Hillary Clinton’s “there’s no evidence of that” line of defense over her email mess continues to crumble in the face of . . . new evidence.
For all her talk of how using a private email account for her work running the State Department was just fine, it’s now plain she left top-secret information vulnerable to hackers.
More evidence is likely to come out. The FBI’s probe has now expanded to include another private server she used, a backup service with Connecticut-based Datto Inc.
And now the Associated Press has confirmed that her main server was the target of repeated cyberattacks from China, South Korea and Germany. And those came after she left office, when her team belatedly agreed to use some threat-monitoring software.
In other news, a FOIA request from the watchdog group Citizens United has uncovered the fact that Hill’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, was forwarding classified info to the Clinton Foundation — so staff there could support Bill Clinton’s work in Africa.
Add to this new details about Hillary’s emails with longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal — emails that somehow didn’t make it into the data she finally handed over once word broke that she’d failed to share her work product with the government.
Her extensive communications with him include the naming of a CIA source (obviously classified) as he pushed for action in Libya — action that would benefit his clients.
“It is curious Secretary Clinton took so much of her advice from someone who had never been to Libya, professed no independent knowledge of the country and who the White House blocked her from hiring,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who heads the select committee trying to finally get to the full facts on the deadly Benghazi attack.
Curious? Hey, in Clintonworld, blending policy with pocket-lining is routine — national security be damned.
Editor’s Note – The Author of the following article is an SUA ‘Kitchen Cabinet” founding member and he is a foreign policy and national security analyst and served in the departments of State and Defense.
He visited more than 50 U.S. overseas diplomatic posts on official missions.
After its release this morning, Jen Psaki, the State Department Spokesperson finally admitted that Hillary Clinton did not sign a OF-109 separation form after all:
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday the agency is “fairly certain” that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not sign a separation statement upon her departure from Foggy Bottom.
“We don’t have record of it,” Psaki admitted.
She was quick to point out that her two immediate predecessors had no signed form on record either, but that is trivial in comparison to the deep hot water Clinton should be in.
Please read on:
With Private Storage, Clinton May Have Exposed State Secrets To International Cyber Crime
ABC News recently reported that House Speaker John Boehner will soon be announcing a new congressional investigation into the dubious way former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton controlled her official State Department emails during the four years she served as the nation’s top diplomat and the two years since leaving office.
By storing the emails in an isolated server outside of State Department control in a private personal computer system, Mrs. Clinton and the State Department were able to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests from Congress and the media on sensitive topics such as Benghazi. Her actions may also have compromised national security.
The Secretary carries the President’s foreign policies and participates as a key member of the President’s National Security Council, providing advice and assistance to the President on the most important and urgent foreign policies and national security matters.
Therefore, the Secretary is an automatic target of those seeking to learn as much as possible about what is going on inside the highest levels of the U.S. Government through various forms of espionage activities.
Former Justice Department officials Shannen Coffin and Dan Metcalfe and Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, in articles appearing in National Review and Politico, disagreed with her.
In their essays on this subject, among other things, Coffin wondered whether the former Secretary falsely certified the return of all records upon her departure from the State Department; Metcalfe, a retired government FOIA expert, opined that the former Secretary’s email defense is laughable; and McCarthy argued that the former Secretary is still violating the law and the Justice Department should take custody of her server.
Being able to access any of the Secretary’s official or private communications– whether they are classified, sensitive or otherwise– would be an intelligence coup for U.S. foes and friends engaged in espionage, and could be used by them for such nefarious activities as waging economic, military and political sabotage and warfare against the United States, or mere blackmail.
And it is naïve for anyone to believe that U.S. adversaries like China, Russia and others – skilled in state-of-the-art electronic cyber-theft and eavesdropping and who can intrude into computer systems without detection – wouldn’t try to take advantage of a situation like this if they knew the Secretary of State’s emails were being stored in a private server.
The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security serves as a firewall in preventing U.S. enemies and others from gaining access to U.S. classified as sensitive information, whether it is the Secretary of State or anyone else employed by the State Department.
Among other things, DS security engineers monitor and negate electronic threats, while its intelligence and information security experts educate employees on counterintelligence and possible vulnerabilities that might be exploited by foreign intelligence agencies.
To mitigate these threats, DS continually develops, tests, and updates security standards as necessary for all State Department’s computer systems and requires everyone leaving the agency, under penalties of law, to turn over all government records when their appointments or employment expires (see U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 12 – Diplomatic Security Form OF-109, PDF).
One can easily understand why the State Department’s security folks are so concerned about espionage prevention. China’s cyber-spies on several notable occasions (e.g., Titan Rain and Mandiant) successfully breached the U.S.’s most sophisticated security-protected computer systems at U.S. government agencies, sensitive military bases, defense contractors, aerospace companies through internet email intrusion. For skilled cyber-spies, hacking into someone’s private computer system requires little effort.
The responses from the former Secretary and State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, on this subject to date have been far less than forthcoming, especially regarding the security aspect. As Congress looks further into this matter, it might want to consider asking key current and former officials within the Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to formally testify before Congress and ask them the following questions:
Did DS know and approve of the manner in which former Secretary Clinton, and her closest State Department colleagues Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, were storing their State Department-related emails in a private computer system outside of the State Department’s span of control? If the answer is yes, did DS evaluate and certify the former secretary’s personal computer system met State Department security standards?
Did DS require the former secretary to sign the State Department’s Separation Agreement, OF 109, which requires by U.S. Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 12 – Diplomatic Security, in part, that former State Department persons like Mrs. Clinton, Miss Abedin, and Miss Mills to turn over all government-related records, including emails, at the conclusion of their appointments and/or employment? If the answer is yes, does DS have a copy of the signed documents? If the answer is no, did DS officials waive the requirement to do so for these individuals?
Did DS give the former secretary permission to delete more than 30,000 emails from her personal computer system before DS or a neutral arbiter could examine them?
While this list of questions is not all-inclusive, the answers to them will provide substantial insight into whether the former Secretary, her closest State Department associates, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security complied with some important applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the maintenance and disposition of official State Department records and applicable security standards. The American public deserves to know the answers.
Editorial Note – Eric Holder maintains an iron fist when it comes to invading privacy. The action taken by the Department of Justice in the case against Wikileaks and Pvt. Manning has now cost Americans a further loss of privacy when it comes to email. Currently our communications are supposed to be protected whether it be postal mail or email, and if the Federal government needs access, they must provide a court order search warrant. However, the way Eric Holder’s DoJ is proceeding, our rights be damned.
The U.S. government has obtained a controversial type of secret court order to force Google Inc. and small Internet provider Sonic.net Inc. to turn over information from the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Sonic said it fought the government’s order and lost, and was forced to turn over information. Challenging the order was “rather expensive, but we felt it was the right thing to do,” said Sonic’s chief executive, Dane Jasper. The government’s request included the email addresses of people Mr. Appelbaum corresponded with the past two years, but not the full emails.
Both Google and Sonic pressed for the right to inform Mr. Appelbaum of the secret court orders, according to people familiar with the investigation. Google declined to comment. Mr. Appelbaum, 28 years old, hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing.
The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people’s email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
WikiLeaks is a publisher of documents that people can submit anonymously. After WikiLeaks released a trove of classified government diplomatic cables last year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. was pursuing an “active criminal investigation” of WikiLeaks.
Passed in 1986, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is older than the World Wide Web, which was dreamed up in 1989. A coalition of technology companies—including Google, Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Corp.—is lobbying Congress to update the law to require search warrants in more digital investigations.
The law was designed to give the same protections to electronic communications that were already in place for phone calls and regular mail. But it didn’t envision a time when cellphones transmitted locations and people stored important documents on remote services, such as Gmail, rather than on their own computers.
Law enforcement uses the law to obtain some emails, cellphone-location records and other digital documents without getting a search warrant or showing probable cause that a crime has been committed. Instead the law sets a lower bar: The government must show only “reasonable grounds” that the records would be “relevant and material” to an investigation.
As a result, it can be easier for law-enforcement officers to see a person’s email information than it is to see their postal mail.
Another significant difference: A person whose email is inspected this way often never knows a search was conducted. That’s because court orders under the 1986 law are almost always sealed, and the Internet provider is generally prohibited from notifying the customer whose data is searched. By contrast, search warrants are generally delivered to people whose property is being searched.
The secrecy makes it difficult to determine how often such court orders are used. Anecdotal data suggest that digital searches are becoming common.
In 2009, Google began disclosing the volume of requests for user data it received from the U.S. government. In the six months ending Dec. 31, Google said it received 4,601 requests and complied with 94% of them. The data include all types of requests, including search warrants, subpoenas and requests under the 1986 law.
At a Senate hearing in April on whether the 1986 law needs updating, Associate Deputy Attorney General James A. Baker cautioned Congress “that raising the standard for obtaining information under ECPA may substantially slow criminal and national security investigations.”
In May, the ECPA’s author, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), said the original law is “significantly outdated and outpaced by rapid changes in technology.” He introduced a bill adopting many of the recommendations of the technology coalition lobbying for changes to the law.
Some federal courts have questioned the law’s constitutionality. In a landmark case in December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained 27,000 emails without a search warrant.
“The police may not storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call—unless they get a warrant,” Judge Danny Boggs wrote in the 98-page opinion. “It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an [Internet service provider] to surrender the contents of a subscriber’s emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search.”
In August, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York over-ruled a government request to obtain cellphone location records without a warrant, calling it “Orwellian.” Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote: “It is time that the courts begin to address whether revolutionary changes in technology require changes to existing Fourth Amendment doctrine.” The government has appealed.
The WikiLeaks case became a test bed for the law’s interpretation earlier this year when Twitter fought a court order to turn over records from the accounts of WikiLeaks supporters including Mr. Appelbaum.
Mr. Applebaum is a developer for the Tor Project Inc., a Walpole, Mass., nonprofit that provides free tools that help people maintain their anonymity online. Tor’s tools are often used by people living in countries where Internet traffic is monitored by the government. Tor obtains some of its funding from the U.S. government.
Mr. Appelbaum has also volunteered for WikiLeaks, which recommends people use Tor’s tools to protect their identities when submitting documents to its website. In April 2010, Mr. Appelbaum’s involvement in WikiLeaks was inadvertently disclosed publicly in a blog post on the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists. The reporter, Danny O’Brien, said Mr. Appelbaum had thought he was speaking anonymously. Mr. O’Brien said he later offered to remove Mr. Appelbaum’s name from the post.
After the blog post appeared, Mr. Appelbaum became a public advocate for WikiLeaks. In June, he gave a speech at a Northern California technology camp where he called WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange one of the “biggest inspirations in my life.”
On Dec. 14, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained a court order for information from the Twitter account of people including Mr. Appelbaum and WikiLeaks supporters Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament, and Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch computer programmer. Neither has been charged with wrongdoing.
The order sought the “Internet protocol,” or IP, addresses of the devices from which people logged into their accounts. An IP address is a unique number assigned to a device connected to the Internet.
The order also sought the email addresses of the people with whom those accounts communicated. The order was filed under seal, but Twitter successfully won from the court the right to notify the subscribers whose information was sought.
On Jan. 26, attorneys for Mr. Appelbaum, Mr. Gonggrijp and Ms. Jonsdottir jointly filed a motion to vacate the court order. They argued, among other things, that because IP addresses can be used to locate a person in “specific geographic destinations,” it constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment and thus required a warrant.
The government argued that IP addresses don’t reveal precise location and are more akin to phone numbers. At a Feb. 15 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis said, “this is a standard… investigative measure that is used in criminal investigations every day of the year all over this country.”
On March 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan denied the WikiLeaks supporters’ motion. They have appealed.
Twitter hasn’t turned over information from the accounts of Mr. Appelbaum, Ms. Jonsdottir and Mr. Gonggrijp, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The court orders reviewed by the Journal seek the same type of information that Twitter was asked to turn over. The secret Google order is dated Jan. 4 and directs the search giant to hand over the IP address from which Mr. Appelbaum logged into his gmail.com account and the email and IP addresses of the users with whom he communicated dating back to Nov. 1, 2009. It isn’t clear whether Google fought the order or turned over documents.
The secret Sonic order is dated April 15 and directs Sonic to turn over the same type of information from Mr. Appelbaum’s email account dating back to Nov. 1, 2009.
On Aug. 31, the court agreed to lift the seal on the Sonic order to provide Mr. Appelbaum a copy of it. Sonic Chief Executive Mr. Jasper said the company also sought to unseal the rest of its legal filings but that request “came back virtually entirely denied.”
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