Katherine Herridge and Pamela Browne of Fox News are reporting that at least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server contained extremely sensitive information identified by an intelligence agency as “HCS-O.” This code is used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations, according two of the Fox reporters’ sources.
Here is what a December 2013 policy document released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says about “HSC-0”:
The HSC-0 compartment (Operations) is used to protect exceptionally fragile and unique IC (intelligence community) clandestine HUMINT [human intelligence] operations and methods that are not intended for dissemination outside of the originating agency.
Herridge and Browne say they don’t know whether the information contained in the Clinton emails revealed who the human intelligence source was, or his/her nationality or affiliation. Nor is it clear what the impact, if any, was on the source.
Regardless, the fact that at least one email on Clinton’s server was “HCS-O” will likely take this story to a new level. Those in the FBI and our intelligence services who are demanding that Clinton be prosecuted now have new, strong evidence to support their demand. Those who may be resisting a prosecution are in a weaker position (and some may no longer be inclined to resist). And the public has more reason to be outraged if Clinton skates.
Meanwhile, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey argues in the Wall Street Journal that “a criminal charge of one sort or another” against Clinton is “justified.”
And Mukasey goes one significant step further: he predicts that the Justice Department will bring a criminal charge against the Democratic frontrunner:
[Whether a charge is brought] depends in part on the recommendation of FBI Director James Comey, a man described by President Obama, at the time the president appointed him, as “fiercely independent.” If no recommendation to charge is forthcoming, or if such a recommendation is made but not followed by the attorney general, what happens then?
Would the public stand for it? My guess is not. However, my guess is also that we won’t be put to that test because our public officials will do their duty.
I’m less confident than Mukasey about the Justice Department’s willingness to do its duty in this context. But the former Attorney General’s “guess” is not easily discounted.