Back-Rank Checkmate of Hillary Clinton

by Bob Stone

18 U.S.C. 1924 reads:   (a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

As Michael B. Mukasey astutely noted in his article in The Wall Street Journal:

Note that it is the information that is protected; the issue doesn’t turn on whether the document or materials bear a classified marking. This is the statute under which David Petraeus—former Army general and Central Intelligence Agency director—was prosecuted for keeping classified information at home. Mrs. Clinton’s holding of classified information on a personal server was a violation of that law. So is transferring that information on a thumb drive to David Kendall, her lawyer.  (Clinton Defies the Law and Common Sense, Michael B. Mukasey, 8/14/2015)

Clinton hit the trifecta under this law by having the server maintained by an IT Firm that was not cleared by the DSS.

While some speculate that a few Clinton loyalists are bound to throw themselves under the bus for Hillary, I confess my ignorance as to how such self-sacrifice would be meaningful much less possible seeing that she instituted the policy by which the classified materials were mishandled.

It’s all over but the lying. 

Perhaps it’s time for Democrats to launch the Biden lifeboat.

See also: Hillary Clinton Keeps Making Untrue Claims About Her Use of a Private Email Server

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39 Responses to Back-Rank Checkmate of Hillary Clinton

  1. randyjet says:

    Sorry, but you take the position that ALL of her infomation is clasified, and that is patently absurd. Then just WHO gets to decide what is clasified or not, and at what time does it become clasified? Then the fact is that she followed the example of Powell and Rice. When you put them on trial, then you can go after her.

  2. bigfatmike says:

    From reason.com “It’s all over but the lying” above: “She declared that by turning over paper copies of emails from her server she’d gone “above and beyond” what was required, saying she “had no obligation to do any of that.” This was not true either; she did have an obligation to hand over those emails.”

    Perhaps you can clarify. I had thought that in the 1990s there were a serious of court cases that determined that agency emails were agency documents that had to be archived and maintained by the agency for various purposes including FOIA.

    It that is true, then it would seem that regardless of the mail system used, any email concerning agency business would have to be an agency document from the moment Clinton pressed send.

    I don’t see how there could be any controversy that Clinton’s emails were agency documents and that she had an obligation to turn over immediately, as soon as they were created.

    Further, I agree that she has a privacy interest in her personal emails. But it seems to me that she forfeited her right to prevent inspection when she withheld and commingled agency documents with her personal email. She has already demonstrated questionable judgment when she withheld agency documents and mixed them with her personal email. Why should we rely on her judgment to separate agency documents from personal email? I think the clear answer is that the State Department and the public should not have to trust her judgment to separate personal email from agency documents.

    Having said that I do realize that Clinton probably made it impossible to be certain that all agency documents were recovered when she wiped her server. Why would a responsible official, who must have known there would be questions, wipe her server? Considering the fact pattern we have, does it make sense to believe that Clinton only deleted and wiped personal emails?

  3. Bob Stone says:

    Randyjet,

    What part of the law says that ALL of the emails must be classified to trigger the statute? I don’t follow that line of reasoning at all.

    Powell and Rice were never accused of mishandling classified information; so how are they relevant?

    You do know that Clinton, unlike Powell and Rice, used her unauthorized private server EXCLUSIVELY for ALL her work email; right?

    “Then just WHO gets to decide what is clasified or not, and at what time does it become clasified?”

    July 24, 2015, Statement from the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community and the Department of State Regarding the Review of Former Secretary Clinton’s Emails

    “The IC IG found four emails containing classified IC-derived information in a limited sample of 40 emails of the 30,000 emails provided by former Secretary Clinton. The four emails, which have not been released through the State FOIA process, did not contain classification markings and/or dissemination controls. These emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather these em ails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today. This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”

  4. po says:

    She is safe.
    Look, she is one of those they won’t go after. The structure is now one that serves solely to make an example of. There is enough looseness around the rules that only the schmuck goes down for breaking them, even when they don’t break them (Jeffrey Sterling.)

    It is obvious to any honest mind that she is guilty of something. She used her personal server in order to hide something, pretty safe bet. However, she is not the first one to have used private email in her capacity, and because of that precedent, going after her will be another “witch-hunt” where her broom is clipped but she still manages to get to destination.

    Ultimately, this will be less a legal/criminal issue and more an image issue. It will help to confirm the nagging suspicions about her moral failings…and I sure hope they are nagging enough to sink her candidacy, preferably before she wins the primaries.

  5. I have been watching this play out with some disinterest. It is not something I lose sleep over. What I suspect is that she is like many busy people of her generation and income status. She does not pay attention to details, has little knowledge of how the internet works, or computers themselves for that matter. Remember GW Bush saying he, “…looked at the google?” Folks like the Clintons came along to positions of high power well before the internet became ubiquitous. Al Gore was an exception. He seemed to revel in the new technology, had a Palm Pilot almost before anyone else, and was instrumental in developing legislation and funding that helped make the internet we now know. He never claimed to have invented it, but without Gore’s pushing, I doubt it would have gotten the widespread acceptance it did. HRC, on the other hand, has a history of trusting others to do the day to day scut work for her. Hand it to an aide or secretary, and whatever it is gets done. This is not a policy issue so much as a failure of awareness.

    Clue from this week. She told a group of young people she was speaking to, to send her their Emojis.

    Really?

    OK, here is mine 🙄

    • bigfatmike says:

      Your privilege to believe whatever you want. But I don’t find that convincing at all.

      I can’t believe that an attorney like Clinton would fail to understand that the agency has an obligation to control and maintain her work product and that she has an obligation to protect and make available that work product to the agency.

      Further, even if the unfortunate events of the server are due to the decisions of some incompetent underling, doesn’t that impugn her judgement as much or more than if she had made the decisions herself? I think so. What is says is that when it comes to her work product, classified materials ( including presumptively classified materials that are protected till vetted), or matters of national security we can’t trust her judgment. That is the best you can make of these events. At worst we have to conclude she believes something like ‘being elite means she does not have to follow the rules or take reasonable precautions’. In either case I don’t think I want her in a position of national importance. Too bad, she is a gifted politician.

  6. po says:

    Chuck, you are too kind!
    I doubt Hillary does anything that doesn’t go through her large coterie of assistants, aides and counsel. That server was set up by others, as was her email.
    I have been telling my kid, the one who takes shortcuts, to always give himself the benefit of the doubt by making it a habit to always do the right thing. You can’t ask for the benefit of the doubt when you tend to act on the side of the doubtful.
    Hillary has ALWAYS acted on the side of the doubtful. This event fits her profile, it is not out of the ordinary of the choices she makes. And she’ll keep making these choices until she pays a high enough price for it…and even then…

  7. Hillary better be more worried about the guy who can draw a crowd of 30,000 in Los Angeles last Saturday. A month ago this week, he drew a crowd of 11,000 at the Convention Center in Phoenix.

    Phoenix?

    That was the largest campaign crowd to date (July 19), by anybody. In Phoenix? Last I heard, that was in Arizona. There probably would have been more, but the Fire Marshal couldn’t let them in.

    Can anyone imagine Joe Biden drawing a crowd like that? Hillary’s campaign is not going according to plan. Here is another Emoji for her. 😯

  8. BFM,
    That was my point. She is clueless. Been an insider too long. It has been a long time since she was rated as one of the hundred best litigators in the country. She has been surrounded by sycophants, aides, secretaries and other assorted helpers and handlers until she is completely out of touch with day to day operations. No longer the gimlet eyed lawyer who never missed a jot or tittle.

    So yes. I think she has been careless. She also, as Po mentions, has walked on the thin edge of legality for most of her life, from all I can ascertain. I think that is a moral failing.

    However, I still maintain that she is like many of her age group, not a child of the internet. Given her job description, she should have made it her business to learn, but she didn’t. I am older than she is, but I learned. It’s not impossible for an old dog to learn new tricks.

  9. pete says:

    I like the #blacklivesmatter protesters at a JEB! campaign event in Las Vegas. If you look at the room you realize there are more protesters than Jeb supporters.

    I guess I’m just suffering from media/republican induced OhshitlookwhatHillary’sdonenowfauxoutrage. Show me evidence she ordered someone waterboarded and I’ll worry. I just don’t want pre-purchased politicians.

    Feel the Bern.

  10. This whole servergate thing is rather wonky…the American media needs a SALACIOUS easy to understand Lord Whatsits sort of scandal replete with cocaine and prostitutes to divert us all from the real story of how the US, NATO and the other usual suspects created the failed state mess that is causing the influx of immigrants into Europe and eliciting the usual xenophobic response. We peasants need to get our pitchforks in order and point them in the right direction for once.

  11. “Feel the Bern.”

    I like it. :mrgreen:

  12. Mary, how about comparing HRC’s treatment of classified info to sending it through US mail on the back of a post card?

    Whatever we can attribute HRC’s treatment of classified information to – carelessness, hubris, ineptitude, etc, etc, – does not speak well for someone who wants us to trust her with the presidency. A good many of the emails can be recovered IF other government employees were recipients. Take a sample of messages from those email accounts that were to or from HRC and that were (or should have been) classified, and then find whether those messages are in the messages she pulled off her server before destroying it.

    HRC is better than any of the republican clown brigade, but she most definitely is not the best we can do.

  13. ann summers says:

    “Clinton hit the trifecta under this law by having the server maintained by an IT Firm that was not cleared by the DSS.” Wash’t this piece of hardware just the retasked post-presidential server of Bubba’s, so it should have been vetted by Secret Service/DHS

  14. Bob Stone says:

    “so it should have been vetted by Secret Service/DHS”

    Yeah…

    Hillary’s email firm was run from a loft apartment with its servers in the BATHROOM, raising new questions over security of sensitive messages she held

    “The IT company Hilary Clinton chose to maintain her private email account was run from a loft apartment and its servers were housed in the bathroom closet, Daily Mail Online can reveal.

    Daily Mail Online tracked down ex-employees of Platte River Networks in Denver, Colorado, who revealed the outfit’s strong links to the Democratic Party but expressed shock that the 2016 presidential candidate chose the small private company for such a sensitive job.

    One, Tera Dadiotis, called it ‘a mom and pop shop’ which was an excellent place to work, but hardly seemed likely to be used to secure state secrets. And Tom Welch, who helped found the company, confirmed the servers were in a bathroom closet.

    Speaking to Daily Mail Online at her home in Castle Rock, Colorado, Tera said: ‘I think it’s really bizarre, I don’t know how that relationship evolved.

    ‘At the time I worked for them they wouldn’t have been equipped to work for Hilary Clinton because I don’t think they had the resources, they were based out of a loft, so [it was] not very high security, we didn’t even have an alarm.

    ‘I don’t know how they run their operation now, but we literally had our server racks in the bathroom. I mean knowing how small Platte River Networks… I don’t see how that would be secure [enough for Clinton].’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3201367/Hillary-s-email-firm-run-loft-apartment-servers-BATHROOM-raising-new-questions-security-sensitive-messages-held.html

    • randyjet says:

      As a matter of fact, being such a small place is a good cover. The best places to hide things are the most inconspicuous. Even Kerry who presumably is using the “secure” sites of State assumes his mails and phone calls are all open to hackers. I think that is a reasonable assumption given the history of espionage.

      • bigfatmike says:

        “As a matter of fact, being such a small place is a good cover. The best places to hide things are the most inconspicuous. Even Kerry who presumably is using the “secure” sites of State assumes his mails and phone calls are all open to hackers. I think that is a reasonable assumption given the history of espionage.”

        What, exactly, is inconspicuous about an email server? Doesn’t every email have routing information that in effect says ‘this is my source, this is how to find me’?

        Isn’t there a huge difference between assuming your adversaries have compromised security despite your best efforts – as in the case of Kerry, and using an email server and an admin server that a precocious teenager in middle school computer lab could violate?

        Not only did Clinton use singularly bad judgment setting up her own email server. Apparently her choice of IT staff provided a second and likely much easier target. Her IT staff apparently used a second server, presumably, for administrative purposes. That admin server was in a location available to anyone working in the IT support company and perhaps any of their clients and visitors as well. Admin access to that server would likely have required little more than some spear fishing and social hacking. Access to the admin server would provide root access to Clinton’s email server with all its classified information.

        It is almost as though someone set out to set up an easily compromised system!!! First get all the emails outside government security. Then provide admin access to the target in the form of an administrative server that is both easily physically compromised, and run by staff who may have little idea the value of the target with no training in federal-level security practices – do we have even a hint that NSA advised, trained, or provided support to this company?

        As for the location of the server being obscure: Isn’t the whole point of state level hacking to sniff out high value targets and exploit them? How much higher value could a US target possible get – OK – President of the US, Director of US intelligence, Director of home land security … anybody else come to mind?

        If its all the same to you guys, I think I don’t want Clinton holding my wallet. If Clinton is my neighbor, the last thing I am going to do is give her a set of keys in case I lock myself out of the house. Let Clinton be chief security officer for the entire US – I think not, not a bit, not at all, not if my vote counts.

  15. At a news conference, HRC got a Politico reporter’s knickers in a twist because she became “testy.”
    Peter Daou had an observation:

  16. Bob Stone says:

    As a matter of fact, being such a small place is a good cover. The best places to hide things are the most inconspicuous. Even Kerry who presumably is using the “secure” sites of State assumes his mails and phone calls are all open to hackers. I think that is a reasonable assumption given the history of espionage.

    Holy crap! Since you’re a pilot, I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you don’t lie to yourself that much during pre-flight checks.

    Why Clinton’s Private Email Server Was Such a Security Fail

    http://www.wired.com/2015/03/clintons-email-server-vulnerable/

    Why the Clinton email server story matters — and why it may be worse than you think

    http://www.geekwire.com/2015/why-the-clinton-email-server-story-matters-and-why-it-may-be-worse-than-you-think/

    • randyjet says:

      While I support Bernie, this so called scandal is blown out of proportion since from what I have read, she simply did what her predecessors did. Now if you want to go after Powell and Rice for this, then you will have some standing. I also held a top secret clearance when I was in the USAF and was stationed at a top secret base which is now in the news, Incirlik. The security system is so full of bogus “secrets” that I have a very jaundiced view of the claims of secrecy. To give but one example, Valerie Plame had her book censored by the CIA and she left in all the blacked out parts in the text. After a number of pages, I finally figured out where her first posting was. It was Athens. Now how her first posting 30 years ago is a state secret is relevant or is a secret that needs to be protected. Yet the Bush administration felt that her current work in the CIA was NOT a legitimate secret, and cost her the job she loved. That it was so widely known is a question the CIA and other so called high officials in security matters did not bother checking out. So please spare us the propoganda from the GOP.

  17. rafflaw says:

    As mentioned earlier, Feel the Bern!

  18. Bob Stone says:

    this so called scandal is blown out of proportion since from what I have read, she simply did what her predecessors did. Now if you want to go after Powell and Rice for this, then you will have some standing.

    Just a few differences off the top of my head:

    Powell didn’t operate his own server and exercise complete dominion and control over ALL email correspondence for the office of Secretary of State.

    Powell wasn’t accused of mishandling classified information.

    Powell didn’t retain any emails.

    Powell didn’t destroy any emails.

    Powell wasn’t subject to the same regulations as instituted when Clinton was Secretary.

    • randyjet says:

      From what I have read Clinton did exactly the same as both Rice and Powell The law was changed post Clinton’s term as far as preserving records. All of the legal experts who I have read say that she broke NO laws. So you are wrong about the e-mails and turning over records.

  19. Bob Stone says:

    Randyjet,

    It’s one thing to use a private email account; it’s quite another to funnel ALL OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE EMAIL into a private server neither run, secured, known to nor approved by the U.S. government.

    The only way Clinton could have avoided breaking the law from that point on is if every single one of her emails, during her four year tenure, was not classified.

  20. gbk says:

    Bob,

    Just for the sake of argument:

    “Powell wasn’t accused of mishandling classified information.”

    No, he just lied his ass off at the UN, and knew he was doing so.

    “Powell didn’t retain any emails.”

    How do you know this?

    “Powell didn’t destroy any emails.”

    How do you know this?

    Assumptive, in my opinion.

    Before you get all wanked out, understand that I think governance in this country is broken, hopefully not beyond repair, but I have my doubts.

    I would expect you to take a broader perspective given the inclination of corruption of government.

  21. Bob Stone says:

    Gbk,

    Your lamenting the state of governance in this country does not lessen the culpability of Clinton.

    What she did was monumentally selfish and stupid.

    The only reason one would go to the lengths she did to retain control over all her communications, which officially belong to the U.S. Government, while repeatedly lying about it, is to hide what she was actually doing.

    You don’t wipe a server completely to make sure no one reads about your wedding planning or yoga classes.

  22. Bob Stone says:

    In December 2011, Chelsea Manning’s court-martial was set to begin. None of the documents at issue in that prosecution was “top secret,” unlike the documents found on Hillary Clinton’s server. Nonetheless, the then-secretary of state convened a press conference to denounce Manning and defend the prosecution. This is what she said:

    If his case goes to trial and he is convicted, Manning could face life in prison. The government has said it would not seek the death penalty.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Manning’s alleged actions damaging and unfortunate in remarks to reporters at the State Department on Thursday.

    “I think that in an age where so much information is flying through cyberspace, we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so,” Clinton said.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/12/hillary-clinton-sanctity-protecting-classified-information/

  23. Hillary Clinton’s emails, data erased from server before handed to FBI | US news | The Guardian
    Associated Press in Washington
    Wednesday 19 August 2015 22.20 EDT

    Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer has told a senate committee that emails and all other data stored on the Democratic presidential hopeful’s private server were erased before it was turned over to US government authorities.

    In a letter sent last week to Ron Johnson, chairman of the senate homeland security committee, attorney David Kendall said the server was transferred to the FBI on 12 August by Platte River Networks, a Denver firm hired by Clinton to oversee it. The senate committee made Kendall’s letter public on Wednesday. In exchanges with reporters earlier this week Clinton said she did not know whether the data on her server had been erased.

    Federal investigators, prompted by a request from the inspector general for the state department, requested custody of the server to learn whether the data stored on it was secure. NBC News has reported that an FBI team is now examining the server. Forensics experts said some emails and other data may still be extracted from servers even after deletion.

    Continued Hillary Clinton's emails, data erased from server before handed to FBI | US news | The Guardian.

  24. As some here already know, I have more than a passing interest in internet and computer security. I also have contacts who have given me a plethora of information on how things are done and some of the capabilities of forensic cybernetics. Don’t ask me how I know this, but it is now possible to dig down through as many as eight layers of erasures. By the time one gets to the bottom layer, the information is quite fragmented. The computer forensics expert must reassemble the data. I was struggling to come up with a real world analogue for this procedure. Then it hit me that when the intelligence ship Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans, they reassembled shredded documents in somewhat the manner of a jigsaw puzzle.

    When Lt. Col. Oliver North wiped his hard drives, that was back in the old DOS days, but he forgot about a guy named Peter Norton. That erasure was relatively easy to undelete with Norton Utilities. North was prosecuted and convicted on felony charges, but the conviction was thrown out on appeal. Seems one branch of the government had given him qualified immunity, but another branch prosecuted him. But, the point is, data that was previously inaccessible is now salvageable in everything but the most extreme case.

    Let’s see how they do with the HRC hard drives.

    A new development that just occurs to me is how salvageable are data erased from a solid state hard drive. I am running 1-terabyte internal hard drives on both my office computer and the home computer I am using now. Since there is no magnetic disc, I have to wonder if solid states leave enough footprints in the butter for the CIA and NSA wizards to recover anything.

  25. gbk says:

    Bob,

    “Your lamenting the state of governance in this country does not lessen the culpability of Clinton.”

    As I said: for the sake of argument.

    I don’t give a shit about HRC, she will be consumed by her own illusions. I just wanted to point out that:

    “Powell wasn’t accused of mishandling classified information.”

    No, he just lied his ass off at the UN, and knew he was doing so.

    “Powell didn’t retain any emails.”

    How do you know this?

    “Powell didn’t destroy any emails.”

    How do you know this?

    Assumptive, in my opinion.

    Do you understand that you pick your burdens in the causes you argue, and that you wither alliances due to your brashness of tone?

    I wish I had your faith in government of any level, and could find something approaching your partisan blindness.

    But you keep going, dog. Point out the obvious, while ignoring that your feet also sully the ground.

  26. gbk says:

    Bob,

    Your dogs might like this, as recourse is blinded by the obvious:

  27. gbk says:

    Chuck,

    “By the time one gets to the bottom layer, the information is quite fragmented. The computer forensics expert must reassemble the data. I was struggling to come up with a real world analogue for this procedure.”

    There is no “bottom layer.” It is side remnants of track positioning due to errors in the servo feedback of positioning the read/write heads.

    One wipes a disk by opening it up, ripping the platters out, and smashing them with a hammer.

    Otherwise, this happens:

  28. gbk,
    One should never try to write at 1:30AM after a long day and a glass of The Macallan. I wasn’t clear. According to the way it was explained to me, eight wipes of a hard disc are about as many layers as can be recovered with any reliability. After that, stuff is so fragmented, it is extremely hard to recover more than a fractional fragment here and there.

    As for your final observation, my friend who runs a computer repair shop keeps a two pound ball peen hammer under his workbench. He says he uses it a lot.

    I am still wondering about solid state hard drives. How reliably can one erase everything on a solid state drive? One wipe, or do you need to take a blowtorch to it? Since memory chips have become microscopic, even a large ball peen hammer might miss something important.

  29. Aridog says:

    I commented earlier here or somewhere that to “wipe” a hard drive one needs an acetylene torch (to melt), a metal break (to bend), and metal shear (to cut in half) and a 9 pound sledge to finish the work. I actually used those devices to comply with DOD requirements at times. I had a 9 overwrite bit of software, but why take chances?

  30. Aridog says:

    If Hillary is not indicted and convicted there is no honest justice. I’ve handled classified DOD/DA information and if I had made 1/10th of her errors I’d be in jail as I write this. Good grief, even Gen Petraeus (sic?) was charged and convicted for less by far.

  31. Aridog says:

    To clarify…my use of various tools to destroy hard drives had to do with DOD requirements to NOT leave a HDD readable in any computer of any kind that was to be disposed…the more intelligence sensitive the more intense the destruction. We gave many PC’s to schools who only had to buy HDD’s and install an OS. If a fully solid state PC today it would have to be totally destroyed….the acetylene torch being a primary tool. It was always a serious matter and we always complied.

  32. Given there was a second data dump of Ashley Madison files today, HRC’s goof pales in comparison. The first data dump was 10GB, The one today was twice as big. Twenty gigabytes of compressed data. Servers used include DoD, Congress and various other government offices. What this proves is what security people have been saying for a long time. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is truly secure on the internet.

    There is simply too much to pore over in the short time since the data release, but some folks in high places are sweating bullets.

    I read a comment by a lawyer who said this is the best thing to happen for divorce lawyers in a long time.

  33. Aridog says:

    It may pale in comparison, but it is criminal, and if she’s not indicted and convicted, there is no justice…we simply kid ourselves if we think there is such a thing. As for the Ashely Madison files…I hope all those implicated are sweating more than bullets and face some charges too. However, hiring a whore is not the same as what Hillary did, so I don’t expect much from any of it. We are so down to tube.

  34. Bob Stone says:

    Chuck,

    Ashley Madison didn’t store classified documents. Hillary took it upon herself to host the server that held ALL of the documents that were emailed to and from her office.

    She castled herself down her own corridor; thus back-rank checkmate.

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