Hillary Clinton's top Democratic "rival" may believe that people are sick of hearing about her "damn emails," but that pronouncement -- since walked back, as its issuer fades in the polls -- evidently does not apply to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Politico reports that the bureau's probe into Clinton's improper, unsecure email scheme has been ramping up, not petering out:
Even as Hillary Clinton tries to put questions about her private email server behind her, the FBI has stepped up inquiries into the security of the former Secretary of State's home-made email system, and how aides communicated over email, POLITICO has learned. The FBI’s recent moves suggest that its inquiry could have evolved from the preliminary fact-finding stage that the agency launches when it receives a credible referral, according to former FBI and DOJ officials interviewed by POLITICO. “This sounds to me like it’s more than a preliminary inquiry; it sounds like a full-blown investigation,” said Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI. “When you have this amount of resources going into it …. I think it’s at the investigative level.” The FBI declined to respond to questions about the scope of its ongoing work. But POLITICO learned that the FBI around early October requested documents from a company involved in the server arrangement after Clinton left State. It also interviewed a former high-ranking policy official at State about the contents of top Clinton aides’ emails. The official, who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said the questions explored whether anyone at State was concerned about classified information being put at risk by communicating over email. The source did not know of any such concerns...Former FBI and Justice officials familiar with the investigative procedures on such matters said the agency must determine two main things: whether the use of an outside email system posed any risks to national security secrets and if so, if anyone was responsible for exposing classified information.
The FBI will do its job, but we already know the answers to some of these questions. In just the last few days, the Washington Free Beacon has published a series of scoops based on Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. As we detailed yesterday, one document -- signed by Clinton -- confirms that the Secretary of State was explicitly aware that "negligent handling" of highly sensitive information constitutes a grave risk to US interests, and that such material must be carefully guarded regardless of whether or not it is "marked" classified. Experts say the very existence of Clinton's private server violated "clear cut" State Department rules and violated government policy, according to a federal judge appointed by Clinton's husband. Its comprehensively inadequate security was jaw-dropping, as was the manner in which it was handed over to private storage companies whose employees were not cleared to handle the type of classified material it contained. Another just-revealed memo from 2011 shows the State Department's top security official urgently warning of “a dramatic increase … in attempts by [redacted] to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior [State] Department officials.” In that letter, Eric Boswell writes that at least these hacking efforts are targeting "unclassified personal email accounts," apparently unaware that Clinton used her unsecure system to send and receive hundreds of classified emails. A separate memo spelled out severe concerns about the profound vulnerability of non-State Department-issued mobile devices like the ones Clinton exclusively used.
Clearly, some officials at State were very much "concerned about classified information being put at risk by communicating over email." One trusts that the FBI will read the memos described above, rather than simply relying on their source who reportedly pled ignorance on security-related red flags. Hillary Clinton knew the risks, she knew the policies, and she knew her duties. Yet she blithely carried on, sending hundreds of classified emails through a woefully under-protected private server that lacked any encryption for a period of months. Some of the material she sent and received has been deemed "top secret" and "secret" by the US intelligence community. Clinton's oft-recalibrated excuse is that these messages were not "marked classified at the time," a distinction she's already personally attested is meaningless. Parting thought: If and when the political fixers at Barack Obama's hopelessly compromised Justice Department ensure that Hillary Clinton is not indicted, how long will it take honorable, truth-minded career civil servants at the FBI to start leaking? I'll leave you with Hugh Hewitt keeping his eye on the ball: