FBI Investigates Whether Hillary Clinton Shared Secure Passwords With Aides

Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'Get Out The Vote' rally at the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History on February 29, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A source close to the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton tells Fox News that investigators are asking whether she shared highly secure State Department network passwords with her aides.

That would be an incredible violation of security protocols. For that matter, it could get executives at a mid-level private-sector company that had nothing to do with national security fired.

As Fox’s source put it, if Clinton was “allowing other people to use her passwords, that is a big problem.”

The Fox report runs down the various scenarios for how classified documents could have jumped across the “air gap” separating secure intelligence networks from unsecure systems, such as Clinton’s secret email server. There is no way to directly transmit such documents outside the secure network, so they had to be copied manually – using methods ranging from copying secure files onto portable media, such as a thumb drive, to manually re-typing them into emails sent to ClintonEmail.com, or even snapping pictures of the computer screens in secure rooms with a cell phone.

Needless to say, the intelligence community strongly disapproves of every method Clinton could have used to violate the air gap. The pertinent question is whether Clinton did it personally, and all available evidence indicates the answer is “no.”

As Clinton herself has been pointing out in her defense, she isn’t the originator of the email chains containing most of the classified information found on her sever. Also, the Clinton emails released to the public portray her as a total computer illiterate, unable to perform the most simple tasks without assistance from her aides. She wasn’t the one sitting in those secure rooms snapping pictures of the screens with her iPhone, or illegally copying secure files onto thumb drives, in clear violation of the sworn documents she signed as Secretary of State.

Ironically, Clinton’s “defense” might become part of her undoing, because it doesn’t seem likely her aides had the passwords necessary to procure this classified information. Not that many top aides appear in her email chains, so it seems unlikely the FBI would need an extensive investigation to determine if they were properly issued passwords to all of the relevant computer networks.

The Fox report mentions Clinton aide Jake Sullivan as a “pivotal” figure, a name appearing on most of the classified material forwarded through Clinton’s server. It shouldn’t take long to determine if Sullivan was issued passwords for all of the systems he could have gotten that material from.

The Fox report states it “remains unclear who had access to which computers and devices used by Clinton while she was Secretary of State and where exactly they were located at the time of the email correspondence.” That information should not be “unclear.” There are mom-and-pop contractors who track the movement of their tools more carefully than Hillary Clinton’s State Department tracked its secure devices.

Also, Fox’s intelligence source said the FBI investigation has been progressing in “fits and starts,” which doesn’t jibe with Team Clinton’s constant assurances that they’re giving the Bureau their full cooperation. What could be more important that moving swiftly on an investigation into the front-running presidential candidate for one of the two major political parties in the United States?

Another interesting tidbit from Fox News: the State Department says it cannot alter the security clearance levels of Clinton’s aides without clearance from the FBI, because “agents plan to directly question individuals about their handling of the emails containing classified information, and they will need active clearances to be questioned.”

That makes sense, but it’s also disturbing to think people who may be active security risks to the United States are allowed to keep security clearances throughout this long investigation. That’s the opposite of how things should work in a tight security environment.


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