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Flashback: White House Phone Line for Classified Information Left Unsecured in Hillary Clinton’s Office

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In 2001, when George W. Bush’s transition team began moving into the White House, they encountered a remarkable amount of sloppy housekeeping, missing items, and petty vandalism from the outgoing Clinton team.

The Government Accountability Office chronicled the allegations of damage in a 2001 report to Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA).  The most infamous detail to emerge from this report was the petulant removal of the “W” key from a number of computer keyboards, a little parting gift from the Clinton team that ended up costing taxpayers over $11,000 in repairs. However, another detail that may have received little attention at the time casts a new wrinkle in the recent revelation of Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured private email server during her time as Secretary of State.

As the Hillary Clinton email scandal unfolds, and a growing number of computer experts worry that her secretive private email server jeopardized national security by being less secure than the State Department system she was required by law to use, it’s interesting to note that the report covers what the Clinton gang did to the White House telephone systems on their way out the door — they cut some of the phone lines, vandalized dozens of expensive phone sets, and left obscene messages on the voice mail system.  The section concludes with this little detail: “A stu3 phone in the First Lady’s office was left open with the key in it.

Stu3 phones are secure telephones, required for use when discussing classified information.  This is not the sort of equipment that should be carelessly left open in a vacated office with the security key in it.  The instructions for handling such secure telephones specify that they must be protected as carefully as the classified information they are authorized to transmit.

The Clintons and their staffers don’t seem to have any compunctions about saddling the American people with the costs of their pride and petulance.  This spirit of arrogance and irresponsibility doesn’t inspire confidence that Hillary Clinton was exceedingly cautions when she set up her private email network as Secretary of State.

With all due caution about considering the source, Al-Jazeera reports,”State Department technology experts expressed security concerns that then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using a private email service rather than the government’s fortified and monitored system, but those fears fell on deaf ears,” according to a current employee of the State Department cyber-security team who spoke to them anonymously.  “We told people in her office that it wasn’t a good idea,” the employee said.  “They were so uninterested that I doubt the secretary was ever informed.”


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