Quote of the Day:
“I’d hate to be the guy in Moscow or Beijing right now who had to explain why they didn’t have all of Hillary’s email.”
–The Daily Beast
The discussion of Hillary Clinton's emails has so far hinged mostly on whether she has been forthcoming about holding and transmitting classified emails on an insecure server. A new facet of the controversy is surfacing, however: did the former secretary of state endanger national security?
Stanley Kurtz explores the distinct possibility that Mrs. Clinton's self-serving email set-up, likely devised as a way to avoid congressional scrutiny, may have led to scrutiny by foreign espionage agencies. He writes:
So America’s intelligence agencies are assuming that every communication of America’s Secretary of State for months or more was read by our adversaries. Isn’t that likely to amount to one of the worst intelligence breaches in American history?
And here’s the kicker. Even if we got lucky and the Russians and Chinese didn’t actually intercept some or all of Hillary’s emails, our intelligence agencies now have to behave as if they did. Doesn’t that mean that we are now making massive changes to the sources and methods of our intelligence?
Are we now withdrawing valuable agents? Are we trying to replace methods that cannot be easily replicated? Are we now forced to rebuild a good deal of our intelligence capabilities from the ground up? Are we not suffering tremendous intelligence damage right now, regardless of what foreign intelligence services did or did not manage to snatch from Hillary’s server—simply because we are forced to assume that they got it all?
I'm waiting for the Clinton camp to advance the argument that too much is classified and the idea of classified material is silly. I mean, really, aren't we part of the much-vaunted "international community," and so why should we have secrets? I exaggerate, but Clinton is apparently not alone in the Obama administration in being lax about security. The Daily Beast, hardly an outpost of the right, proposes that Hillary's problems could touch her former colleagues in the administration.
"The whole administration is filled with people who can’t shoot straight when it comes to classified,” an Intelligence Community official explained to me this week. Three U.S. officials suggested that Susan Rice, the National Security Adviser, might be at particular risk if a classified information probe goes wide. But it should be noted that Rice has made all sorts of enemies on the security establishment for her prickly demeanor, use of coarse language, and strategic missteps. . . .
Spy agencies typically take a harder line on classification than the State Department does, including a tendency to retroactively mark as classified mundane things—for instance press reports that comment on security matters can be deemed secret—that other, less secrecy-prone agencies might not. That said, there’s little doubt that our intelligence agencies fear that the compromise engendered by Hillary’s email slipshod practices was significant.
Although it will be months before intelligence agencies have reviewed all Clinton emails, counterintelligence officials expect that the true number of classified emails on Hillary’s servers is at least many hundreds and perhaps thousands, based on the samplings seen to date.
Since Clinton's unorthodox server was set up before she even moved into her Foggy Bottom office, we can assume that she wanted a free hand to operate as she pleased. Even if there is nothing illegal in dealings as secretary of state with her husband's foundation, which, truth to tell, appears as much a Hillary Clinton-administration-in-waiting as a regular charity, such dealings could embarrass.
Who wants the world to know, for example, that hubby's office entertained, ever how briefly, a lucrative speaking gig in North Korea, where much of the population is starving or malnourished?
In an apparent effort to operate in the dark and hide such embarrassments, Ms. Clinton may have had a profound, and decidedly unpresidential, effect on our national security.