Mrs. Clinton’s insistence that she did nothing wrong by funneling her official communications as secretary of state through her own private e-mail server became more difficult to believe last week when the State Department said that 22 of those e-mails were too highly classified to be released to the public, even in redacted form.
A government official has told Fox News that the 22 e-mails contain “operational intelligence.” He said their presence on Clinton’s unsecure e-mail server, that could easily be hacked, put “sources, methods and lives” in jeopardy. He also said the documents appeared on Clinton’s server throughout her tenure as secretary of state, from 2009 to early 2013.
The State Department is under a federal court order to release all 30,000 government-related e-mails that Clinton has turned over from her server, because they are public documents. In the process of screening them before their release, the State Department censored portions of 1,340 of the messages, because they contained information declared classified by other government agencies.
After the State Department requested them, Clinton turned over hard copies of the 30,000 e-mails in December, 2014. She then ordered the server to be wiped clean of all data, including thousands of other e-mails which she claims were personal in nature. She refused to turn the server over to the government until the FBI launched an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, in response to a complaint about Clinton’s e-mails by the inspector general for the US intelligence agencies.
The 22 e-mails being withheld by the State Department differ from the others because they contain information protected by the highest level of government secrecy. They are designated by the CIA as SAP, or Special Access Program. SAP classification is applied only to the most sensitive signals intelligence data and the secret methods by which it is collected. They are the “crown jewels” of government secrets, so important that US security officials are expected to risk their lives to protect their secrecy.
Even holders of Top Secret Codeword security clearances require special permission to access SAP information, on a strict need-to-know basis. Even the inspector general who discovered the SAP secrets in Clinton’s e-mails needed to seek a special clearance before he was permitted to examine them.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon sought to minimize the significance of the e-mails being withheld by the State Department. He called them an example of “over-classification run amok,” claiming the information they contain was never secret, and had originated on the State Department’s unclassified computer system before being sent to Clinton. Fallon then repeated the Clinton campaign’s call for the State Department to release all of Clinton’s e-mails without delay.
FBI INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
According to a Fox News report, the FBI investigation was recently expanded to include “the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed.” More than 100 FBI agents are now searching for evidence in Clinton’s e-mails that donors to her family’s charitable foundation received special consideration in their dealings with the State Department while she was secretary of state.
The State Department also announced last week that it will launch its own security investigation into whether the 22 e-mails with top secret information had been classified at the time they were sent or received, in addition to the ongoing FBI investigation.
A number of Republicans have publicly called on the Justice Department to take legal action against Mrs. Clinton, claiming that there is already plenty of evidence to support charges of mishandling classified information. They have also accused Clinton of promising to protect Obama’s legacy if she is elected president, in an effort to win more lenient treatment from the Justice Department.
CLINTON’S WOUNDED CREDIBILITY
The scandal has badly damaged Clinton’s image as a presidential candidate. A national poll of Democrats released last week found that only 36% consider Clinton to be honest and trustworthy compared to 48% who trust her main opponent for the presidential nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
A federal judge had ordered the State Department to complete the release of all the Clinton e-mails by the end of 2015, but it could not meet the deadline. It is still screening 8,000 of the e-mails for classified information before releasing them to the public.
Nobody knows what further secrets the remaining e-mails might bring to light. The State Department says they were the most difficult e-mails to screen because they contain information from multiple federal agencies. As a result, they were saved for last. The State Department has proposed February 29 as the new deadline for releasing the last of the e-mails. That is the day before “Super Tuesday,” when more than a dozen states will hold Democrat primaries and caucuses to choose between Clinton and Sanders for the presidential nomination.
STATE DEPARTMENT KNEW CLINTON HAD HER OWN SERVER
Howard J. Krongard, the former inspector general for the State Department from 2005-2008 has revealed that State Department officials were well aware from the outset that Mrs. Clinton was not using secure e-mail, because they never set up a government e-mail address for her use.
In an interview with the New York Post, Krongard said, “It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private email server until later. How else was she supposed to do business without e-mail?”
Krongard also pointed to Clinton’s failure to appoint a new State Department inspector general to replace him, throughout her tenure. Part of the inspector general’s job is to find violations of secure communications procedures. Krongrad believes that she allowed the post to remain vacant because, “she did not want to be subject to internal investigations.”
TOP CLINTON STAFFERS UNDER FBI SCRUTINY
He also says that “the key” to the expanded FBI investigation is focusing on how secrets from the federal government’s secure computer network, known as SIPRNeT, wound up on Clinton’s e-mail server. “It can’t just jump from one system to the other. Someone had to move it, copy it. The question is who did that?”
He believes that the FBI’s top suspects are Clinton’s State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills, and her two deputy chiefs, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan. All three of them now hold senior positions in Clinton’s campaign. All three had access to the classified information on the SIPRNeT. They could have copied it using a USB flash drive or retyped it into a new e-mail they sent to Clinton. But in either case, there would be a record of them accessing the information on the classified computer system.
Krongard says that the fact that the information originally came from the SIPRNeT “totally eliminates the false premise that she got nothing marked classified.” He adds that in her attempts to distance herself from the illegal transfer of classified information, Clinton is “throwing her staffers under the bus.” According to Krongard, all three are under “enormous pressure to cooperate” with FBI investigators.
According to former NSA analyst John R Schindler, Mills was using her personal Blackberry for State Department work, including the transmission of classified information before losing the phone. But her boss, Mrs. Clinton, allowed Mills to escape any penalty for the serious security lapse. Schindler is also convinced that any classified information which may have been on Clinton’s e-mail server is now in the hands of this country’s enemies. He is not alone in holding that opinion. It is shared by Clinton’s successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, and former defense secretary and CIA director Robert Gates.
CLINTON’S SERVER IS A “GOLDMINE TO OUR ENEMIES”
Schindler also notes that, “Any foreign intelligence service reading Mrs. Clinton’s e-mails would know a great deal they’re not supposed to about American diplomacy, including classified information: readouts from sensitive meetings, secret US positions on high-stakes negotiations, details of interaction between the State Department and other US agencies including the White House. This would be a veritable intelligence goldmine to our enemies. . .
“In every American embassy around the world, Marine guards have standing orders to fight to the death to protect the classified information Mrs. Clinton gave away by choice.”
We may never know how many US secrets were compromised by Clinton’s reckless penchant for exclusive control over her communications including the private e-mails she ordered to be erased from her server before she finally turned it over to the FBI. As secretary of state, she had access to the most secure communications the US government could provide, but she chose to use none of them, putting national security at risk.
CLINTON’S CHANGING STORIES
When the existence of Clinton’s unsecure e-mail server was first revealed, her initial response to fears that her messages were exposed to hackers was to declare that her e-mails never contained classified material. Last summer, when some of her e-mails were finally turned over to congressional committees in response to their subpoenas, it quickly became apparent that at least some of them did contain classified information.
Clinton then modified her claim, insisting that “I did not send classified information and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified, which is the way you know that something is.”
That claim is misleading. It is illegal to send or receive classified information on an unsecured server whether it is marked classified or not. It is up to the government official handling the information to recognize its status and treat it accordingly.
In a news interview Sunday, Clinton was asked about a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2009 upon becoming secretary of state which acknowledged that markings are irrelevant in determining whether a document is classified. The agreement states “classified information is marked or unmarked … including oral communications.” In addition, under federal law, Clinton, as a government employee with a security clearance was required to report any possible compromise in the security of classified information or its disclosure to an unauthorized person.
CLINTON HAD TO KNOW SHE WAS COMPROMISING SECURITY
Congressman Mike Pompeo, who sits on the House intelligence committee, said that someone with Clinton’s experience had to know that she was putting classified information on her server, “whether it was marked or not,” and that, “the release of this information or the potential breach of a non-secure system presented risk to American national security.”
Clinton also had to know that in 2012, while she was secretary of state, the US ambassador to Kenya, Scott Gration, was forced to resign because an inspector general caught him evading the State Department’s secure communications protocols. In an effort to bypass the State Department’s computer network, Ambassador Gration had ordered the installation of a non-secure commercial e-mail service in his embassy office, which he then used for government business on a government-owned laptop.
BLAMING THE BUREAUCRACY
Clinton has claimed that the decision to declare some of the information in 1,340 of her e-mail messages to be classified was the result of the overzealousness by members of the intelligence community. She has suggested that the State Department still does not consider the information to be secret.
That explanation cannot be applied to the latest batch of 22 Clinton e-mails, which are being withheld from the public at the request of State Department officials. It is also very hard to believe that a secretary of state would not instantly recognize that such sensitive information in her unsecure e-mail had to be highly classified.
Last summer, Clinton was also forced to abandon the initial excuses she gave for setting up the private e-mail. One was that the server had originally been intended for the use of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. That was shot down when it came out that Bill was not using e-mail at all at the time. Clinton also said that she wanted the server for convenience, so that she could access all of her e-mails on a simple Blackberry. That was shot down when it came out that she typically used 3 or 4 e-mail devices and carried them with her where ever she went while secretary of state.
CLINTON PRETENDING IGNORANCE
Last summer, Clinton feigned ignorance of how an e-mail server works. In answer to a question as to whether she had ordered her server to be wiped, she asked in mock innocence, “What, like with a cloth or something? I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”
That was another deception, as is clear from Clinton’s own book, titled “Hard Choices” published in 2014, in which she wrote about the extensive electronic security precautions she followed while secretary of state.
She “often received warnings from Department security officials to leave our [BlackBerrys], laptops—anything that communicated with the outside world—on the plane with their batteries removed to prevent foreign intelligence services from compromising them.
“Even in friendly settings we conducted business under strict security precautions, taking care where and how we read secret material and used our technology.”
In August 2011, the State Department’s executive secretary offered to supply Clinton with a secure and anonymous Blackberry. The offer was rejected by Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, after she was told that emails on the Blackberry would ultimately be subject to public disclosure.
ATTACKING THOSE INVESTIGATING CLINTON
The Clintons are following a pattern they first established in the 1990‘s, when they trashed the reputation of formerly respected Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr. One of Mrs. Clinton’s longtime supporters, Congressman Steve Israel of New York, has challenged the political neutrality of David Seide a top aide to State Department Inspector General, Steve Linick. He raised the objection because a decade ago, Seide was tangentially involved as an assistant US attorney in the prosecution of David Rosen, who was the finance director in Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign in New York.
Congressman Israel has also darkly suggested that “a pattern” of anti-Clinton bias may be emerging in Linick’s office, because another member of his staff once worked as an aide to Republican Senator Charles Grassley.
A spokesman for the inspector general rejected the charges of potential bias, and noted that Clinton’s finance director, Rosen was indicted by a different federal prosecutor after Seide left government service.
The Clinton campaign challenges the political impartiality of Charles McCullough, the inspector general for the intelligence community who first identified classified information in her e-mails.
While accusing their investigators of political bias is an old tactic for the Clinton machine, leveling such charges at appointees of a Democrat administration is a first for them.
CLINTON TAKES BACK HER APOLOGY
Mrs. Clinton has also retracted an apology she issued for the e-mail scandal in September, when she publicly admitted that her use of a private e-mail server was a mistake. During a televised CNN town hall meeting last week, she said, “I’m not willing to say it was an error in judgment because nothing that I did was wrong. It was not in any way prohibited.”
Even though the evidence of Clinton’s criminal wrongdoing in her handling of her e-mails seems to be conclusive, many believe that she might still get away with it.
Former inspector general Krongard says that even if the FBI finds enough evidence of wrongdoing, “it will never get to an indictment” against Clinton. That is because any criminal referral from the FBI “will have to go through four loyal Democrat women.” He is referring to Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. He believes they would never agree to destroy Clinton’s presidential candidacy by charging her with a felony for compromising US secrets.
At worst, Krongard believes, Clinton will be offered a plea deal down to a misdemeanor similar to the one that was given General David Petraeus for a similar offense. The difference is that Petraeus was also required to resign in disgrace from his post as the Director of the CIA in 2012, while nobody expects this administration to force Clinton to give up her candidacy, especially now that she has promised to protect and extend Obama’s presidential legacy.
PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF CLINTON’S GUILT
Former Bush attorney general and U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey believes that there is already plenty of evidence that Mrs. Clinton deliberately mishandled secrets. He notes that she cannot be charged with a criminal act without “proof that she had what the law regards as a guilty state of mind.”
However, in Mukasey’s opinion, the mere presence on her server of top secret material, evidence from her e-mails that she directed her subordinates in how to sidestep required security procedures, as well as the many lies she publicly told about her server, are enough evidence of Clinton’s “guilty knowledge.” He believes that she should be convicted at the least for mishandling classified information and possibly several other criminal charges.
Yet, like Krongard, Mukasey has doubts over whether Clinton will ever be forced to stand trial. In the end, Mukasey writes that he believes that FBI Director James Comey will stand by the findings of his investigators and justify his reputation for being “fiercely independent.” If he is anything less than that, Mrs. Clinton will almost certainly escape legal punishment for her actions which have compromised this country’s secrets.
(Arutz Sheva) The US and Britain have infiltrated Israeli intelligence for the last 18 years, spying on imagery sent by drones on sensitive missions in the Middle East back to their home bases in Israel.
The revelation comes from documents and images exposed by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and published recently for the first time by Yediot Acharonot.
In the breach, Israeli coding was cracked by the US and Britain, allowing them direct access to imagery broadcast by a large fleet of Israeli UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) flying sensitive missions in Gaza, Yehudah and Shomron, as well as throughout the Middle East back to their home bases including Tel Nof, Palmachim and Ein Shemer.
According to the revelations, the Israeli drones even flew missions to gather information so as to plan a bombing of Iran’s nuclear program. Two of the drones were revealed to be armed with missiles and bombs, allowing them to be used in precise assassination missions against terrorists.
Thanks to the hacking, the US and UK were able to see Israel’s targets, preferences and abilities, all from the eyes of Israel’s own drones.
A senior Israeli intelligence official exposed to the revelation told the paper, “this is an earthquake.”
“Apparently none of our encoded communications processes are secure from them,” he said. “This is the most serious leak in the history of Israeli intelligence.”
The infiltration mission, entitled “Anarchist,” has been up and running since 1998. Its goal was to crack and intercept the broadcasts of major armies in the Middle East, along with their air forces and advanced weapon systems and radars.
In the framework of the mission, the codes of advanced combat and tracking systems of Hezbollah, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Syria were cracked.
At the center of the operation was the one state which the majority of the resources and efforts were invested in: Israel, the supposed ally of the US and UK.
“Anarchy” was operated by the American NSA and the British GCHQ from two bases. One was a base in Menwith Hill in northern England that is jointly run with the US, and the other a British base located on the peak of the Troodos Mountains, the highest point in Cyprus. The base is massive, full of antennas, receivers and decoding equipment, with portions of the base dug underground.
The Snowden files include screenshots from intercepted broadcasts from Israeli drones in the midst of their operations. All that the powerful cameras of the UAVs picked up was transmitted to the American and British spies.
Also in the files were presentations prepared for internal lectures and training, including reports apparently addressed to senior commanders about the progress of the infiltration operation.
Members of the “Anarchist” operation were also able to locate where the drone footage was shot in a portion of the instances, whether by identifying the landscape or by cracking a special part of the broadcast in which the UAV updated its base regarding its location.
A British intelligence document from 2008 notes that “this access is irreplaceable in order to understand the Israeli army and its operations, and therefore it gives us the ability to understand future developments in the region.”
The document further stated, “in times of crisis, this access is critical, and at times may be the only way to provide information and support to the operations of the United States and its allies in this arena.”
The US invested serious resources in tracking Israeli preparations for a strike on Iran, as revealed by the documents, which also showed great American concerns that Israel would conduct significant military actions in the region without coordination with the US, causing instability.