UPDATE: This is truly explosive, if true. According to a former NSA analyst with deep ties to the intelligence community (see his work linked below), some of the 'top-secret-and-beyond' emails on Hillary's unsecure server contained the true identities of CIA officers, as well as foreign nationals on the agency's payroll. If this can be independently confirmed, it's about as serious as it gets. For now, proceed with caution and read:
Hillary & staff exposed the identities of undercover US spies, including NOCs....here's the full, shocking story.https://t.co/DBOQUkDEUD— John Schindler (@20committee) February 1, 2016
If you haven't done so already, please click through and read my recap and analysis of how Hillary Clinton's email scandal worsened considerably on Friday -- resulting in a miasma of denial and deflection from worried Democrats. Team Clinton's spin that top secret and 'beyond top secret' SAP material contained on her unsecure private server was "innocuous" in nature suffered a heavy blow when the State Department announced that 22 emails in their latest batch were so sensitive that they could not be released in any form. Today, Fox News quotes an intelligence source who has seen the documents in question. His damning assessment:
Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and was limited in discussing the contents because of their highly classified nature, was referring to the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails that the State Department announced Friday it could not release in any form, even with entire sections redacted. The announcement fueled criticism of Clinton’s handling of highly sensitive information while secretary of state, even as the Clinton campaign continued to downplay the matter as the product of an interagency dispute over classification. But the U.S. government official’s description provides confirmation that the emails contained closely held government secrets. “Operational intelligence” can be real-time information about intelligence collection, sources and the movement of assets. The official emphasized that the “TOP SECRET” documents were sent over an extended period of time -- from shortly after the server's 2009 installation until early 2013 when Clinton stepped down as secretary of state.
This seems to confirm recent analysis from a former CIA official who stated last month that Mrs. Clinton's email scheme "absolutely" put lives at risk. The Democratic frontrunner has at times attributed the scandal to her own confusion over technology, a misleading dodge. Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, argues in the story that Clinton's background as a 'former secretary of state, senator, and Yale-trained lawyer' makes it inconceivable that she didn't understand exactly what was going on. Indeed, received a very specific, dire warning in 2011 that foreign entities were seeking to penetrate US secrets by targeting top officials' private emails. According to Fox's source, top secret missives continued to pass through Clinton's improper private server all the way into 2013, when she stepped down at State. As Ed Morrissey writes, this confluence of events and forthcoming facts strongly indicate that Clinton consistently handled classified information with "gross negligence," and therefore broke the law. The Democratic frontrunner appeared on ABC News' This Week, where she was pressed by anchor George Stephanopolous about her frequent contention that she hadn't sent any intelligence that was "marked" classified at the time. Legal experts say this is an irrelevancy under the law because officials with top-level security clearances have a duty to recognize and protect sensitive material, regardless of markings. Stephanopolous asks Clinton about the 2009 nondisclosure agreement she signed that explicitly spelled out that obligation:
STEPHANOPOULOS: “You know, you’ve said many times that the emails were not marked classified. The non-disclosure agreement you signed as Secretary of State says that that’s really not that relevant. It says classified information is marked or unmarked classified and that all of you are trained to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference.”
CLINTON: “Well of course and that’s exactly what I did. I take classified information very seriously. You know, you can’t get information off the classified system in the State Department to put on an unclassified system, no matter what that system is. We were very specific about that. And when you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain thought that this was classified and that was not the case.”
Notice how totally unresponsive this answer is, with respect to the binding nondisclosure agreement. The nonpartisan intelligence community Inspector General has confirmed that this top secret (and above) intelligence was highly classified from the moment it hit her unsecure server. Fixating on markings using heavily-parked language is an attempt to distract and confuse. Back to the Fox News story: "According to national security legal experts, security clearance holders are required to speak up when classified information is not in secure channels. 'Everybody who has a security clearance has an individual obligation to protect the information,' said national security attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling in the high-profile leak investigation regarding a New York Times reporter. 'Just because somebody sends it to you … you can't just turn a blind eye and pretend it never happened and pretend it's unclassified information.' These rules, known as the Code of Federal Regulations, apply to U.S. government employees with security clearances and state there is an obligation to report any possible breach by both the sender and the receiver of the information." Incidentally, here's something else she said during the same interview:
"This is very much like Benghazi" only in the sense that Mrs. Clinton is again revealing herself as a habitual, self-interested liar. But as others have pointed out, this isn't about Republicans -- and those "straws" are very real:
The FBI. And the Obama-appointed Inspector General. And the Obama State Department. Two last things before you go: First, if there's any lingering doubt about whether top State Department officials were aware of her unsecure, rules-breaking email arrangement from the get-go, read this. Second, take a few minutes and thoroughly review this analysis by former NSA analyst John Schindler, who details why Clinton's conduct was so damaging. Pull quote, via a former KGB officer: "Even half-drunk, [Russian intelligence] could get those emails, they probably couldn’t believe how easy Hillary made it for them.” Former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees.