SERVERGATE: Hillary’s Emails are the Gift that Keeps on Giving
Are the felonies piling up?
The question of Hillary Clinton’s insecure emails looks more and more like a growing scandal. At first, there was concern her private emails might include incriminating communications about her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Now, it appears she may have illegally stored classified government emails on an unsafe personal server — left unencrypted for three months — and possibly obstructed justice by refusing to turn them over.
A subpoena was issued for her emails in March, which she claimed she never got. “I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” she asserted last month.
Eventually, she turned over about 30,000 emails to the FBI, amounting to almost half the emails on the server. But she refused to turn over the entire server, claiming that the rest of the emails were personal and unrelated to her job as Secretary of State. Finally, however, she agreed to hand over the server and a thumb drive containing copies of the emails. Did she change her mind because she had scrubbed it clean of any incriminating evidence? That’s not idle speculation. This week it was discovered that she ordered a book on how to delete emails and handle subpoenas for them.
On August 11, the intelligence community’s inspector general, Charles McCullough, reported to Congress that the investigation had found several violations of security policy in her personal emails, which were mislabeled as unclassified. Doing a random audit of 40 of her emails, he found that 10 percent were classified but not been designated as such. Two were “top secret,” and two more were “classified.”
Top secret is the highest official classification level in the U.S. government, defined as information whose unauthorized release “could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security or foreign relations.” Next down, a classification of “secret” refers to information that, if revealed, could cause “serious harm” to national security. “Classified” refers to data that, if revealed, could cause “some harm” to national security.
Changing the classification is a felony. Additionally, 18 USC 1924 makes it a crime to have classified information at an “unauthorized location.”
If labeled top secret, even if on your personal property, it now belongs to the government.
Clinton’s protege and assistant Huma Abedin, whom Clinton has said she thinks of as a daughter, was asked to turn over her emails multiple times, but the State Department stalled for her, saying she never received the requests, which were sent both by email and surface mail.
Once Congress reads through the emails, Clinton could be in more trouble. Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., wants to know whether she ordered security forces in Benghazi to “stand down.” So far, Clinton has not produced several emails regarding Benghazi, which are known to exist since there were 15 in Sydney Blumenthal’s email cache that he turned over to the Benghazi Committee. Since Clinton has already made a sworn statement to a judge that she turned over all the emails, her actions could constitute perjury or obstruction of justice.
A Clinton spokesperson has said since the information was not labeled, she couldn’t have known it was classified. Yet Clinton said at a March news conference she was “certainly aware of the classified requirements.” In any case, former intelligence professionals observed that is no defense, “The reason the documents were not marked is because she never submitted them for clearance.”
Clinton is also trying to claim that the emails magically became classified later. Even if that was true, how would emails go from unclassified all the way up to the very highest level, top secret? USA Today reports:
In an email to supporters Wednesday, the Clinton campaign explained further: “It’s common for information previously considered unclassified to be upgraded to classified before being publicly released. Some emails that weren’t secret at the time she sent or received them might be secret now,” communications director Jennifer Palmieri said.
Federal investigators have suggested that’s not the case here. The inspectors general have said the emails “contained classified information when they were generated,” and “that information remains classified today.”
John R. Schindler, a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer, writes, “It is a very big deal and less-connected people who do this sort of thing ruin their lives, as any IC counterintelligence official can attest. During my NSA time, I saw junior personnel terminated for relatively minor infractions of security regulations.” Judge Andrew Napolitano similarly observed, “General Petraeus was indicted, prosecuted and convicted for having confidential — the lowest level — materials in a desk drawer in his house.”
Amazingly, some in the mainstream media are dismissing what could amount to piles of felonies, endangering the lives of millions of Americans. A writer for Slate referred to Hillary’s private email server as merely “digital mismanagement.” Major news outlets are simply skipping the developments in story.
“It’s safe to assume,” jokes Schindler, “that Moscow and Beijing know what Hillary’s ‘private’ emails as Secretary of State contained. Let’s hope that the American public will someday as well.”