Was Hillary Clinton just arrogant and ignorant (which is a decisively bad combination as it is) or did she knowingly traffic in state secrets on an unsecure server?
That’s pretty much what the entire, protracted investigation into her e-mail habits when she was the nation’s top diplomat boils down to. If she was simply arrogant and ignorant, she didn’t lie under oath. If she knew what she was doing was a bad idea when she was doing it, then she probably committed perjury, and obviously that’s no good.
Thanks to Judicial Watch, we now have new evidence to suggest that Clinton’s “I didn’t know” excuse is pure fiction. According to new documents obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group, Clinton lobbied (in the figurative sense of the word) the NSA for secure BlackBerrys that she and her staff could use inside Mahogany Row, the nickname given to the set of offices reserved for senior officials in the Department of State.
An e-mail from Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security Donald R. Reid reads as follows:
[W]e began examining options for S [Secretary Clinton] with respect to secure “Blackberry-like” communications … the current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State and is very expensive…While our noses are out of joint for how this was handled, the issue will be what kind of support will NSA be offering to meet S demands (basically, wireless comm in Mahogany Row) …
Another e-mail finds Reid discussing Clinton’s BlackBerry addiction:
The issue here is one of personal comfort … S [Secretary Clinton] does not use a personal computer so our view of someone wedded to their email (why doesn’t she use her desktop when in SCIF?) doesn’t fit this scenario … during the campaign she was urged to keep in contact with thousands via a BB … once she got the hang of it she was hooked … now everyday [sic], she feels hamstrung because she has to lock her BB up … she does go out several times a day to an office they have crafted for her outside the SCIF and plays email catch up … Cheryl Mills and others who are dedicated BB addicts are frustrated because they too are not near their desktop very often during the working day…
It gets comical from there.
Apparently, Clinton and Mills (who we profiled here, for those interested in the Clinton-BlackRock connection) were “addicts” in the true sense of the word. When they were told “no” they tried to get around it - twice.
First, they tried asking what kind of arrangements were made for Obama. When they were stonewalled, Mills asked why Condoleezza Rice and her staff got wavers but Clinton and her staff didn’t. To that question, the NSA answered as follows (and this is a quote from an e-mail sent by an unidentified source): “Use expanded to an unmanageable number of users from a security perspective, so those waivers were phased out and Blackberry use was not allowed in her suite.”
“The department's designated NSA liaison, whose name was redacted from the documents, expressed concerns about security vulnerabilities inherent with using BlackBerry devices for secure communications or in secure areas,” AP reports, adding that “Clinton began sending work-related emails through private accounts soon after, in March 2009.”
The full set of documents is embedded below.
Ok, so what’s the point, other than that Hillary Clinton is arrogant and isn’t used to being told “no”? For the answer we go to Judicial Watch’s president Tom Fitton who explains that “these documents show that Hillary Clinton knew her BlackBerry wasn't secure."
He continues: "Then why did she use it to access classified information on her illicit email server? The FBI and prosecutors ought to be very interested in these new materials.”
There you have it. Generally speaking then, this throws cold water on the idea that Clinton was ignorant to matters of cybersecurity and encryption and thus likely knew that using her home server to send work related e-mail was a poor decision from a national security perspective. More specifically, though, this seems to indicate that Clinton knowingly sent e-mail from an unsecure device.
Now at this juncture you might be asking yourself, "what difference does it make?!"
After all, Clinton is one of the most entrenched members of America’s political aristocracy and is without question one of the most influential power brokers in Washington. As such, she'll almost assuredly never be prosecuted.
But it's just that kind of ill-begotten, Washington privilege that has pushed so many Americans to vote for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. So maybe it's a blessing in disguise.