Former security officials with the State Department don’t believe Hillary Clinton’s excuse that she didn’t know some of the emails she handled and stored on her private server contained top secret information.
The emails would have contained sensitive “keywords” that would separate them from normal emails, former officials told the New York Post.
The secretary would have known better, the department officials say, because she was trained to understand the difference when she was “read in” on procedures to ID and handle classified information by diplomatic-security officials in 2009.
Clinton also went through a so-called “read-off” when she left office in 2013. In that debriefing, security officials reminded her of her duty to return all classified documents, including ones in which the classification status is “uncertain,” which would have included the e-mails stored on her private server — which she only this month turned over to authorities. The read-off would have included her signing a nondisclosure agreement.
“Once she resigned as secretary, she needed to return classified documents and other government-owned documents, which in this case would have included the server,” veteran Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Raymond Fournier said.
US intelligence officials so far have determined that at least four — and as many as 305 — of the more than 30,000 e-mails Clinton and her aides have printed out and turned over to investigators were classified at the time they were written.
They include a 2011 message from Clinton’s top aides that contains military intelligence from United States Africa Command gleaned from satellite images of troop movements in Libya, along with the travel and protection plans for Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was later killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Another staff e-mail sent to Clinton in 2012 contained investigative data about Benghazi terrorist suspects wanted by the FBI.
The officials told the Post that Clinton’s aides took SCI (sensitive compartmented information) intelligence, which is only supposed to be transferred securely via hard copy in bound books and read only in secure read rooms, and transferred it to digital form which could have caused “grave danger.”
Despite her claims that she didn’t receive any specifically marked classified information security officials dispute that.
“That’s total BS,” said retired Army Col. Larry Mrozinski, who served almost four years as a senior military adviser and security manager in the State Department under both Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
He says Clinton easily would have ID’d the material as classified based on “keywords and phrases” and the fact that the information came from foreign sources.
“TS/SCI is very serious and specific information that jumps out at you and screams ‘classified,’ ” Mrozinski said. “The sources [of the information] also drive and signal sensitivity.”
He added: “It’s hard to imagine that in her position she would fail to recognize the obvious.”
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