The Associated Press cites security experts who say Hillary Clinton’s illicit and unprotected email network likely exposed the identity of hidden U.S. intelligence personnel, such as CIA officials.
In fact, even if hackers and foreign intelligence agencies did not already have those the intelligence officials scoped out, the very investigation Clinton prompted by disobeying State Department rules and federal transparency laws may have helped identify once-hidden intelligence personnel. According to the Associated Press:
At least 47 of the emails contain the notation “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” which indicates the material referred to CIA personnel or matters related to the agency. And because both Clinton’s server and the State Department systems were vulnerable to hacking, the perpetrators could have those original emails, and now the publicly released, redacted versions showing exactly which sections refer to CIA personnel.
“Start with the entirely plausible view that foreign intelligence services discovered and rifled Hillary Clinton’s server,” said Stewart Baker, a Washington lawyer who spent more than three years as an assistant secretary of the Homeland Security Department and is former legal counsel for the National Security Agency.
If so, those infiltrators would have copies of all her emails with the names not flagged as being linked to the agency.
In the process of publicly releasing the emails, however, classification experts seem to have inadvertently provided a key to anyone who has the originals. By redacting names associated with the CIA and using the “B3 CIA PERS/ORG” exemption as the reason, “Presto — the CIA names just fall off the page,” Baker said.
This national story was broken June 2 by Breitbart News.
The AP received no comment from the CIA, citing only vague assurances from an unnamed, unspecified “U.S. official” that the risk of exposing CIA personnel in this way is “theoretical, and probably remains so at this time.”
Another exculpatory quote comes from Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, who theorized that names revealed by Clinton’s emails might be analysts or administrative personnel, rather than agents, so he does not think “there’s any particular vulnerability here.”
That did not stop Democrats from having a years-long, eye-rolling, foaming-at-the-mouth freak-out over the “exposure” of non-agent Valerie Plame, which culminated in a Hollywood movie.
Now Democrats are very eager to wave off the potential exposure of dozens of other Plames – and maybe even real field agents – as no big deal because a Democrat presidential candidate did it for real.
There is good reason to think the 47 personnel named in those Clinton emails were not all paper-pushers. For example, we know for a fact that one of them was a defense attache in Malta. Another Clinton email containing numerous redacted names came from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Another fact is that at least one Clinton email contained information specifically designated as relevant to “clandestine HUMINT operations and methods that are not intended for dissemination outside of the originating agency.” In other words, most likely not some low-level analyst with “CIA guy” unwisely listed on his Facebook page.