For Hillary Clinton’s State department and other agencies in the Administration to become so “careless” with the classified document on that server? One thing that is highly obvious for anybody who knows the least bit about classified document control, or any document control is that in order for this to happen at all the various protocols and systems for handling high level information had to essentially dismantled.
A friend who works in the government explains it like this:
Normally, we work on 3 systems: the unclassified system, which houses everything from SBU (sensitive but unclassified) from State Department to LES (law enforcement sensitive) to U//FOUO (unclass/for official use only). SIPR (mid-side / red), which is classified up to and including SECRET. And high side, or JWICS, or TFIN, or yellow (every agency has a different name for it) which is cleared for TOP SECRET and certain SCI compartments. This includes signals intelligence, HUMINT, etc.
Each system is separate – or airgapped – which means it’s unconnected to the others. The systems are isolated from one another. If you want to move information from one system to another, people and mechanisms exist for you to do so. Generally to move from higher to lower, a special security access officer checks the information you want to move to avoid data spills.
Some of what Hillary’s emails contained is TS and should have been kept on yellow. The only way to get it to the low side is to ask a security officer to transfer it, which would have involved massive wrongdoing on the security officer’s part, or to print it out, scan it into an unclassified scanner and down to the green side.
Some of the other information, the special access programs, one can’t even get on yellow. At my last agency, I had to go into a separate SCIF, badge in, sign in electronically, go into a special room to a standalone special computer that connected to the specific system, log into that system, and read the information. No notes allowed. No printing. No nothing. Every report you pull up is monitored by a security officer.
Do you know the actual EFFORT needed to get that information to the low side???? Either copying everything by hand or somehow printing it out and ensuring the security officer didn’t pay attention.
There’s no way they didn’t know. Every paragraph on those reports is portion marked. Every page is marked with the classification both at the header and footer in big, red letters. Ray Charles could see the information was classified and didn’t belong on the low side.
The amount of effort and specific steps it would take to bring that information down to the low side precludes this being classified as negligence. Negligence is unintentional. This is severe elitism. Hillary wanted it on he low side, and she got it. There was one email, IIRC, in which she testily demanded of her staff, “Just email it to me.” I don’t know what she was referring to, but the exchange sounded like they were trying to give her some information, and she was too busy to be briefed and demanded it was just emailed to her. Maybe it was classified info, and maybe it wasn’t, but the exchange gave me the sense that whatever Queen Hillary wanted, she got.
This is as much on her as on the staffers, who also signed official agreements that detail what will happen if they disclosed classified information. I guarantee you she didn’t take the steps necessary to have the information transferred herself!
As SECSTATE, she was also briefed the PDB every day. That’s the Presidential Daily Brief – the book that goes to POTUS and other members of the national security team. There’s no classification limit on those. Did she discuss the information she was briefed on the PDB in those low-side emails??
So yeah, this is bad. Really bad. Given the effort it takes to spill that data on the low side, I cannot imagine how Comey could claim this was negligence. It wasn’t.
A former colleague who just retired from the FBI last year says she was heartbroken by this. Comey is a good man, she confirmed yesterday. I got that sense as well. What the hell did they threaten him with to make him publicly destroy his own reputation and the reputation of the Bureau in that way. Both he and Loretta Lynch came up as prosecutors together. Both had reputations as hardass prosecutors in New York. What could possibly been held over their heads?
I’m going to note that Mr. Comey said that at least eight document of the highest level were found on that server.
This is stuff so sensitive that even seeing it requires you to be able to access the information from a computer that doesn’t even connect to any other network, has locked and keyed folders, is monitored when in use and is only accessible from a keyed room. The only way such information could get on the SecState’s server is deliberate dismantling of the document protocols. I also suspect that because of the various interested parties in government that it would take a higher authority than the SECSTATE to do that. Which leaves only the POTUS. Which may be why Comey blinked.
FBI Director Comey indicted Hillary Clinton in the court of public opinion by laying out before the TV cameras, step by step, her gross negligence in handling classified material, including Top Secret information that would compromise our national security if made accessible to our enemies. He told us Clinton sent classified information over servers not as safe as a simple gmail account. He told us it is impossible for the FBI to ascertain what foreign hostile actors may have accessed her account, but there is good evidence to believe that the information was hacked.
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 e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside 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.
He told us that it is a federal felony “to mishandle classified information …in a grossly negligent way.”
He told us a second statute makes “it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”
He then described in clear, specific detail how Sect. of State Clinton knowingly removed classified information from appropriate systems and storage facilities. He concluded “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
According to former New York Mayor Giuliani the legal definition of gross negligence is to be extremely careless.
The definition of gross negligence under the law is extreme carelessness…the FBI clearly found a direct violation of 18 United States code section 793 which does not require intent — it requires only gross negligence in the handling of anything relating to the national defense. …It’s the first definition that comes up in the law dictionary…It’s the definition the judges give to juries when they charge injuries on gross negligence. Negligence equals carelessness. Gross negligence equals extreme carelessness. So that is a clear absolutely unassailable violation of 18 United States Code, section 793, which is not a minor statute, it carries ten years in prison.
And then, in an act of great cynicism, FBI Director Comey looked the American people directly in the eye and told us that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against Hillary Clinton.
His build up as to why the FBI decided to recommend no criminal charges:
In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. … we frequently … engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence.
This is the tell: “We …engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate.”
Comey is telling us he spoke to the Obama DOJ about “what resolution may be appropriate.” It is obvious he was told that no criminal charges would be brought against Hillary Clinton. DOJ refused to even charge her on the misdemeanor level that she did “knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”
Unlike the men we honored the day before, on July 4th, who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to defend liberty and the rule of law, FBI Director Comey was not willing to put anything on the line. He wanted us to know Hillary was guilty as hell. But he was not willing to pit the FBI against Obama’s DOJ, so he let the guilty walk free without even at attempt at insisting she be charged.
The fact is that it’s well known that the Administration has been playing hard and fast with handling data and documents right from the start when Obama wanted to use his personal Blackberry. Since that time it seem like the majority of scandals from this very scandal ridden Administration involve lost documents one way or another. Along with the use of personal and hidden email accounts for government business. So if you follow this evidence trail where it leads, you have to start from the top, which, any number of reasons isn’t going to happen.
In the end the damage caused by the data misuse at State may never be known. Documents are classified for only a few reasons. In the old days, many things were classified because of military necessity during wartime or because it involved dangerous military technologies. Sort of like this. See the classification notice on top.
Or the information might involve military operational doctrine.
The most important classification involve the collection of intelligence about potential adversaries and even friendly nations. The lowest level is stuff like this,
As you go higher and deeper into the intent of foreign countries the situation gets fraught with danger as the information gets more important. In many cases release of the information can be embarrassing to the US, the other nation, or the individuals involved. In other cases the US may not want even a friendly nation to know that the US possesses a certain kind of information. That may include economic as well as military information. At the highest level the source of the information may be put at risk in one way or another if the information becomes known.
In the world of diplomacy and spies a certain level of trust has to exist. The people sharing what they know, for whatever reasons, need to know that you take what they say with a degree of confidentiality. What the Administration has done is break that trust. What happens in the future of American diplomacy and intelligence gathering in a world fraught with dangers and bad actors only time will tell.
That’s why the email issue is HUGE. It involves the fundamental trust of nations working with us and our ability to discover what other nations may not want us to know. It also puts our intelligence and diplomatic people at risk. Elint and spy satellites can only get you so much. In the end you have to have people in the middle, inside looking for the things between people’s ears. Which requires trust. Trust that what you are told won’t show up with your name on it across the media. Trust that some friend of the Administration won’t come along and use what you said to blackmail you. Trust that the stuff you talk about will remain secret. That’s the trust that the Administration has willfully dismantled.