When Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal erupted last March, fair-minded people might have given her the benefit of the doubt. Distracted and perhaps overeager, the spanking-new secretary of state plowed into her duties and had her staff divert e-mails to her home-based computer server.
This would be more convenient, she claimed, and would let her avoid the hassle of schlepping multiple hand-held devices. Besides, “there is no classified
material” on her server, she soothed journalists covering this matter. “I did not receive nor send anything that was classified,” she said reassuringly last July.
Things are now so much worse than they first appeared.
If a bumbling Clinton had let a smattering of classified e-mails land on her unsecured server, one might overlook an occasional slip up or two.
However, the State Department so far has identified from Clinton’s private server at least 1,340 e-mails that contain classified data. This was not two or three or even 10 such e-mails, but one thousand three hundred and forty of them.
The final tranche of Clinton’s e-mails should arrive January 29, most likely featuring even more e-mails brimming with state secrets.
If Clinton were a lifelong academic in her first big federal job (visualize a Jeane Kirkpatrick of the left), she might deserve a little slack. But Clinton spent eight years as first lady and eight more as a U.S. senator. Even more inconveniently for Clinton, she served six years on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Even if Clinton had not spent a half-dozen years handling secret documents on America’s military plans and capabilities, she surely knew that classified materials are a secretary of state’s stock in trade. Regardless, Clinton claimed that her server never harbored classified e-mails. Inconceivable.
When the secretary of state swaps e-mails with the president of the United States and the chiefs of the Department of Defense, CIA, and NSA, they presumably discuss priorities more sensitive than Downton Abbey. Clinton first worked on Capitol Hill in 1970.
She is a Yale lawyer. So, she damn well knows that a “born classified” document is secret “when originated.” Markings or no markings, she understands that the confidential views of foreign leaders, reports from ambassadors, and updates on arms-control talks are all state secrets.
Clinton’s flimsy claim never to have handled e-mails labeled classified imploded recently when a June 17, 2011 email became public. That morning, Clinton’s aide Jacob Sullivan informed her that a document could not reach her via a secure fax. No sweat! Clinton replied, "turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”
So, Clinton knew about these classified markings and, even worse, instructed her staffer to cover them up and forward her that document via a fax machine vulnerable to spies.
Clinton’s “gross negligence” may have violated the federal Espionage Act, 18 U.S. Code Section 793.
It would be bad enough if the 1,340 aforementioned classified e-mails only involved the travel plans of U.S. ambassadors. This can be life-or-death information, as al-Qaeda’s franchisees demonstrated in Benghazi.
Even worse, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community I. Charles McCullough, III confirmed that Clinton’s server included not just two previously known Top Secret e-mails but also “several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP information” levels.
McCullough wrote the chairmen of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees on January 14, in response to their questions.
Top Secret/SAP classification goes well beyond the merely top secret and might include the names of American moles in foreign governments. “Several dozen” such emails
occupied Clinton’s server as it ricocheted from Chappaqua, New York, to New Jersey to Colorado, unencrypted and wide open to hacking by Anonymous, Russia, Iran, or the terrifyingly tech-savvy folks at ISIS.
Hillary Clinton has devolved in 10 months from a fumbling former chief diplomat to a one-time clear and present danger to U.S. national security.
Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Read more reports from Deroy Murdock — Click Here Now.
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