The key to cybersecurity

FOX News has obtained and reported on the 2010 video of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lecturing State Department staff on their “special duty” to recognize the importance of cybersecurity (video below). “The real key to cybersecurity rests with you,” Clinton explains in the video. “Complying with department computing policies and being alert to potential threats will help protect all of us.” FOX News summarizes Clinton’s warning: hackers try to “exploit” vulnerabilities and penetrate department systems.

The video looks like it was phoned in from outer space. The spacy quality gives it an apt Twilight Zone sort of feel. Adapting one of Rod Serling’s famous lead-ins slightly to the Clintonian context, the preface might read: “It lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of prevarication. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

The FOX News report includes this remembrance of things past:

During her interview with the FBI, according to bureau documents released last month, Clinton claimed she could not remember a number of details regarding the training or guidance she received on various areas of department protocol. The interview summary said Clinton “could not recall” any briefing or training regarding the retention of federal records or the handling of classified information.

She also claimed she could not recall receiving guidance on “email policies outlined in the Foreign Affairs Manual.”

The video marks the latest example of how Clinton ran afoul of the very practices she expected others to follow. As Fox News’ Catherine Herridge previously reported, an internal 2011 department cable shows Clinton’s office once told employees not to use personal email for security reasons.

The same year, Clinton skipped a cyber briefing that the department security team put together just for her, according to congressional investigators and an unclassified letter from the State Department.

In 2010, the same year as the video, some State Department officials were voicing concerns about Clinton’s own email and computer setup. A department report found that two Information Resource Management officials had discussed worries about the system and were told it was approved by the legal department staff.

The inspector general report said it “found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system.”

Further, the same report detailed a January 2011 incident where an adviser who provided tech support for the Clinton email system notified a Hillary Clinton aide that “he had to shut down the server because he believed ‘someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt [sic] want to let them have the chance to.’”

What would one of these reports be without a comment by Clinton’s spokesman, the fallacious Brian Fallon. Drawing from the well-worn Clinton scandal management playbook, Fallon comments: “This is not new. It has been widely reported that during Clinton’s tenure the State Department issued these kinds of warnings about possible cybersecurity to employees. These warnings were more than appropriate given that it was subsequently confirmed that State’s email was hacked.”

At the press conference announcing his recommendation not to prosecute Clinton, FBI Director James Comey commented:

With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain in its various configuration since 2009 was hacked successfully. But given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside of the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.

Fallon is confident that this incredibly damning portion of Comey’s comments has receded into the realm of ancient history.

Responses