Why All The Fuss About Secrets?

D.W. Wilber
|
Posted: Jan 21, 2016 12:01 AM
Why All The Fuss About Secrets?

The Hillary Clinton campaign is now scrambling to try to defend the former Secretary of State over the recent report by the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General indicating that highly classified “Special Access Program” material was found on Clinton’s private, insecure e-mail server. A Clinton campaign spokesperson has already claimed that it’s all “political,” and just another attempt by Republicans to discredit and smear the Democratic frontrunner.

Many Americans have never held a top secret security clearance, nor do they really understand what all the fuss is about the “classification” of documents and other materials.  So it may be difficult for people to understand just what’s at stake when a person mishandles and allows highly sensitive and classified information to become compromised.

Think of the saying “loose lips sink ships,” to quote the official admonishment used during World War II to remind Americans to protect sensitive information.  Consider that the raid to capture or kill Osama bin Laden was surely classified as top secret, and also likely handled as a “Special Access Program” in order to further limit the number of people who were aware of, or had access to information about, the proposed operation. 

You see, just because one possesses a top secret security clearance doesn’t necessarily mean that they have access to everything that’s classified top secret.  They must also “need” that information in order to do their job.

For example, an intelligence analyst working for the Department of Homeland Security in New Mexico and studying Latin American threats might possess a top secret security clearance, but certainly has no need to know anything about the planning for the bin Laden raid in Pakistan. The intent is to limit the number of people who have access and thereby limit the risk of exposure or compromise.

In the case of the bin Laden raid, lives were clearly at risk.  All of the Navy Seals and the others who were part of that operation could have been killed or captured if information about the planned raid were leaked ahead of time. Either through inadvertent compromise, treason, or perhaps discussing elements of the raid via e-mail over an insecure server.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton would have had the need to know that American Special Operators were conducting a military raid in a foreign country. Obviously, she was present in the photographs released showing senior administration officials watching in the White House Situation Room as the raid progressed.

Even if she did not know about the raid ahead of time, which is possible if not likely, she was informed as the operation was unfolding.  And at that time, she would have learned highly classified details of the planning and conduct of the operation, which if discussed with others who were not cleared for that level of information, or if it were exposed in some other way, could have compromised classified details.

The Obama Administration’s “spiking the football’ after the bin Laden raid led to the creation of the organization Special Operations Education Fund, also known as OPSEC, for “operational security,” This was an effort to educate the public about the irresponsible release of classified information by senior members of the Obama Administration or other elected officials.

OPSEC team started following administration disclosures of highly sensitive information which very well could put lives at risk during future Special Operations missions.  An excellent video produced and viewable on YouTube titled “Dishonorable Disclosures” has gone a long way towards educating people on the need to protect classified information.  

Since our own NSA is tasked with intercepting and breaking the codes of other nations, we know that the intelligence services of other nations are doing the same thing to us.  That’s why the federal government and the military go to great lengths to develop cryptographic systems that will protect our government communications from other nation’s eavesdropping.

Over the years a number of American traitors have been arrested and jailed for sharing highly classified information with our enemies, particularly with the former Soviet Union and communist China. The infamous Walker family spy ring compromised communications of the United States Navy over a period of nearly 20 years and caused immense damage to national security.

For Hillary’s sycophants to claim that politics is involved in the FBI’s investigation is akin to making the claim that the earth is flat. It’s simply either a lie, or it’s stupidity on a massive scale.  Neither is a trait one wants in the nation’s chief executive.  

If as Hillary contends, that any classified information that may have been sent over her private server was “not marked as classified,” as if that were some legitimate explanation or justification for how highly classified Special Access Program information could have ended up on her server, then she has disqualified herself for higher office simply by virtue of the fact that she’s obviously too dense to recognize highly classified information. Something every private in the military who holds a security clearance can identify and take the appropriate steps to protect.

Unlike those in Benghazi, who obviously didn’t matter to Hillary, there’s a very legitimate reason for all the fuss about top secret information on her private e-mail server.  Being careless with America’s national security does indeed matter.  It matters very much to the American people.  And Hillary’s carelessness and blatant disregard for protecting America’s secrets makes her unfit to serve in any position of public trust, much less as President.  And especially not as Commander in Chief of the United States military, whose very lives may depend on it.