Washington is abuzz with stories involving Hillary Clinton and the private Chappaqua email server she used during her tenure as Secretary of State. Note that I did not write, as many mistakenly do, a “secret email server”. The definition of ‘SECRET’ is precise, and involves a server set up and cleared to handle up to the SECRET level of classified information.
Hillary’s server was “private”, not SECRET.
During her press conference Clinton stated that under absolutely no circumstance had she emailed classified information in fact arrogantly stating that she knew what classified was and there is no way that she would transmit classified data.
Hillary made several revealing statements at her 10 March 15 press conference.
CLINTON: “Well, the system we used was set up for President Clinton’s office. And it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”
CLINTON: “So, I think that the, the use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure.”
Secure and certified to hold classified information are two very different things. Also, it may have been secure from a burglar stealing it, but secure from hacking, is not likely.
CLINTON: “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
Hillary Clinton’s statements appear specific to obviously classified documents. These are identified with cover sheets that mark them as:
CONFIDENTIAL: Unauthorized release of which would cause “Damage to National Security”
SECRET: Unauthorized release of which would cause “Serious Damage to National Security”
TOP-SECRET: Unauthorized release of which would cause “Exceptionally Grave Damage to National Security”
In addition to covers sheets, they contain stamps, headers and footers on every page and paragraph to clearly denote the existing classification level. One would expect that Hillary Clinton would know not to transmit that information or receive it on an unclassified server in her home, as that would be a violation of US law.
But there’s another type of classified that is not nearly so obvious as a document that has a stamp on it and a red or blue cover.
Information in an email or a document by itself may not be classified, but if that information is put together with other emails or documents in such a way that the whole of the information exposes/composes CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET or TOP-SECRET information then in aggregate those emails/documents themselves become classified. This USDA White Paper provides a clear discussion on the complexities of protecting classified information.
I challenge Hillary Clinton’s assertion that she in fact knows what classified information is. I spent most of my adult life holding a security clearance and having to deal with the rules, regulations, forms and training involving protection classified information and faced with the dangers and penalties of compromising classified information.
Considering that Hillary Clinton was forced to release over 50,000 emails to the State Department from her private server, was Secretary of State for over four years, and on a daily basis discussed and handled large amounts of CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP-SECRET information, it defies all rational belief that the sum total of those 30,000+ emails would not be in aggregate at least SECRET if not TOP-SECRET.
Given that fact, the classification of Hillary’s server itself would then become classified at the same SECRET or TOP-SECRET level, and every email or document that went in and every one that she sent from it would be tainted by that classification. You can bet that of those 30,000+ emails released to the State Department, some are going to be withheld from the general public because of their sensitive and or classified nature. For example, how many FOIA requests are made to Obama’s Government each year where the responses contain no redactions, or withheld documents declared protected by executive privilege?
What also remains to be seen is how many critical emails Hillary Clinton deleted, destroyed or erased before deciding upon the 30,000+ that she did send to the State Department. Congressman Trey Gowdey stated that there are significant gaps in the timelines of her emails that drives great doubt into her statement that she released all but her private emails. Those would certainly be high candidates for classification.
The bottom line is that in my professional opinion there’s a 100% probability that the sum total of information on that drive is actually SECRET or TOP-SECRET. Given that no claim has been made that it was a classified server set up by the federal government with the associated firewalls, protections, and backups required to protect such information, Hillary Clinton violated the classification requirements of her security clearance and the law.
– It took 4 months, but I’ve been proven correct. Hillary DID Send classified information, hundreds of emails now under IG investigation.