The Hillary Clinton era was a time of much “consternation” for State Department technical staff and security experts, to borrow a word used in today’s Politico article about Clinton aides pushing for the ability to view secret and top-secret material on their personal electronic devices:
The newly disclosed documents show that less than two weeks after Clinton assumed her post, several top-level security officials exchanged a series of messages with the subject line: “PDAs for S and S Staff.” “S” is a State Department abbreviation for the secretary and his or her office.
Much of the text of the emails was deleted from copies the State Department released recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. However, the messages show that a request for portable devices that could handle classified information seemed to cause some consternation among the security personnel.
“On the off chance that S [the secretary’s] staff continues to push for S or TS-capable PDAs …” Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell wrote to State’s Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure Donald Reid on February 2, 2009, copying in Assistant Director of Diplomatic Security for Domestic Operations Patrick Donovan.
The rest of that sentence was deleted by the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act personnel under an exemption for internal deliberations, but in the same message, Boswell asked for “a briefing on what we know.”
Reid passed the query on to another official, whose name was redacted. That official suggested “knowledge on the exact device” involved would put them in a better position to brief Boswell on the situation.
“Stay in the loop,” Reid advised his unidentified colleague.
“On the off chance” that Clinton’s people kept pushing for PDA access…? And we’re not allowed to see the rest of the sentence? It doesn’t sound like the Clinton gang’s demand for Top Secret in their pockets went over very well. Did someone explain to them that inconveniently requiring the use of highly secure facilities to view secret material is the point of having such designations?
Then again, who knows what was officially approved during Clinton’s tenure? The same Politico article notes that the State Department still refuses to confirm whether anyone formally signed off on Clinton’s homebrew server. The latest load of Clinton mail to meet the public eye still doesn’t “definitively reveal that anyone at State formally approved Clinton’s account or made an assessment of potential security risks posed by her using the family server, housed at the time at the Chappaqua, N.Y., home she shares with President Bill Clinton.” (Or maybe it wasn’t housed there…)
Feel your breast swell with confidence that our national security is in the best of hands, as you contemplate this response from State Department spokesman Mark Toner about whether Clinton’s server was officially approved: “My unsatisfactory but necessary answer to that is, again, that’s not our role in this process to really answer that question publicly; that there are reviews and investigations underway that will look at possibly some of these issues. I’m not going to answer that question. I’m not going to litigate that question from the podium.”
While we wait for the FBI to tell us whether anyone in the Obama Administration signed off on Clinton’s unprecedented arrangements, let’s join Fox News and check in with the State Department’s Geek Squad to see if anyone in the information technology department knew what sort of information technology the Secretary of State was using:
Members of the State Department’s information technology staff were among those who were unaware that Hillary Clinton was using a private email address during her time as secretary of state, the latest release of messages from Clinton’s private server revealed late Monday.
In one email, dated February 27, 2010, an IT worker on the State Department’s computer “help desk” sends a message to Clinton’s email address inquiring about why one of Clinton’s correspondents has been getting a “fatal error” when she tries to send messages to the secretary of state.
Clinton forwarded the email to her top aide, Huma Abedin, asking “Do you know what this is [sic]”. Abedin responds, “Ur [sic] email must be back up!!” and explains that a woman named Judith tried to send Clinton an email and called the department’s IT team when the message was returned to her.
“They had no idea it was YOU,” Abedin writes to Clinton, “just some random address so they emailed. Sorry about that. But regardless, means ur [sic] email must be back!”
Fox News also points out that Clinton “seemed puzzled by basic technology” in many of her email exchanges – as in, she needed help to charge the Apple tablet she wasn’t supposed to be using, couldn’t run basic software updates without help, and couldn’t tell if she had a wi-fi connection or not. That’s just the kind of technical competence we should be looking for in a Secretary of State who unilaterally decided to overrule the intelligence community’s classification system, and now wants to be President!
A source within the intelligence community memorable complained about “a certain nonchalance at Mrs. Clinton’s State Department” the other day. It’s hard to get more nonchalant than aides wanting to view Top Secret documents on their tablets and cell phones, or an IT department that doesn’t know how Madame Secretary’s email is delivered.
Just imagine what’s in the 30,000-plus emails Clinton deleted before investigators, Congress, and the American people could see them, if the stuff she eventually decided to hand over is this alarming and embarrassing.