Inspector General: Clinton Emails Contain Special Access Material Above The Top Secret Level

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziFox News and NBC are reporting that Congress has been informed that Hillary Clinton’s unsecure home server contained information classified at levels higher than previously known, including classified Top Secret/Special Access. That would represent some of the most sensitive information to U.S. intelligence. I have held a TSSCI clearance since the Reagan Administration and I am again astonished by the remarkably bad judgment in the use of this server.   In dealing with this type of information, it is generally restricted to SCIF and other highly restrictive access rules.  Indeed, the limitations impose restrictions that have many of us grumbling constantly about the time and travel needed to deal with such documents in a safe and secure manner.  CNN is reporting that “several dozen” new emails have been identified at the high classification level.

The Special Access material does not appear to be the same two Top Secret emails identified earlier among the hundreds of classified emails found on the server.

Charles McCullough, the intelligence community’s inspector general, said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that he has received sworn declarations that cover “several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP information.”

Now here is the kicker. NBC says that one official involved in the investigation said that the special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails.

Clinton has insisted that “I never sent classified material on my email, and I never received any that was marked classified.” The key of this spin is again the word “marked.” I have previously discussed why that explanation is less than compelling, particularly for anyone who has handled sensitive or classified material. As I discussed earlier, virtually anything coming out of the office of the Secretary of State would be considered classified as a matter of course. I have had a TS/SCI clearance since Reagan due to my national security work and have lived under the restrictions imposed on email and other systems. The defense is that this material was not technically classified at the time that it was sent. Thus it was not “classified” information. The problem is that it was not reviewed and classified because it was kept out of the State Department system. Moreover, most high-level communications are treated as classified and only individually marked as classified when there is a request for disclosure. You do not generate material as the Secretary of State and assume that it is unclassified. You are supposed to assume and treat it as presumptively classified. Otherwise, there would be massive exposure of classified material and willful blindness as to the implications of the actions of persons disregarding precautions. For example, there is not a person standing next to the President with a classification stamp in the Oval Office. However, those communications are deemed as presumptively classified and are not disclosed absent review. Under the same logic, the President could use a personal email system because his text messages by definition are not marked as classified. This is the whole reason that Clinton and others were told to use the protected email system run by the State Department. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to secure such systems.

The fact that an email was not marked classified could be a defense to a criminal charge but it does nothing to address horrendous judgment shown in using a private email system exclusively as one of the top government officials (and a chief target of foreign intelligence).

The presence of the highest classified material on the server would magnify the scandal further for Clinton, who has run on her experience and judgment in the national security area.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon responded to the story with the same point that nothing was actually marked classified: “This is the same interagency dispute that has been playing out for months, and it does not change the fact that these emails were not classified at the time they were sent or received. It is alarming that the intelligence community IG, working with Republicans in Congress, continues to selectively leak materials in order to resurface the same allegations and try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

118 thoughts on “Inspector General: Clinton Emails Contain Special Access Material Above The Top Secret Level”

  1. “According to Catherine Herridge, the FBI has recovered the deleted emails.

    Did not know that.

    A fox news tweet from January 21. I don’t know why it didn’t make headlines.”

    – Anonymous

  2. Lisa N. That’s quite a list. Why am I not surprised?

    These are world class criminals we’re talking about. I’m telling you that politics attracts more HARD CORE criminals than any other ‘legitimate’ profession. When are people going to wake up to this fact? When are their ‘just following orders’ minions going to stop enabling these psychopaths because in my opinion THEY are the ones we should really be blaming. These people couldn’t possibly get away with their disgusting crimes without a whole network of people doing their bidding. As your list indicates these well paid boot lickers aren’t exactly in a ‘safe space’.

  3. John, “The only remaining question is whether any of them will go to jail.”

    Politics attracts more criminals than any other profession for the simple fact that being a politician keeps them out of prison’ and the higher they are in the hierarchy the more true that is. At the higher levels they have so many “order followers” and lawyers (professional liars) who protect them the consequences of their crimes.

  4. @bam bam “Maybe this is what Bernie the Bolshevik means, when he flaps his hands in the air, spittle flying, and cries, WE NEED A REVOLUTION???”

    Good one bam bam. I frickin’ hate Bernie Sanders.

    Bernie Sanders’ Position On Vaccination Is One Thing He & Republicans Actually Agree On!

    Yes, Bernie loves the 2nd Amendment which is great, but forget the right to medical informed consent. He is one confused individual.

  5. If Obama orders Comey and Lynch to ignore or destroy evidence, or to “re-interpret” the law and not indict

    Hillary Clinton, the Congress will have a duty to impeach the entire DOJ for high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    But then, Congress had reason to impeach Obama and the Supreme Court and it did nothing.

    Negligence, dereliction and cowardice are the traits of the Repubocrats and Demolicans in Congress.

    The “ruling class” knows which side its bread is buttered on.


    Article 2, Section 4

    “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on

    Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  6. New York Post:

    “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.

    “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.”

    Clinton’s defense – that she never received anything marked classified – is true if you believe that she didn’t notice that at least some of the information in the emails were top secret. How could she not have realized that this was incredibly sensitive information?

    Top Secret/SCI e-mails received by Clinton include a 2012 staff ­e-mail sent to the then-secretary containing investigative data about Benghazi terrorist suspects wanted by the FBI and sourcing a regional security officer. They also include a 2011 message from Clinton’s top aides that contains military intelligence from United States Africa Command gleaned from satellite images of troop movements in Libya, along with the travel and protection plans for Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was later killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi.

    “Receiving Top Secret SAP intelligence outside secure channels is a mortal sin,” said Chris Farrell, director of investigations for Judicial Watch, the Washington-based public law firm that has successfully sued State for Clinton’s e-mails.

    “A regular government employee would be crucified, and they are, routinely,” added Farrell, who as a former Army counterintelligence agent investigated such violations.

    It would not surprise me if Hillary Clinton’s attorneys weren’t already talking to prosecutors about a plea deal. Based on what we know, it’s ridiculous for Clinton to continue to insist she’s innocent. The evidence is overwhelming, And the same goes for Clinton aides Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan. They’re all complicit.

    The only remaining question is whether any of them will go to jail.”

  7. New York Post –

    “Clinton originally denied that any of her emails contained classified information, but soon abandoned that claim. So far, 150 emails containing classified information have been identified on her server, including two that included information determined to be Top Secret.

    She then fell back on the claim that none of the emails in question was “marked classified” at the time she was dealing with them. The marking is not what makes the material classified; it’s the nature of the information itself. As secretary of state, Clinton knew this, and in fact she would have been re-briefed annually on this point as a condition of maintaining her clearance to access classified information.

    Then there’s location. Clinton knowingly set up her email system to route 100 percent of her emails to and through her unsecured server (including keeping copies stored on the server). She knowingly removed such documents and materials from authorized locations (her authorized devices and secure government networks) to an unauthorized location (her server).

    Two examples demonstrate this point.

    When Clinton would draft an email based on classified information, she was drafting that email on an authorized Blackberry, iPad or computer. But when she hit “send,” that email was knowingly routed to her unsecured server — an unauthorized location — for both storage and transfer.

    Additionally, when Clinton moved the server to Platte River Networks (a private company) in June 2013, and then again when she transferred the contents of the server to her private lawyers in 2014, the classified materials were in each instance again removed to another unsecured location.

    Next we have the lack of proper authority to move or hold classified information somewhere, i.e., the “unauthorized location.”

    While it’s possible for a private residence to be an “authorized” location, and it’s also possible for non-government servers and networks to be “authorized” to house and transfer classified materials, there are specific and stringent requirements to achieve such status. Simply being secretary of state didn’t allow Clinton to authorize herself to deviate from the requirements of retaining and transmitting classified documents, materials and information.

    There is no known evidence that her arrangement to use the private email server in her home was undertaken with proper authority.

    Finally, there’s the intent to “retain” the classified documents or materials at an unauthorized location.

    The very purpose of Clinton’s server was to intentionally retain documents and materials — all emails and attachments — on the server in her house, including classified materials.

    The intent required is only to undertake the action, i.e., to retain the classified documents and materials in the unauthorized fashion addressed in this statute. That’s it.

    It borders on inconceivable that Clinton didn’t know that the emails she received, and more obviously, the emails that she created, stored and sent with the server, would contain classified information.

    Simply put, Mrs. Clinton is already in just as bad — or worse — of a legal situation than Petraeus faced.”

  8. PCS,

    That’s the LEVEL playing field without any tilt on any axis;

    Unless the Founders established government of the parasites, by the parasites, for the parasites.

    Let me check.

    Nope. It says Americans have the right to private property and that if said private property is taken by the government, compensation must be provided. Every penny taken for any and all forms of redistribution must be reimbursed to the taxpayers. Redistribution of wealth is impossible under the U.S. Constitution.

    Oops. Looks like welfare, affirmative action and the entire redistributive welfare state is void and must be rescinded.

    The parasites fought the War on Poverty for $22 trillion over 5 decades.

    Payback’s a —–!

  9. BFM
    “Perhaps you should try politics…”

    Forgot to mention I have a weak stomach as well.

    But you’re right, and you forgot to mention the gold-standard health coverage for life. Hmmm, maybe I should.

  10. Phutch,

    “RB, would you mind letting us in on what was in these email? Since it had nothing to do with national security and you seem to know its contents.”

    Looks the Hills did some serious damage according to this article:

    “If true, the latest revelation about Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail system goes way beyond “smoking gun.” It reaches the level of full core meltdown when it comes to US national security and the safety of American intel sources. Fox News reporters Catherine Herridge report that the Inspector General has noted that information in one or more e-mails contained information classified as “HCS-O,” denoting extraordinarily sensitive material that could put a human intel source at high risk if exposed:

    At least one of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server contained extremely sensitive information identified by an intelligence agency as “HCS-O,” which is the code used for reporting on human intelligence sources in ongoing operations, according to two sources not authorized to speak on the record.”

    Ooo! “…human intelligence sources in ongoing operations,…”

    That can’t be good, Hills.

    I hope they’re warming up that prison cell.

  11. stevegroen,
    I look horrible in cashmere and I have weak ankles. Plus I dislocated a shoulder the last time I got into a drunken brawl. What a crew!

    1. “I look horrible in cashmere and I have weak ankles. Plus I dislocated a shoulder the last time I got into a drunken brawl. What a crew!”

      Perhaps you should try politics. No heavy lifting, you don’t have to know much, and the pay is not bad for about 150 days a year. Plus, when you are not working you can be tour guide, a tutor, or a barista – or something.

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