Hillary’s Office Forbid Employees From Using Personal Email, Citing Security Risk

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Fox News dropped the latest bombshell in the Hillary email scandal last night — at the exact moment media drones were receiving their latest instructions from the Democrat Party to start whining that voters don’t really care about the story:

An internal 2011 State Department cable, obtained by Fox News, shows that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office told employees not to use personal email for security reasons — while at the same time, Clinton conducted all government business on a private account.

Sent to diplomatic and consular staff in June 2011, the unclassified cable, bearing Clinton’s electronic signature,  made clear to employees they were expected to “avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.” The message also said employees should not “auto-forward Department email to personal email accounts which is prohibited by Department policy.”

The cable underscores that government policy strongly discouraged officials from using personal email and violators faced disciplinary action, even though Clinton for years relied exclusively on hers – and her own server — to conduct official business. The White House, without condemning Clinton’s activities, has made clear that employees were urged to use government accounts.

The 2011 cable, bearing the subject line “Securing Personal E-mail Accounts,” told employees to secure personal/home email addresses, given increased targeting of government employees by “online adversaries.” It also emphasized that these personal accounts should never be used for government business and cited department procedures which prohibit the practices.

The cited section from the Foreign Affairs Manual states: “It is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized AIS [the authorized department information system] which has the proper level of security control to provide nonrepudiation, authentication and encryption, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information. … Employees should be aware that transmissions from the Department’s OpenNet to and from non-U.S. Government Internet addresses, and other .gov or .mil addresses, unless specifically directed through an approved secure means, traverse the Internet unencrypted.”

So yes, loyal media hacks, Hillary has been caught red-handed signing off on a State Department cable that makes it explicitly clear she knew exactly what risks with national security she was taking, and what transparency laws she was violating, by running her own off-the-books private mail server. A copy of the cable Fox News describes would almost certainly have been sent to the illegal server Hillary was running. Sorry, kids, but you’re not going to be able to follow your Party’s instructions to stop talking about the story until the whole thing blows over.

That might not have flown anyway, because no matter how easily distracted the Low Information Voters might be, they still remember you media types going absolutely berserk with stories of very little interest to them. Nobody in the media cared that voters were not much interested in every Republican’s opinion of Scott Walker’s opinion of Rudy Giuliani’s opinion of Barack Obama’s opinion of America, but we got wall-to-wall zone-flooding coverage for a week.

Voters hardly thought the Facebook musings of an obscure congressional staffer about the wardrobe choices of the Obama daughters were an important story, but the hundred-hour media feeding frenzy over that bit of trivia ended with reporters digging through Elizabeth Lauten’s college newspaper columns and stalking her parents. Lauten ultimately lost her job.

Apparently she would have been fine if she’d done something minor, such as jeopardizing national security with a scheme to evade federal transparency laws for four years. That would have been a brief story that ended with the media loudly declaring further coverage was unnecessary because they’re pretty sure it wouldn’t determine the outcome of the 2016 presidential race all by itself.

So let me refocus you, Democrats-with-bylines: we’ve got what you folks like to call “smoking gun” proof that Hillary absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt knew that her private email server was dangerous and wrong. It doesn’t matter that you really love her, really hate some of the people who will run against her in 2016, or think the American people gave the Clintons some kind of unwritten warrant to break any law they pleased, in perpetuity, by re-electing Bill. This story would be bad enough if the Day One spin about Hillary being a confused old lady who doesn’t understand email had held up. It didn’t.

In fact, we’ve reached the point where State Department officials might have committed perjury to protect Hillary, because they repeatedly answered Freedom of Information Act requests and congressional subpoenas by claiming her correspondence didn’t exist, when they knew damn well it was sitting on the private server she created to evade FOIA requests and subpoenas. This is a massive Obama Administration scandal, not just a personal whoopsie from Grandma Clinton, as she’s been styling herself lately.

As for just how dangerous Hillary’s homebrew server was, Gawker ran a lengthy post on Thursday breaking down its potential security vulnerabilities, and it’s downright terrifying.

One of the servers supporting the “clintonemail.com” domain is hosted by a web firm in the British Virgin Islands “known for monetizing expired domain names and spam.” The login page is an exposed World Wide Web target that could be hit from any machine on the planet… and as of this week, it had an invalid SSL certificate, which makes it potentially vulnerable to spoofing and interception tricks (i.e. pirate computers pretending to be “clintonemail.com” and fooling Hillary, or the aides she included in her scheme, into revealing their user names and passwords.) The bad SSL setup also makes Hillary’s shadow mail system vulnerable to the Heartbleed security flaw, which could have provided a back door for hackers to raid the server’s memory.

The system also has a Web access interface that its designers didn’t block off very carefully, a potential access route for unauthorized access that offers a Microsoft Outlook interface which has been updated over the years to address at least five significant security vulnerabilities. Such interfaces are also, according to one expert interviewed by Gawker, vulnerable to the kind of “brute force” password-guessing assault that “foreign militaries are very good at trying a lot.” Foreign intelligence operations are also practiced with more subtle hacking techniques that even the State Department’s system struggles to repel; the Gawker panel concluded Hillary’s homebrew server was far more vulnerable.

We have no idea what foreign governments might have harvested from Hillary’s mail system. We don’t know how many subpoena-responsive emails she’s illegally deleted over the years. We don’t know what percentage of her correspondence she handed over to the State Department after they chased her down and asked for it, following her departure from office. The proper journalistic response to such enormous and troubling unknowns is to find the answers, not declare the whole mess an inscrutable mystery that voters surely won’t care about because it can’t be wrapped up in a neat little package by this Sunday at the latest.

This is the same media that was, just yesterday, trying to spin up a storyline that cast Governor Scott Walker as a “coward” because he refused to answer their gotcha questions about trivialities. It has now gone five solid days without asking Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat politician, a single question about a rapidly expanding scandal with both legal and national-security implications.

When an enterprising correspondent for TMZ actually dared to approach Her Regal Majesty with a question, which she refused to answer, the rest of the media responded not with stories about how Clinton was a coward and marveling at how shady she looks by dodging questions on a major issue, but by savaging TMZ for its unspeakable presumption.

Give the voters a little of that “context” and “narrative” you’re normally so obsessed with, media – say, the “context” of how any intelligence expert worth his salt would conclude Hillary has been compromised by foreign agents given what we know, and don’t know, about her email system at this point, or the “narrative” of how frequently Hillary Clinton has acted to evade oversight and squash investigations over the years – and they’ll “care” about this story.

You can start with the very simple, very easily explained, absolutely vital piece of information Fox News just put on the table for you: Hillary Clinton knew she was acting contrary to the standards of the very sensitive department she headed. That’s not an opinion – it’s a hard, cold fact.