The latest batch of classified emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server includes information that may well be sufficient to establish that she violated 18 U.S.C. Section 793. However, as I mentioned here, we already knew that “top secret” information on her server derived from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which performs aerial surveillance, had triggered FBI concern in the first place.
Even without knowing what, specifically, the information pertained to, it seemed overwhelmingly likely that it “related to the national defense.” This is the touchstone under Section 793(f) and under an ordinary understanding of what information must absolutely be kept secret and secure.
Now, via the Washington Times, comes word that one of the “top secret” items on Clinton’s server dealt with satellite information about North Korea’s nuclear weapons — specifically the movement of North Korean nuclear assets. The Times’ John Solomon relies on “multiple intelligence sources.”
No wonder the FBI is concerned.
Its concern is surely heightened by the fact that, as Solomon points out, North Korea has assembled a massive cyber hacking army under an elite military spy program known as Bureau 121. Through this program, the North Koreans have become increasingly aggressive in targeting systems for hacking, especially vulnerable private systems. Indeed, they have been blamed by the U.S. for the hack of Sony movie studios.
Naturally, then, the intelligence community is alarmed by the fact that Clinton (in Solomon’s words) “allowed sensitive U.S. intelligence about North Korea to seep into a more insecure private email server.” By doing so, officials believe that she “threaten[ed] to expose [our] methods and assets for gathering intelligence on the secretive communist nation.”
The compromised information does not include surveillance imagery or maps. Rather, it apparently consists of summarized information that could only have come from spy satellite intelligence.
According to the Times, the intelligence community believes a State Department employee received the information through classified channels and then summarized it when that employee got to a nonclassified State Department computer. The email chain went through Clinton’s most senior aides and eventually to her personal email.
Section 793(f) applies not just to cases where a person improperly “delivers” information relating to the national defense — as Clinton seems to have done in her correspondence with Sid Blumenthal — but also to cases where an individual
(1) through gross negligence permits such information to be removed from its proper place of custody
(2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust fails to make prompt report of such to his superior officer
I take no position yet as to whether the facts, as presented by the Times via its intelligence sources, state a violation by Hillary Clinton of one or both of these subsections, or some other provision of the U.S. Code. It seems clear, however, that Clinton was a party to a very disturbing compromise of our methods and assets for gathering information about one of our worst and most deadly adversaries.
This alone demonstrates her unfitness for the presidency.