Federal investigators may be closer to seizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's illicit off-site email server as evidence emerges that she transmitted classified information through it and that key Obama White House officials knew about her clandestine email account for years.
On Tuesday the Department of State made available on its website 3,000 pages of Clinton's emails. Clinton emphatically declared months ago that none of the thousands of emails she sent using her hacker-friendly dedicated server contained classified information.
As it turns out the State Department had to redact 25 of the newly unveiled emails because they contained the very same classified information Hillary said she didn't send. This is but a fraction of the 55,000 pages of email the former secretary of state gave to the diplomatic agency for processing. Under federal court order, the State Department is conducting monthly Clinton document dumps after screening and redacting the emails.
Clinton has admitted that tens of thousands of the emails she sent that happened to be U.S. government property were deleted. Emails were scrubbed while subject to a subpoena from the House Select Committee that is investigating the terrorist attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that took place on Sept. 11, 2012.
Around the time of the attack Clinton scapegoated the innocent director of an anti-Islam movie trailer that almost nobody had seen. She claimed back then that the sophisticated military-style operation materialized spontaneously from an angry mob of protesters gathered outside the facility which was in Islamist-held territory. The Benghazi coverup the Obama administration engineered to get President Obama safely reelected in November 2012 has been gradually falling apart.
This new revelation that classified information went out into cyberspace by way of Clinton's laughably insecure server clears the way for the U.S. government to seize the machine itself, the Washington Timesreports.
Despite demands from Republicans on Capitol Hill who are investigating Clinton, she has steadfastly refused to hand over the server whose existence became public knowledge earlier this year. She caused a firestorm before launching her presidential bid when she admitted that all her government emails from her time at the Department of State were routed through her own personal Internet server that has been traced back to her Chappaqua, N.Y., home address.
PolitiFact confirmed that Clinton didn't use government email when she was at the State Department -- not even once. "Although some former secretaries of state occasionally used personal emails for official business, Clinton is the only one who never once used an @state.gov email address in the era of email," the fact-check organization previously concluded.
A former senior intelligence official told the Washington Times that government policy now requires a thorough investigation with an eye to the other Internet servers through which the classified information may have passed.
According to the news report:
The procedures are spelled out by the National Security Agency's special panel on controlling leaked secrets, called the Committee on National Security Systems. It published a policy, "Securing Data and Handling Spillage Events," that fits the case of Mrs. Clinton's unauthorized private server, kept at her home while she was secretary of state, according to the retired officer's reading of the regulations.
The policy stipulates that "[m]alicious attacks are alarming, but more often spillages occur from unintentional user error or negligence."
"Hillary Clinton's server has classified information and should be taken by the government and sanitized, wiped clean or destroyed," said the cybersecurity expert who requested anonymity. It is not clear if any of the procedures have yet been carried out in this case, he said.
Clinton's fast and loose approach to email security almost certainly compromised U.S. national security.
Clinton's emails and telephone calls were probably targeted by foreign governments' intelligence agencies, the former official said. Her server was probably breached, he added.
"If Clinton's personal email server wasn't hacked by China or Russia, forget the Presidency," Chris Soghoian the ACLU's lead technologist quipped on Twitter. "She should be the next cyber czar."
Clinton's email account was a virtual open book for hackers from hostile governments and terrorist groups, but anyone who interacted with her through it was also placed at risk. This is because, as one news report stated, whoever created the system "didn't enable what’s called a Sender Policy Framework, or SPF, a simple setting that would prevent hackers sending e-mails that appear to be from clintonemail.com."
The publication of Clinton's emails this week also demonstrates that senior Obama operatives David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and John Podesta were long aware of Clinton's cloak-and-dagger email infrastructure. The irretrievably corrupt Clintons created the system to frustrate Freedom of Information Act requesters, shield Hillary's correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to the international cash-for-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.
The fact that this latest tranche of emails was from 2009 shows that Obama lieutenants were aware of Clinton's private email account almost from the beginning of Obama's presidency. Yet Obama White House officials claim they only learned of the private dedicated server in August 2014 after House Republicans confronted them with evidence of the server's existence.
But the new trove of released emails shows top Obama operatives not only knew about the private email account but asked for Clinton's email address so they could reach her.
Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills sent Clinton an email on June 8, 2009, with the subject line, “Axelrod wants your emails.”
In her reply Clinton seemed annoyed. “Can you send it to him or do you want me to?” she asked. “Does he know I can’t look at it all day so he needs to contact me thru you or Huma or Lauren during work hours.”
Yet on June 17 of this year Axelrod played dumb in a discussion with MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. Axelrod claimed he didn't know Clinton was using a private email account and server to conduct government business.
“I was there. I was the senior advisor. I didn’t know that,” he said. “I might’ve asked a few questions about that.”
Now, just two weeks after he denied that he knew about Hillary's private email account, Axelrod admits he has known about the account for some time. This Alinskyite Red-diaper baby didn't suddenly develop a sense of right and wrong. He was in damage-control mode after the latest batch of emails to see sunlight proved him a liar.
As Thomas Roberts of MSNBC said Wednesday while interviewing him, in Tuesday's "big dump of the Hillary Clinton e-mails, there was one from you to Hillary Clinton's private account."
Axelrod acted like this revelation was no big deal and contradicted his previous statement that he didn't know about the email account. He told Roberts:
Well, everybody -- most people in the government had private accounts for private sorts of e-mails. I was referred to that account when I wanted to send her a note because she had been injured and I wanted to just send her a note telling her I hoped she was feeling better. And I sent it to that account. And I've never ever - I've always said that I knew she had that account. What I didn't know was that she used that account exclusively, and I certainly didn't know that she had her own server. Those were things that I just learned with everybody else later on.
This thin rationalization isn't all that surprising coming from an administration headed by a man who claims to learn about all of his own misdeeds from TV news reports.
CNN.com acknowledged that the State Department's latest document dump shows key Obama operatives knew from around the dawn of the Obama presidency that Clinton availed herself of an unorthodox private email system.
The CNN report describes the newly uncovered emails from 2009 as an assortment of mundane government correspondence and emails from political colleagues. For example, it states that David Axelrod, John Podesta, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) all sent emails wishing Clinton well after she injured her elbow.
Meanwhile, an attorney who is part of the Obama administration's coverup team in the IRS scandal has moved over to the State Department to do the same thing in the Clinton email scandal.
Catherine Duval, the lawyer who was overseeing the process by which IRS emails related to Lois Lerner's targeting of conservative groups are handed over to Congress, now oversees the State Department's program that is very slowly making Clinton's emails public. Also known as Kate, Duval's formal title at State is senior advisor in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.
Foot-dragging and stonewalling by the Obama administration have made it difficult to gather evidence in the Lerner case after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself during congressional testimony in mid-2013.
Duval and others like her are hard at work today desperately trying to make the email scandal go away in order to save Hillary Clinton's presidential bid.