How secret is it? (3)

It’s Sunday, so I didn’t expect to find any news advancing the mind-boggling story of Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server. It was reported last year that Clinton’s top aides were included in the investigation. In today’s New York Post, Paul Sperry adds a twist to the latest reports concerning the highly classified information found on Clinton’s insecure private email arrangement as Secretary of State; this twist involves Clinton’s top aides (as well as Clinton herself, of course):

The FBI is investigating whether members of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle “cut and pasted” material from the government’s classified network so that it could be sent to her private e-mail address, former State Department security officials say.

Clinton and her top aides had access to a Pentagon-run classified network that goes up to the Secret level, as well as a separate system used for Top Secret communications.

The two systems — the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) — are not connected to the unclassified system, known as the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). You cannot e-mail from one system to the other, though you can use NIPRNet to send ­e-mails outside the government.

Somehow, highly classified information from SIPRNet, as well as even the super-secure JWICS, jumped from those closed systems to the open system and turned up in at least 1,340 of Clinton’s home e-mails — including several the CIA earlier this month flagged as containing ultra-secret Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Programs, a subset of SCI.

SAP includes “dark projects,” such as drone operations, while SCI protects intelligence sources and methods.

Fox News reported Friday that at least one of Clinton’s e-mails included sensitive information on spies.

The source of Sperry’s assertion at the top of his article is unclear to me, but it appears to be Raymond Fournier:

“It takes a very conscious effort to move a classified e-mail or cable from the classified systems over to the unsecured open system and then send it to Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account,” said Raymond Fournier, a veteran Diplomatic Security Service special agent. “That’s no less than a two-conscious-step process.”

He says it’s clear from some of the classified e-mails made public that someone on Clinton’s staff essentially “cut and pasted” content from classified cables into the messages sent to her. The classified markings are gone, but the content is classified at the highest levels — and so sensitive in nature that “it would have been obvious to Clinton.” Most likely the information was, in turn, e-mailed to her via NIPRNet.

To work around the closed, classified systems, which are accessible only by secure desktop workstations whose hard drives must be removed and stored overnight in a safe, Clinton’s staff would have simply retyped classified information from the systems into the non-classified system or taken a screen shot of the classified document, Fournier said. “Either way, it’s totally illegal.”

The source of Sperry’s assertions regarding the FBI investigation remains unclear to me:

FBI agents are zeroing in on three of Clinton’s top department aides. Most of the Clinton e-mails deemed classified by intelligence agency reviewers were sent to her by her chief of staff Cheryl Mills or deputy chiefs Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan.

Interested readers will want to check out the whole thing here.