Investor’s Business Daily published a long article on Tuesday night, collecting the opinions of current and former intelligence officials about the national security threat posed by Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
It feels like a floodgate bursting open. These experts are absolutely beside themselves over Clinton’s irresponsible conduct as Secretary of State. Former NSA officer John Schindler called it “a counterintelligence disaster of truly epic proportions.”
“She may have deleted 30,000 emails before turning her files over to the State Department,” observed former U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave, “but that doesn’t mean that the Russians and the Chinese don’t have them.”
Ever since Clinton began destroying subpoenaed evidence and refusing to hand her server over for analysis, it’s been a running joke among Internet wags that if Congress wants to see her email, they should ask the Russians and Chinese for copies.
But that’s not really a joke. The intelligence community has to assume, based on the weak security of Clinton’s secret server — slipshod even by private corporate standards — that every piece of sensitive information she ever handled has been compromised. Her server was called “clintonemail.com” — it was easy to find. Her email was completely unencrypted for three months after she became Secretary of State.
“It’s a disaster for U.S. policy. It’s a huge boon for the former KGB and the Iranians,” said a veteran intelligence officer who spoke to IBD anonymously. The officer found Clinton’s claims that she never handled classified information through her private server laughable — “how the hell could she do her job without it?”
Also, as Schindler pointed out to IBD, we have to assume there was “bleed-over” into her private email as well, since we’ve discovered instances of Clinton mistakenly replying to official messages as if they were personal correspondence.
The IBD piece was most likely put together before news broke about Russian hackers penetrating White House systems; one suspects these intelligence experts are even more apprehensive about the risks Clinton took in light of those developments. There is some discussion in the Investors’ Business Daily piece about how foreign spies might have used Clinton’s vulnerable server as a launching pad for attacks on other government systems. The sort of “spear phishing” attack used to get into the White House system would be especially potent if malware-laced emails were ostensibly coming from the Secretary of State.
“It would be possible for a hostile service to use the server as a platform to deliver other malware to other targets of their choosing, based on their knowledge of whom the former secretary and president were communicating with,” said Paul Joyal, the former director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
A senior former Defense Department official seconded that notion: “If they’re getting into her server, they’re not just extracting stuff. They’re going to do things that could be planted from other sources.”
Most of these experts called for the sort of extensive independent analysis of her server that Clinton has adamantly refused to allow — in fact, she’s still tampering with the machine, as it became known last week that she deleted everything she didn’t decide to turn over to the State Department. Given her manipulation of the data, it might already be impossible to learn everything counterintelligence experts need to assess the possible penetration of the system. (You can bet she did a lot more to destroy the emails she doesn’t want security experts, Congress, or the American people to see than merely click the “Delete” buttons in her email program.)
“Why Clinton hasn’t offered to turn over the server to the FBI, or why the FBI has not seized it to assess the damage to national security, is unclear,” IBD writes.
Is it? There are a lot of questions swirling around this debacle, including the extent to which Hillary Clinton jeopardized national security, but her motivation really isn’t one of them. There’s nothing mysterious or unprecedented about the Obama Administration’s belief that Democrat royalty is above the law, either. Did anyone seriously expect agents of this politicized Justice Department to raid Hillary’s mansion in Chappaqua and seize that computer?