The controversy over Hillary Clinton's improper, unsecure email server is far from over. The federal investigation into possible criminal negligence regarding the handling of classified material continues apace, with new details becoming public in the last few days. Matt wrote about the Washington Free Beacon's Friday scoop, confirming that Sec. Clinton did, in fact, sign a form laying out the consequences of mishandling sensitive information:
As the nation’s chief diplomat, Hillary Clinton was responsible for ascertaining whether information in her possession was classified and acknowledged that “negligent handling” of that information could jeopardize national security, according to a copy of an agreement she signed upon taking the job. A day after assuming office as secretary of state, Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that laid out criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information. Experts have guessed that Clinton signed such an agreement, but a copy of her specific contract, obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute through an open records request and shared with the Washington Free Beacon, reveals for the first time the exact language of the NDA. “I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of SCI by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation,” the agreement states.
As we've detailed, Mrs. Clinton has altered her email assertions over time: At first, she claimed that "no classified material" passed through the vulnerable private server, which is comprehensively false. Between 600 and 700 classified emails have been identified thus far -- including newly-released messages pertaining to the sensitive matter of embassy security measures, a topic Clinton recently testified she didn't directly deal with as Secretary of State. Next, she said that nothing that was classified "at the time" was on the server, which has also been disproven. Then she shifted to arguing that she had never personally sent or received classified data. Wrong again. Finally, she settled on the defense that she hadn't trafficked in items that were marked classified at the time. This distinction is legally irrelevant, experts say, because it was her duty as a government official with a top security clearance to assess and recognize classified information, regardless of official markings. The agreement Sec. Clinton signed in 2009 conclusively proves that she explicitly acknowledged that the "marked vs. unmarked" excuse to which she's currently clinging holds no weight:
Hillary Clinton signed a document that spelled out, in detail, that the negligent handling of secret intelligence could "cause irreparable harm" to the United States of America. The same form made it clear that this standard applied to marked and unmarked information. Nevertheless, Clinton had a subordinate -- who has invoked his right against self-incrimination -- set up a private email server on which she conducted all of her personal business, including sending and receiving hundreds of classified emails. Her server was especially vulnerable to outside hackers, and wasn't encrypted at all for several months. After she left office, the server was handed over to two private storage companies that were unequipped and unauthorized to handle the sort of sensitive information it contained. This all reads like a textbook case of negligence to a layperson. We'll see if the FBI, under the direction of the Obama Justice Department, agrees. Which brings us to the Free Beacon's second related bombshell on this front:
Malicious actors routinely attempted to hack the personal email accounts of senior State Department officials during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat, an internal memo reveals. The February 2011 memo, obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute through an open records request and shared with the Washington Free Beacon, warned of “a dramatic increase … in attempts by [redacted] to compromise the private home e-mail accounts of senior [State] Department officials.” All of Clinton’s official email communications as secretary of state took place through a personal email address housed on a “homebrew” server in her Chappaqua, N.Y., home. According to the memo, written specifically for Clinton by Eric Boswell, then the State Department’s top diplomatic security official, the unnamed hackers were attempting to breach officials’ email accounts via a technique known as “phishing.”
The report goes on to demonstrate that Clinton was targeted by "phishers," and that she responded to at least one of the bogus emails. The State Department official who wrote the memo warning of outside hacking efforts assured Clinton that at least classified information wasn't in jeopardy because "the targets are unclassified personal e-mail accounts." This would have been a silver lining if not for the crucial fact that Clinton used her unclassified personal email accounts and server for all of her official business, including quite a lot of classified business. She was very explicitly warned of the risks, but chose to carry on with her reckless email scheme anyway. In addition, Boswell also sent an urgent 2009 memo to top State Department staff, including Clinton, warning that unclassified Blackberrys and smart phones were "highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving emails, and exploring calendars." Boswell emphasized the severity of the admonition, writing, "I cannot stress [this] too strongly." Mrs. Clinton continued to use a number of non-State Department-issued mobile devices throughout her tenure as America's top diplomat. One last point: Politico published what appeared to be a quasi-exculpatory story over the weekend, stating that the intelligence community had wrongly assessed intelligence in two Hillary emails as "top secret." The publication was forced to walk back their report:
UPDATE: DNI Clapper's office denies final determination on classification of disputed Clinton emails https://t.co/fbpJv3dMFP— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) November 7, 2015
The two "top secret" emails apparently remain in dispute; several other missives have been deemed "secret," including a message pertaining to the Iranian nuclear negotiations.