Proof of Hillary's guilt

Hillary Clinton's email server calls into question her standing to run for president / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Should Hillary Clinton prevail in getting the Democratic nomination over upstart Bernie Sanders for president, then the specter of her private email server (extent of top secret documents) takes on even more significance, especially with an ongoing FBI investigation.
 
Stan Escudero of Daytona Beach Shores, Fla. / Headline Surfer®By STAN ESCUDERO
The Guidepost

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DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. -- Many Americans have never seen or handled classified information. Those who have will recall the rigors associated with its use and protection.

Based on my 33 years with the Department of State, including nine years as an ambassador, let me review for you how State does this. And you'll see why it's relevant in calling into question Hillary Clinton's run for president. 

Classified information may be deemed "confidential," "secret or "top secret."  

Very sensitive top secret information may be compartmentalized depending on the type or source of the information involved, assigned a separate code word classification for each compartment and available only to those with special clearances enabling them to see such data.

For example, data regarding nuclear weapons, or obtained via satellite, sensitive human sources, intercepts, etc, might each have a separate code worded compartment. Among the very highest and most sensitive of these compartments is that designated Special Program Access.

In all my 33 years with State I never saw an SPA document because I never had a need to know such information. Suppose (with no basis in fact) that Russian President Vladimir Putin were actually an American spy. Or suppose (again untrue as far as I know) that our government is secretly in contact with beings from another planet. Those facts and any information provided by those sources as well as the means by which the information was provided would probably be classified Top Secret SPA.

Some 22 such documents containing information classified at the Top Secret SPA level have been found on Hillary Clinton's private unclassified server, totally unprotected against hacking by foreign intelligence services or even individual hackers, with their classification markings removed.

Some 22 such documents containing information classified at the Top Secret SPA level have been found on Hillary Clinton's private unclassified server, totally unprotected against hacking by foreign intelligence services or even individual hackers, with their classification markings removed. 

At least some of these came from agencies or departments other than State and were certainly sent out with appropriate markings of classification.

Everyone employed by the Department of State and granted a security clearance receives a detailed briefing and training on the importance of and requirements to protect classified information, with special emphasis on the protection of sources and methods.

That certainly includes the Secretary of State and her senior aides. Every employee, including the Secretary and her senior aides, also signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement and a detailed oath pledging under penalty of law to observe the laws and regulations regarding such protection.

If Hillary and her aides failed to perform these duties, that too, would be a violation and would not provide a basis for any of them to claim ignorance of law or regulation.

I understand that on Jan. 22, 2009, Hillary signed two NDA’s and received a security briefing.

The standard NDA, referring to a breach in the protection of sensitive compartmentalized information or SCI, requires the signatory (in this case Hillary) to acknowledge that a breach could result in “termination of my access to SCI and removal from a position of special confidence and trust requiring such access as well as the termination of my employment or any other relationships with any Department or Agency that provides me with access to SCI.”

Paragraph 2 of the NDA requires the signatory to acknowledge that she received, “a security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of classified information including the procedures to be followed when ascertaining whether other persons to whom you contemplate disclosing this information have been approved for access to it.”

As a condition of access to Top Secret and above classified information, Hillary was required to verbally attest to her understanding of and willingness to comply with the procedures of her NDA, which had to be signed as a condition of her access to Top Secret information.

Incidentally, Top Secret is the classification reserved for “information the unauthorized disclosure of which would cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” Because of its sensitivity, “Classified information may be processed by automated systems but only by those systems which have been approved for such use.” This definition excludes Hillary’s server.

Hillary’s lawyers will argue that her activities and server did not constitute what the law requires “a knowing, willful or negligent unauthorized use or disclosure” because she could not have known that the data in question was classified as it included no markings of classification.

Section 2001.45 of the Information Security Oversight Office, Doctrine No. 1, requires that classified information “be transmitted and received in an authorized manner that facilitates detection of tampering and precludes inadvertent access.”

And 18 US Code, Section 1924 (a) states that “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.”

If indicted and convicted, Hillary Clinton could get as much as one year in prison and a fine of $1,000 for knowingly removing classified information from protected systems without proper authorization and with the intention of keeping that material at an unauthorized location.

More importantly, indictment should defeat any hope she might harbor of becoming president of the United States.

If indicted and convicted, Hillary Clinton could get as much as one year in prison and a fine of $1,000 for knowingly removing classified information from protected systems without proper authorization and with the intention of keeping that material at an unauthorized location. More importantly, indictment should defeat any hope she might harbor of becoming president of the United States.

With all of that in mind, consider that the level of classification of a document is determined by the drafting officer and by the agency (the originator) for which he or she is employed. One department or agency may share its highly classified documents with another under the strict legal requirement that such documents will be protected by the receiver as they would have been by the originator.

The Secretary of State has declassification authority, that is, she can downgrade or remove a classification altogether, but ONLY for classified data originated within the Department of State.

For information originating elsewhere in government she must request declassification from the originating department or agency and there is a specific procedure which this must follow.

That means that a classified document originated, for example, by the CIA and shared with the Department of State must remain fully protected at the classification it held when sent out by the CIA unless and until the CIA, or the President, determines otherwise.

Computers used for classified operations within State and at embassies abroad are shielded against penetration. But even to discuss information above a certain level you are required to go to a specially constructed secure room which we called a “bubble.”

In the State Department employees must enter a special area called the “skiff” to access information classified above a certain level. State Department employees, steeped as we were in the need to protect classified information, would not remove classified markings from such documents unless instructed to do so by higher authority and the greater probability is that only political appointees and not career officers would do so even then. 

It is more likely that one or more of Hillary’s senior appointed aides, Huma Adedin, Cheryl Mills or Jake Sullivan, physically removed the classification markings before they were sent to Hillary’s private server.

One email has been found in which Clinton instructs Sullivan to do exactly that with a classified document which apparently originated within State but even then she did not follow declassification procedure. Given what has been found on the server, it is unlikely that this was the first time this had happened or that she instructed that the markings be removed only for State-originated documents.

Hillary has often stated publicly that her particular use of her private unclassified server was permitted by the Department of State. This would have to include not only the existence and use of the server but its location at her home and its later backup and storage by a private firm in another state.

Even for the Secretary, such permission would require a written determination from the Legal Division (“L”) of State and almost certainly from the White House.

She has never produced any legal decision or other document permitting her private server use and storage of government information. Hillary chided the US Ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya, for using an unclassified system to send classified data but continued to do so herself.

From the above, the following is true beyond question:

1.) Hillary knew that information sent to and stored on her private unclassified server was highly classified.

2.) Hillary knew that her establishment and use of a private server for classified government business was a violation of her oath, NDA and of federal law.

3.) Possibly at her instruction classified markings were illegally removed from the most sensitive documents evidently before they reached her private unclassified server but this did not alter the classified nature of the information contained in those documents or on her server.

4.) Hillary knew that her use and location of her private unclassified server at her home and her decision to employ a private sector firm to backup and store that server was a further violation of federal law and her oath, as well as a serious risk to national security.

5.) Hillary knew that any messages sent from her private server, even if not marked classified at the time they were sent, were in fact classified if the information contained in the messages was or should have been classified. The fact is, Hillary Clinton is guilty as sin.

If the FBI is to continue to be regarded as objective and not politicized it must recommend indictment. Some predict a massive FBI protest and scandal if the Department of Justice is not permitted to issue an indictment. That may or may not happen but it cannot be disputed that DOJ failure to act in such a blatant case would be proof positive that the Obama Administration has elevated the level of and dedication to corruption within government to a point which beggars the imagination.

There was a time when the Democrat Party was an honorable movement of men and women with integrity, dedicated to the protection and improvement of the United States, its values and interests.

Today, they are moving toward nomination for the presidency of a woman who has shown herself, over and over again, to be a lying, hypocritical, blatantly corrupt serial failure and thief who believes that laws and regulations apply to everyone but herself and her family.

Should Hillary Clinton not be indicted, there are strong indications that she and the White House are looking instead to throw some of her senior aides under the bus.

There was a time when the Democrat Party was an honorable movement of men and women with integrity, dedicated to the protection and improvement of the United States, its values and interests. Today, they are moving toward nomination for the presidency of a woman who has shown herself, over and over again, to be a lying, hypocritical, blatantly corrupt serial failure and thief who believes that laws and regulations apply to everyone but herself and her family. Should Hillary Clinton not be indicted, there are strong indications that she and the White House are looking instead to throw some of her senior aides under the bus. 

But this would not remove Hillary’s guilt – it would only be a last desperate attempt to save Clinton from the punishment she so richly deserves. Should she nevertheless be nominated, or worse, should she win the presidency, there will be no reason why any American should ever against trust the word of our government.

Stan Escudero
March 29, 2016
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Short Bio

The Guidepost By Stanley Escudero
Stanley Escudero is a retired career diplomat, businessman & native Floridian, who lives in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, with his wife, Jaye. He served as chairman of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee in 2011-2012. Escudero was appointed to the Daytona State College Board of Trustees in 2015, By Gov. Rick Scott. Escudero, writer of the 'The Guidepost' politcal column since 2010, is a member of the inaugural Class of 2017 Headline Surfer Hall of Fame. All news content copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, which may not be duplicated or re-published in whole or in part without advance approval of the publisher. Headline Surfer® is published by award-winning journalist Henry Frederick.