question can’t possibly be disclosed because of the intensely guarded secrets they contain.
We also found out that President Obama, contrary to his false statement last March that he only found out about Hillary’s use of that system from recent news reports, actually emailed Hillary at her “clintonmail.com” address at least eighteen times.
Those emails, of course, won’t be released. But the non-release pales to insignificance because of one overwhelmingly important fact: if the president knew that Hillary was using a private, non-governmental email system, so must have the intelligence agencies that were communicating secret information with her and her top staff.
How could the CIA, NSA, DIA, and the other thirteen intelligence agencies we collectively call the “intelligence community” not know that Clinton was using a private, non-government email system? Obviously, they couldn’t have failed to know. They must have communicated with her directly on a frequent basis and would have to have used her “clintonmail” address. Even if they knew that she was using a private system only from email strings containing her “clintonmail.com” address, they had an immediate duty to investigate and object to her using it. Such objections would have had to be resolved by Obama. There’s nothing to indicate any of the sixteen agencies ever objected, nor did the president.
Those facts could spread Hillary’s obvious criminality with a broad brush. If none of the intelligence agencies objected, and none sought to terminate her use of the unsecured system for communicating top secret — even compartmented information such as Special Access Programs — these agencies and their leaders are as culpable as Clinton and the president.
We know, as I wrote on this page last week, that the “clintonmail” system was established for a corrupt purpose, namely to ensure that she had control over all the communications she sent or received as secretary of state, rather than leave them in the hands of the State Department which owned those communications. Harold Krongard, the State Department’s inspector general from 2005 to 2008, belatedly pointed that out last week that from 2009 to 2013 State had no IG. Thus, the State Department had no independent agency embedded in it to detect illegal acts such as Clinton using her private email system for classified government work.
The intelligence community has had an inspector general but like other elements of law enforcement, he acts on complaints of possible illegality. Apparently there were none. That leads to the other major revelation that has come out over the last seven days.
As explained compellingly by my pal Andy McCarthy last Monday, the evidence indicates that on many occasions, Clinton’s immediate staff — people such as Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, and Cheryl Mills — copied top secret information from classified Internet systems such as “SIPRNET” and “JWICS” (“Secret Internet Protocol Router Network” and “Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System”) and pasted them into plain emails to send to Clinton.
Several of Clinton’s emails reportedly show that this was done pursuant to Clinton’s orders.
For those who don’t know about these systems, they are maintained entirely separate from the regular “.gov” email systems. You have to use different computers to log on to them and those computers are supposed to be kept in secured facilities. For the SIPRNET, for example, you have to not only log on with name and password, you have to insert a hard identification card like a credit card into the computer to gain access. More security is required for JWICS.
Cell phones, for example, aren’t allowed into any room containing SIPRNET or JWICS. The computers set up to use these networks don’t have CD drives or USB ports in order to prevent anyone copying the information they get access to. But all those protections fail when people have government-issued BlackBerries cleared onto SIPRNET and JWICS — which Clinton’s staff evidently had — and use them intentionally to copy information from a classified email and send it to an address on her “clintonmail” server. That can’t be done by accident. It has to be done laboriously and with intent to evade the restrictions on handling secrets. It’s a felony to do so, but that was Clinton’s practice and that of her staff.
From those practices arise the over 1,300 Hillary emails containing classified information, including those twenty-two that State only now has figured out contain information so highly classified that the emails cannot be released in any form.
Remember, please, that the “clintonmail.com” system was entirely unprotected from interception of all emails by hostile governments such as Iran, Russia, and China (among others) and even sophisticated terrorist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and too many others. It is reasonable to conclude that anything that could have been intercepted and read by any hostile nation or terrorist group was intercepted, read, and shared among our enemies.
Remember, also, that some of the information on those emails discussed “special access programs.” Among those programs are covert operations by spies, special forces, and spy satellites. Covert operations such as these are more highly classified than anything else our government does. They require a secret presidential determination, in writing, before they can be started. Any of that information that might have been intercepted must have been. The results will be enormous harm to our national security.
When SAPs are compromised, the intelligence agency that run them are required to run a damage assessment to determine how bad the damage is and whether the SAP has to be shut down because it has been compromised. Some will be.
How much essential intelligence information will we miss because of Hillary’s actions? No matter how much, it is too much. Hillary’s conduct was unlawful. She and the staffers who participated in her scheme have to be held accountable in federal court.
Unavoidably, this will be a significant part of Obama’s legacy. It should be the only legacy of Hillary Clinton.