Chairman Jason Chaffetz: FBI Gave Me Hillary Docs Even I Don’t Have Security Clearance to Read

Chuck Burton/AP

The chairman of the House’s watchdog committee on the MSNBC program Morning Joe said the Federal Bureau of Investigation delivered documents to him regarding their investigation of Hillary R. Clinton that contained information so critical to national security that they could not be read.

“It’s so sensitive, so classified that I, as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, don’t have the high level of clearance to see what’s in the materials,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah), who with Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R.-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a criminal referral to the FBI regarding what they view as Clinton’s perjury in front of congressional committees.

Based on what he received from the FBI, the chairman said the former first lady’s characterization of information involved in her private email scheme is absurd. “Hillary Clinton is out there saying there’s not much sensitive information in there and that she didn’t trade in sensitive information.”

In their Aug. 15 letter to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, the two chairmen cited examples of when Clinton’s testimony to Congress was contradicted by the FBI’s own investigation and statements by FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. The letter was a follow-up to their Aug. 2 criminal referral made necessary because Comey refused to investigate suspected crimes and situations not actually spelled out in a referral.

“I am stunned that the FBI Director came before Congress and testified that throughout their year-long investigation, they never looked at the under-oath testimony from Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Are you kidding me?”

Chaffetz requested the FBI’s notes from its July 3 interview with the Democratic nominee for president, including summaries written by FBI agents on form FD-302. These “302’s” are not actually transcripts, rather the after-the-fact memoirs of a conversation–because the FBI does not record its interviews.

The chairman said he received two binders from the FBI with information presented in a way that contaminates unclassified information with classified information and in other places has documents so heavily redacted as to make them incomprehensible. The presentation also made it impossible to make the information public.

“We are going to call on the FBI to give a version that can be released to the public,” the chairman said.

Another problem the chairman said he wanted to investigate was the process Clinton and her staff used to migrate classified information from the non-classified email systems. In the federal government there are two email systems, the Secret Internet Protocol Network and the Non-Secure Internet Protocol Network. SIPR computers and phones have red stickers and red cables and NIPR computers and phones have green cables to help military and diplomatic personnel from confusing the two. Emails are blocked and cannot be sent from a SIPR account to a NIPR account–or a private email account. But NIPR email accounts can interact with private accounts.

It was the practice of Clinton and her team to pull information from SIPR emails and cut and paste them into NIPR emails that could then go back-and-forth with Clinton’s private email account. But that still leaves open the question of how this was done.

In 2008, there was a serious spyware attack from a memory stick or thumb drive with spyware that searched for and reported back to its master how to break into military computer networks. Because of this breach, the federal government launched Operation Buckshot Yankee, which in addition to cleaning out the spyware made it government-wide policy that memory sticks could not be used on federal computers, SIPR or NIPR. All thumb drives have operating software which is immediately detected by Buckshot Yankee defense programs.

These defenses cannot be disabled and work so that if a laptop is taken off the network and attached and then detached to a thumb drive, as soon as the laptop plugs back into the system the alarms go off.

“We have a major security flaw,” he said. “That’s why we keep looking at it.”

Chaffetz said he was extremely curious about how Clinton and her team dealt with the situation.

“How is it that somebody over the course of years–anybody–could take information from the classified system–not just forward it–how did they extract that information and put it on a thumb drive?”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.