Recently California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in an apparent attempt to defend Hillary Clinton over the ongoing scandal involving her private e-mail and her mishandling of highly classified information, has suggested that the former secretary of state “did not send” any of the classified e-mails that were found on her private server. I presume that the California senator is trying to make some kind of point that if Hillary Clinton only ‘received’ classified e-mails, then she’s guilt-free.
While I can appreciate the Democratic senator’s loyalty, and trying her best to put a good face on Hillary’s troubles, I have but two questions to ask Sen. Feinstein. When did Hillary report these serious security violations, and to whom did she report them? After all, according to government regulations, “failure to report a security violation is in and of itself a security violation”.
Obviously Sen. Feinstein is aware of the legal requirement to report violations, one would think anyway, considering her experience as a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for far too many years I would add.
According to the Department of State’s own regulations, “A security violation is a security incident that, in the judgment of the Department of State Office of Security, results in actual or possible compromise of the information. For example, if an employee transmits a classified document over an unclassified facsimile machine, the incident would be adjudicated as a violation, as the possibility for electronic interception and transcription of the classified document is real”. I think an un-secured, un-encrypted private e-mail server would fall into this category.
The State Department’s regulations also state that “All security incidents will be reported to the Department of State Office of Security. Employees must inform the appropriate security officer, orally or in writing, of any improper security practice that comes to the employee’s attention in order that remedial action may be taken.
Upon discovery of improperly secured classified information or of other security incidents, the responsible security officer must complete Form OF-117, Notice of Security Incident. This form is unclassified and must be prepared as comprehensively and accurately as possible”.
OF-117s must abound in the State Department with Hillary Clinton’s name all over them Since most assuredly she recognized the egregious violations that were taking place by other government employees sending her highly classified information over her un-secure, un-encrypted server.
You see, every government employee entrusted with a security clearance which provides them access to highly classified information has a legal obligation to report security violations committed by other individuals that they may become aware of during the course of their duties. Even only receiving classified information over an unsecured, un-encrypted e-mail system is a security violation committed by somebody!
It was also incumbent upon her to report each instance as it occurred – over three hundred so far and counting – so that the violation could be properly investigated and the person responsible disciplined, or possibly prosecuted if appropriate. At the very least those responsible should have their security clearances revoked due to their failure to follow government security regulations, negligence, and mishandling of classified information.
The former secretary of state or the State Department need to merely produce all of the records of her reporting these serious security violations, and Hillary is home free. Certainly an easy task, one would think.
By the way, for those who have never worked in government service nor handled classified information on a daily basis, information that is Top Secret just isn’t transmitted and received over an un-secured, un-encrypted e-mail system.
You simply can’t do it without taking extraordinary steps to do so. And there’s a reason for that, which is to prevent the accidental transmittal of highly classified materials over an un-secured, un-encrypted system. Government employees take protecting our national secrets very seriously. Or at least some of our government employees do.
There’s also a government agency that spends millions, if not billions of dollars a year to protect our military and diplomatic communications from being read by others. And they go to great lengths to insure that government employees follow the proper procedures to protect classified information, and our communications systems remain secure and safe from foreign interception.
But perhaps the California senator was simply more interested in trying to protect a fellow Democrat, than in protecting the secrets of this nation. Perhaps Sen. Feinstein needs to review her own obligations as the holder of a national security clearance, which also requires the fine senator to report any security violations she becomes aware of.
So while I appreciate your loyalty to party, Sen. Feinstein, I would appreciate your loyalty to the United States of America much more. Perhaps it’s time you review the same government security regulations that guided former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, since based on your comments it would seem you’re not quite up to speed on what the regulations governing classified information are.