An email containing the whereabouts and plans of murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens passed through Hillary Clinton’s private server, dispatches released Monday in the final group of messages from Clinton’s emails reveal.
The email was actually first released last May but was contained in Monday’s batch as well, serving as a reminder that numerous emails sent to Clinton’s private address betrayed Stevens’ location while he was stationed in arguably one of the most dangerous zones in the world for an American diplomat.
The email in question was written Sunday, April 10, 2011 by State employee Timmy Davis and sent to the State email addresses of other employees, including Clinton’s then-foreign policy aide, Jacob Sullivan and Clinton’s senior aide.
Abedin forwarded the message to Clinton. At the time, Stevens was the U.S. envoy to the Libyan rebels.
The dispatch read:
The situation in Ajdabiyah has worsened to the point where Stevens is considering departure from Benghazi. The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout (paying the hotel bills, moving some comms to the boat, etc). He will monitor the situation to see if it deteriorates further, but no decision has been made on departure. He will wait 2-3 more hours, then revisit the decision on departure.
The email is one of several giving away Stevens’ location and movements.
A March 27, 2011 email released last year was titled, “Chris Stevens mission.” It divulged: “The current game plan is for Mr. Stevens to move no later than Wednesday from Malta to Benghazi. He will stage offshore initially for a one day visit during which he will have meetings with TNC interlocutors and get a sense of the situation on the ground. The goal of this one day trip is for him to lay the groundwork for a stay of up to 30 days.”
An April 8, 2011 email was forwarded to Clinton revealing the “security situation in Benghazi remains quiet. Chris Stevens & team are in the hotel, moving only for meetings as required.”
An April 22, 2011 email revealed Stevens was on the road: “I want to let you know about a temporary rotation in Benghazi. TNC Envoy Chris Stevens has been on the road since March 13, when he began his outreach mission, and has been in Benghazi since April 5.”
An April 24, 2011 email has the exact time of a Stevens meeting: “”Stevens will be meeting with MFA in one hour and will make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination. He still feels comfortable in the hotel. They are looking into the idea of moving into a villa,but that is some way off.”
Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence” – and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a U.S. government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and was limited in discussing the contents because of their highly classified nature, was referring to the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails that the State Department announced Friday it could not release in any form, even with entire sections redacted.
The announcement fueled criticism of Clinton’s handling of highly sensitive information while secretary of state, even as the Clinton campaign continued to downplay the matter as the product of an interagency dispute over classification. But the U.S. government official’s description provides confirmation that the emails contained closely held government secrets. “Operational intelligence” can be real-time information about intelligence collection, sources and the movement of assets.
The official emphasized that the “TOP SECRET” documents were sent over an extended period of time – from shortly after the server’s 2009 installation until early 2013 when Clinton stepped down as secretary of state.
Separately, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who sits on the House intelligence committee, said the former secretary of state, senator, and Yale-trained lawyer had to know what she was dealing with.
“There is no way that someone, a senior government official who has been handling classified information for a good chunk of their adult life, could not have known that this information ought to be classified, whether it was marked or not,” he said. “Anyone with the capacity to read and an understanding of American national security, an 8th grade reading level or above, would understand that the release of this information or the potential breach of a non-secure system presented risk to American national security.”
Pompeo also suggested the military and intelligence communities have had to change operations, because the Clinton server could have been compromised by a third party.
“Anytime our national security team determines that there’s a potential breach, that is information that might potentially have fallen into the hands of the Iranians, or the Russians, or the Chinese, or just hackers, that they begin to operate in a manner that assumes that information has in fact gotten out,” Pompeo said.
On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, one day before the Iowa caucuses, Clinton claimed ignorance on the sensitivity of the materials and stressed that they weren’t marked.
“There is no classified marked information on those emails sent or received by me,” she said, adding that “Republicans are going to continue to use it [to] beat up on me.”
Clinton was pressed in the same ABC interview on her signed 2009 non-disclosure agreement which acknowledged that markings are irrelevant, undercutting her central explanation. The agreement states “classified information is marked or unmarked… including oral communications.”
Clinton pointed to her aides, saying: “When you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain had thought that this was classified and that was not the case.”
But according to national security legal experts, security clearance holders are required to speak up when classified information is not in secure channels.
“Everybody who has a security clearance has an individual obligation to protect the information,” said national security attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling in the high-profile leak investigation regarding a New York Times reporter. “Just because somebody sends it to you… you can’t just turn a blind eye and pretend it never happened and pretend it’s unclassified information.”
These rules, known as the Code of Federal Regulations, apply to U.S. government employees with security clearances and state there is an obligation to report any possible breach by both the sender and the receiver of the information. The rules state: “Any person who has knowledge that classified information has been or may have been lost, possibly compromised or disclosed to an unauthorized person shall immediately report the circumstances to an official designated for this purpose.”
The Clinton campaign is now calling for the 22 “TOP SECRET” emails to be released, but this is not entirely the State Department’s call since the intelligence came from other agencies, which have final say on classification and handling.
“The State Department has no authority to release those emails and I do think that Secretary Clinton most assuredly knows that,” Pompeo said.
Meanwhile, the release of other emails has revealed more about the high-level exchange of classified information on personal accounts. Among the latest batch of emails released by the State Department is an exchange between Clinton and then-Sen. John Kerry, now secretary of state. Sections are fully redacted, citing classified information – and both Kerry and Clinton were using unsecured, personal accounts.
Further, a 2009 email released to Judicial Watch after a federal lawsuit – and first reported by Fox News – suggests the State Department ‘s senior manager Patrick Kennedy was trying to make it easier for Clinton to check her personal email at work, writing to Clinton aide Cheryl Mills a “stand-alone separate network PC is… [one] great idea.”
“The emails show that the top administrator at the State Department, Patrick Kennedy, who is still there overseeing the response to all the inquiries about Hillary Clinton, was in on Hillary Clinton’s separate email network and system from the get-go,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
Kennedy is expected to testify this month before the Republican-led Benghazi Select Committee.
Hillary Clinton was finally asked on Sunday about a non-disclosure agreement she signed in Jan. 2009 which completely undermines the defense she uses to downplay the existence of classified information on her private email server. But as is often the case with the Democratic presidential candidate, she dodged the question and gave an inconsistent answer.
“You know, you’ve said many times that the emails were not marked classified,” said ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.
“But the non-disclosure agreement you signed as secretary of state said that that really is not that relevant,” he continued.
He was referring to the “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement” – or Standard Form 312 – that Clinton signed on Jan. 22, 2009, a day after taking over as secretary of state.
“It says classified information is marked or unmarked classified and that all of your training to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference,” said Stephanopoulos, describing the document.
Clinton responded to Stephanopoulos but did not address the meat of his question. In fact, she appeared to reject the language of the SF-312, saying that “there has to be some markings” on classified information.
“I take classified information very seriously,” Clinton said. “You know, you can’t get information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system, no matter what that system is.”
“We were very specific about that and you – when you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain had thought that this was classified and that was not the case.”
However, as the SF-312 makes clear, classified information does not have to be marked as such in order to require being handled as classified information. The document applies not just to physical documents and emails but also to oral communications.
Clinton revised her defense of the classified information on several occasions, as federal agencies release more damaging information about her home-brew email system.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified materials,” she said in March, when news of her personal email account and server first broke.
In July, after the State Department began retroactively classifying many of Clinton’s emails, she revised her claim saying that she was “confident” that she “never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent or received.”
Days later, she changed her tune again, adopting the now-familiar claim that she did not send or receive information that was “marked” as such. That was after it was reported that the Intelligence Community’s inspector general had found highly classified emails which were classified when originated.
Clinton’s statement to Stephanopoulos about the inability to transfer “information off the classified system in the State Department to put onto an unclassified system” also fails to hold water.
Earlier this week, Fox News reported on a 2013 video showing Wendy Sherman, who served as Clinton’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, discussing how State Department officials often used Blackberries during overseas negotiations to send and receive information that “would never be on an unclassified system.”
Hillary Clinton’s private server housed emails containing information at an even higher classification level than previously believed, Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III has found.
According to Fox News, McCullough informed the heads of two congressional committees in an unclassified Jan. 14 letter that his agency had discovered “several dozen” classified emails, including messages containing what’s known as “special access programs” (SAP) information.
As Fox notes, SAP information is created when “the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional,” and when “the number of persons who ordinarily will have access will be reasonably small and commensurate with the objective of providing enhanced protection for the information involved.”
SAP information is classified at an even higher category than the “top secret” emails which McCullough found on Clinton’s server last summer. That discovery triggered a Justice Department investigation into Clinton’s peculiar email arrangement and prompted the FBI to seize her server in August.
Only officials with a “need-to-know” are privy to SAP information because exposure would likely reveal sources and methods of intelligence collection.
“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels,” reads McCullough’s letter, which, according to Fox, was sent to the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department’s inspector general and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the agency that manages special access programs.
It remains to be seen how Clinton, the Democratic party’s presidential front-runner, will respond to the new report. When “top secret” emails were found on her server, she was forced to revise her initial claims that she did not send or receive classified information when she served as secretary of state. Clinton now says that none of the classified emails found on her server were “marked” classified when they were originated. In addition to the “top secret” and SAP emails, the State Department has retroactively classified 1,340 emails Clinton sent or received.
According to one expert on national security law and security clearance matters, Clinton should have recognized any SAP information that she received and had been briefed on.
“Assuming Secretary Clinton had actually been briefed on this particular Special Access Program, she almost certainly should have recognized the information (even unmarked) as such and taken action,” Bradley Moss, a Washington-based national security attorney, told The Daily Caller.
“That aside, whomever originally sent these emails most certainly should not have been discussing classified information on any unclassified server, official or personal, and is in for a world of hurt.”
Moss, who is handling lawsuits filed against the State Department for failing to turn over Clinton’s emails, also added that the discovery of the highly-sensitive emails shows that the agency is “abysmally incompetent” when it comes to security protocol.
“There are a lot of details that need to be fleshed out still in terms of the IG’s findings but the one unmistakable point that has emerged from all of this is how abysmally incompetent State has been in handling security protocols,” said Moss. “Its failure to protect its own information at such a systematic level violates the most basic tenets of information security and is inexcusable.”
The State Department declined during Tuesday’s daily press briefing to comment on McCullough’s letter.
“We are focused on and remain focused on releasing he remainder of former Secretary Clinton’s emails,” agency spokesman John Kirby said, adding that he does “anticipate more upgrades throughout the release process.”
The number of classified emails contained on Hillary Clinton’s private server, which she assured Americans never contained sensitive information sent or received, now totals nearly 1,000 according to Ed Henry on Tuesday.
“One of the most significant headlines, of course, is that out of this new batch of emails released by the State Department – the largest one yet, nearly 8,000 pages, there are 328 more emails that have now been deemed classified. That brings the total to 999,” Henry said. “Obviously, with more document dumps to come very likely that you’ll have more than 1,000 emails with classified emails in there even though Clinton, you’ll remember, said that there was no classified information on her private server.”
Henry reported on Monday the latest batch of emails only continues the “drip-drip” reminder for Clinton that the private email scandal has not gone away.
“The bigger picture, the broader point here is Hillary Clinton back in March said no classified information on this server and as we continue to see the drip-drip there are indications, of course, that there are dozens of those emails already come out that did have classified information,” Henry said.
Clinton assured the American people that there was no classified information sent or received on her private email server when she first addressed the issue with a press conference from the UN in March. She guaranteed that no sensitive information would be found on her server, and forcefully pushed back against accusations that her email set-up was a national security risk.
Since the finding of classified information on her server, the campaign has taken a new position: Clinton did not send or receive anything marked classified at the time. The revelation of more classified material highlights how much sensitive information passed through the network previously unknown by the State Department.
The ordeal has plagued Clinton’s candidacy and left her with her worst favorability rating ever because a majority of Americans do not believe she is honest or trustworthy.
Following the release of the largest batch of Clinton emails to date, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus released a statement saying,”With the number of emails containing classified information now numbering nearly one thousand, this latest court-ordered release underscores the degree to which Hillary Clinton jeopardized our national security and has tried to mislead the American people.”
More evidence that Hillary Clinton used Sidney Blumenthal as her advisor has come to light as new State Department emails have emerged, despite her testimony that Blumenthal was never her advisor:
FOX NEWS – Newly released emails conflict with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 11-hour testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee, according to a review of the transcripts and public records.
One of the conflicts involves the role played by Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal.
Regarding the dozens of emails from him, which in many cases were forwarded to her State Department team, Clinton testified: “He’s a friend of mine. He sent me information he thought might be of interest. Some of it was, some of it wasn’t, some of it I forwarded to be followed up on. He had no official position in the government. And he was not at all my adviser on Libya.”
But a newly released email from February 2011 shows Blumenthal advocated for a no-fly zone over Libya, writing, “U.S. might consider advancing tomorrow. Libyan helicopters and planes are raining terror on cities.” The email was forwarded by Clinton to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan with the question, “What do you think of this idea?”
A second email from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in March 2011 also advocated for a no-fly zone, with Blair stating, “Please work on the non-fly zone, or the other options I mentioned. Oil prices are rising, markets are down. We have to be decisive.”
In the end, Clinton advocated for the no-fly zone and was able to gather support within the Obama administration to implement it.
In another email from March 5, 2012, Clinton appears to use Blumenthal as what is known in intelligence circles as a “cut out,” a type of intermediary to gather information, allowing the policymaker plausible deniability. In this case, the emails focused on the increasingly chaotic and fragmenting political landscape in Libya after dictator Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power.
In the one-page document, Blumenthal writes that Jonathan Powell, a former senior British government adviser to Blair, is “trying to replicate what we did in Northern Ireland by setting up secret channels between insurgents and government, and then, where appropriate, developing these negotiations.” This type of backchannel discussion helped bring about the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
Clinton responded two hours later. “I’d like to see Powell when he’s in the building,” with her staff responding, “Will follow up.” In both instances, Clinton’s actions further undercut sworn testimony to the Select Committee that Blumenthal was “not at all my adviser on Libya.”
Hey nothing to see here. Hillary had a great week, so said the media, when Republicans grilled her and exposed that she lied about Benghazi. So that’s what matters here, not getting to the truth.
So move along.