Contrary to her claims, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton possessed classified information on her private, unsecure home server and personal mobile devices.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Last week, an inspector general probe concluded that Mrs. Clinton had then-classified material stored on her own personal server. …
A probe by the Intelligence Community Inspector General found four emails in a small sample of the total emails in Mrs. Clinton’s archive that contained information that was classified when they were sent and remains classified to this day. That same office also warned that other classified material could be included in the Clinton emails scheduled to be released. …
In a statement released Friday and cosigned by the State Department inspector general, the intelligence inspector general concluded: “This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”
The emails in question left government custody and are on both Mrs. Clinton’s personal home email sever as well as a thumb drive of David Kendall, Mrs. Clinton’s personal attorney.
The inspectors general sent a counterintelligence referral to the FBI on this mishandling of classified information.
Over the weekend, Clinton understandably sought to downplay the seriousness of her wrongdoing. “What I think you’re seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent disagreement, among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released,” she said.
So now it depends upon what the meaning of the word “classified” is?
This lackadaisical dismissal of legitimate concerns about America’s national security contrasts sharply with her emphatic condemnation of Bradley Manning, who provided classified information to Wikileaks in 2010. Clinton said then:
“The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. … I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.”
Apparently, those “specific actions” did not include discontinuing the use of her own private home server.
Regarding Edward Snowden, in April 2014 Clinton argued that when he moved classified material from a secure U.S. government system onto his personal device and then traveled to China and Russia, those countries were likely able to obtain the data – whether he meant to turn it over or not. In short, she said, the intentions of the person in possession of the material do not matter:
“I think turning over a lot of that material—intentionally or unintentionally, because of the way it can be drained—gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like,” [Clinton] said. …
“When I would go to China or I would go to Russia,” she said, “we would leave all my electronic equipment on the plane with the batteries out, because this is a new frontier and they're trying to find out not just about what we do in our government … they were going after the personal emails of people who worked in the State Department.”
As security experts have noted, Clinton’s private home server and exclusive use of personal email for official government business was a massive vulnerability in terms of national security. Asked about this in May, former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said that “foreign intelligence services, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses.” He added of Clinton’s conduct: “I don’t think that was a very good judgment.”
Even more worrisome? In February of this year, Clinton herself admitted, “I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder.” Too bad she didn’t wipe her server until after its contents were requested by congressional investigators.
Prior to last week, Clinton and her team had assured Americans at least four times that she did not mishandle classified information. We now know for certain that these were just more of her false claims:
- “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.” (Hillary Clinton, 3/10/15)
- “Was classified material sent or received by Secretary Clinton on this email address? No.” (Hillary Clinton’s team, 3/15)
- “I’m aware that the FBI has asked that a portion of one email be held back. That happens in the process of Freedom of Information Act responses. But that doesn’t change the fact that all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately.” (Hillary Clinton, 5/22/15)
- “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email.” (Hillary Clinton’s team, 7/13/15)
- “'I am confident that I never sent or received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received. … The facts are pretty clear: I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time.” (7/25/15)
As National Journal’s Ron Fournier writes, the American public has “the right – and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility – to ask, ‘What were you hiding, Hillary?’”