I tried to watch tonight’s debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. I’ve managed to do it before. But this time, after about half an hour, I had to call it quits. It is just too aggravating to watch a socialist demagogue debate a liar doing a weak impersonation of a socialist demagogue.
Let’s turn, instead, to the a recent batch of State Department documents released by Judicial Watch this week. Judicial Watch had requested: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-“state.gov” email address.”
In response, it received records showing that Hillary Clinton and two top aides at the State Department, Abedin and Jake Sullivan, received and sent classified information on their non-state.gov email accounts. In addition, Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne of Fox News report that two other top Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines, as well as Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, also received classified information on their email accounts.
In a particularly incriminating development, we learn that Hillary used the clintonemail.com system to ask Huma Abedin (also on a non-state.gov email account) to print two March 2011 emails, which were sent from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Jake Sullivan on Sullivan’s non-state.gov email account. The highly-sensitive nature of the Blair emails is indicated by the fact that the Obama State Department redacted these emails under Exemption (b)(1) which allows the withholding of classified material. The material is marked classified as “Foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the US, including confidential sources.”
The newly released Abedin emails also include a lengthy exchange giving precise details of Clinton’s schedule. An email to Abedin and Clinton (on unsecured email systems) provides exact times (including driving times) and locations of all appointments throughout the day. Another email serves up details about a meeting at the United Nations, including the disclosure that this “would mean wheels up from Andrews at approximately 12:00pm/12:15pm.” The security risk of putting this information on unsecured email systems is obvious.
On a more humorous scheduling note, we find Clinton asking how meetings in Washington, including a four-hour meeting concerning America’s war on Libya, would impact her beach time. In response to an email about the sensitive meetings, Clinton asks Abedin, on her non-state.gov email account, “What time would I get back to Hamptons?”
Abedin’s email account appears to be the tip of a big iceberg. How many non-state.gov accounts handled “top secret” intelligence that was found on Hillary Clinton’s server and recently deemed too damaging for national security to release? According to Herridge and Browne, the number could be as high as 30.
Herridge and Browne say there is no public evidence that the people who received classified information on these private accounts were authorized in every instance to receive it. As Andy McCarthy points out, highly classified information is accessible to government officials only on a “need to know” basis. Thus, even if an official has a security clearance, as former-Secretary Clinton’s top staffers and other relevant subordinates undoubtedly did, that does not necessarily mean the official was entitled to access to all secret intelligence (e.g., the top secret Blair emails referenced above that Abedin apparently printed out).
McCarthy also describes the “intelligence catastrophe” associated with e-mail trains, involving several exchanges and multiple participants, on private email systems. Dan McGuire, a long-time Defense Department strategic planner, confirms McCarthy’s general assessment:
[T]he intelligence community is undoubtedly conducting damage assessments and evaluating the viability of any ongoing operation that may have been exposed to unauthorized personnel. The vulnerability of HRC’s server to foreign government hacking cannot be overlooked – even the DCI, John Brennan, has been the target of hackers.
According to McGuire, it’s widely believed among those in the intelligence community that a typical employee “would already be behind bars if [he or she] had apparently compromised sensitive information, as reported.”
Speaking of which, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, Cheryl Mills, Philippe Reines and Patrick Kennedy all may now be in legal jeopardy by virtue of having sent and/or received top secret information on private email accounts.
And yet, as I type these words, the person responsible for this wreckage is participating in a presidential debate, and as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.