January 30, 2016

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Why Hillary’s Emailgate Matters.

Just what a sinkhole of secrets the Secretary of State’s office was during President Obama’s first term, when Ms. Clinton occupied that chair, is frighteningly apparent. Allegations are swirling that her staff systematically copied Top Secret Codeword information off separate, just-for-intelligence computer systems and cut-and-pasted it into “unclassified” emails. This, if true, is an unambiguous felony. There is reason to be cautious about this claim, which is unsubstantiated so far, and would indicate a complex degree of intent: moving Top Secret Codeword information into unclassified emails is not simple, rather a multi-step process, and would leave an audit trail.

Nevertheless, the casual approach of Ms. Clinton and her staff to classified information is already abundantly clear. Cheryl Mills, her chief of staff at Foggy Bottom, was using her personal Blackberry for work, including the transmission of classified email. That alone is a crime. Then, in a move worthy of a dark comedy, Ms. Mills proceeded to lose that Blackberry. This would be a career-ender, at best, for any normal U.S. Government employee. Ms. Mills, a longtime Clinton insider, naturally suffered no penalties of any kind for this astonishing security lapse. . . .

To take just the Russians: their plus-sized embassy in Washington, D.C. is conveniently located on a hill overlooking the city, with an impressive antenna field on its roof aimed downtown. That is where Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails went. The Russians care so much about State Department information they’ve been caught planting bugs inside a conference room just down the hall from the Secretary of State’s office. “Of course the SVR got it all,” explained a high-ranking former KGB officer to me about EmailGate (the SVR is the post-Soviet successor to the KGB’s foreign intelligence arm). “I don’t know if we’re as good as we were in my time,” he added, “but even half-drunk the SVR could get those emails, they probably couldn’t believe how easy Hillary made it for them.”

Any foreign intelligence service reading Ms. Clinton’s emails would know a great deal they’re not supposed to about American diplomacy, including classified information: readouts from sensitive meetings, secret U.S. positions on high-stakes negotiations, details of interaction between the State Department and other U.S. agencies including the White House. This would be a veritable intelligence goldmine to our enemies. Worse, access to Ms. Clinton’s personal email likely gave foreign spy agencies hints on how to crack into more sensitive information systems. Not to mention that if Clinton Inc. was engaged in any sort of illegal pay-for-play schemes, our adversaries know all about that, as well as anything else shady that Ms. Clinton and her staff were putting in those unencrypted emails.

Blackmail fodder galore.

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