One of the Hillary Clinton emails exposed by Wikileaks immediately caught my attention. As a (retired) career intelligence professional, I recognized this one as particularly worrisome.
In the 2 August, 2010 email, then Secretary of State Clinton asks aide Huma Abedin
Maybe one of Anthony’s trusted staff could deliver secure phone?
“Anthony” being Abedin’s now estranged husband and disgraced New York politician, Anthony Weiner. Abedin responded:
Ok I will [redacted] just fedex secure cell phone from dc. Anthony leaving office to bring me to airport now so hopefully will make it just in time.
Assuming the transfer of a secure communications device was accomplished by giving or transporting it to unauthorized persons or through unauthorized/unsecured carriers, either by commercial carrier (Fedex) or Weiner or someone from his staff, Secretary Clinton violated the Espionage Act (see below).
Had “bad actors” gotten possession of the secure telephone, encryption software, special electronics or extremely sensitive communications algorithms would have been jeopardized. It would also possible that the phone would have been “bugged.”
At the time, Anthony Weiner was a U.S. Congressman from New York. It was less than a year after the email was sent that a lewd photo appear on Weiner’s Twitter account. That photo, and subsequent images and texts led to Weiner’s political downfall and the demise of his marriage. It is not beyond comprehension to consider that someone knew about Weiner’s sexual proclivities. Given those circumstances, he would have been an excellent candidate for extortion.
Weiner’s indiscretions aside, the law was broken because neither he, nor a “trusted staff” member were authorized to handle the secure cell phone. Even though Weiner, as a member of Congress, had certain security clearances, they would NOT have been as high or specific as that of the Secretary of State.
The relevant section of the “Espionage Act” reads (emphasis added):
U.S. Code Title 18 > Part I › Chapter 37 › § 793(f) “Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(g) If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.”
Allowing the possession and transfer of a sensitive, secure communications device, Hillary Clinton is clearly in violation of the law.