Then there was the infamous email server. Since I was at one time deeply involved in the handling of highly classified “traffic,” a primitive form of email but highly proprietary to the U.S. government. It is closely monitored and controlled to protect the information it handles. So I had some expertise in the subject and found her actions highly reprehensible. Because the discussion of classified material tends to get a bit geeky, I’ve tried to explain the implied seriousness of the email insecurity. Unfortunately, the discussion gets a bit long. To provide a starting point, please watch this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/gzFPpHT17_E
(about two minutes)
Rep Chaffetz R-Utah was Chairman House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2016, and the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Mr. McCullough is testifying. The video was uploaded on July 7, 2016, about four months before the presidential election in November.
The source I'm using for evaluating the improprieties in the operation of the server is President Obama's Executive Order (EO) 13526-Classified National Security Information, dated December 29, 2009. Ms. Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013 so the rules in President Obama’s EO would apply to her. The URL was, but it is now dead, the infamous Error 404 is returned:https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-of ... nformation
The Executive Order is not immensely long, the PDF I downloaded at the time is 63 pages. The Executive Order defines the U.S. National information security information, marking and handling. What follows is an "executive summary" that I've put together with some additional explanatory information. Hollywood has so fictionalized the U.S. system of handling information security that I think it would be useful to explain exactly how the system works.
All governmental information is either “Unclassified” or “Classified.” If information is Classified, it is classified at one of three levels of Classification, “Confidential,” “Secret,” or “Top Secret.” Unclassified governmental information must be protected by “best practices” as laid out by the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology Publications ( https://csrc.nist.gov
). If information is Classified, it is protected by policies and procedures developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) drawing upon the authority of a Presidential Executive Order. For classified documents, there is a large header and footer stating the highest classification contained in the document. In addition, each paragraph is marked with the highest classification of the information in the paragraph. For example:
1. (U) This how an unclassified paragraph is marked.
2. (S) This how a Secret paragraph is marked and so on.
To remove these markings when editing is unlawful. From various sources, many of the documents had their security markings completely removed. That doesn’t declassify them, the material remains classified because the originating organization is the only party that can declassify information it promulgated.
Classification Levels - from least damaging to the most damaging with hypothetical examples:
1. Not discussed in the EO but is clearly marked on electronic communications in my day for subjects that were unclassified. Anything that wasn't marked with a classified marking was also assumed to be unclassified. Most communications are unclassified and include ship manning, orders to individuals to change duty stations, repair activities, ordering supplies, parts etc.
For Official Use Only --
1. Not discussed in the EO, but when I was handling electronic communications, things like medical records (in the days before HIPAA), discipline adjudication, or official business of the Navy that was not for general release such as contract negotiations were marked for Official Use Only.
1. (From EO) Shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.
2. Things that would be classified Confidential include ship's schedules, short term communication plans, operations that will be complete within a short time period as long as the text didn't include objectives, higher classified objectives or evaluations of the operation's success.
1. (From EO) Shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.
2. Things that would be classified Secret would include sensitive ship schedules such as port visits and operations that may provoke international interest, weapon capabilities and limitations, combat readiness of units and weapons, tactics and tactical thought, Standing Orders about operations of fleet units, etc.
Top Secret --
1. (From EO) Shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security that the original classification authority is able to identify or describe.
2. War plans, rules of engagement, pre-planned responses to the activities of opponents, experimental weapons, weapon developments, etc. would be Top Secret.
There are a few modifiers to the normal classification markings.
1. Special Access Programs which are discussed in the EO in section 4.3. Special Access Programs are usually referred to as being a "compartmented" project. The gent in the video was talking about very tightly held and strictly limited Special Access Programs that had been stripped of their marking and sent to Ms. Clinton on her personal email sever which located in her closet at her personal residence. Here is a brief extract about Special Access Programs from the EO:
Sec. 4.3. Special Access Programs. (a) Establishment of special access programs. Unless otherwise authorized by the President, only the Secretaries of State, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, or the principal deputy of each, may create a special access program. For special access programs pertaining to intelligence sources, methods, and activities (but not including military operational, strategic, and tactical programs), this function shall be exercised by the Director of National Intelligence. These officials shall keep the number of these programs at an absolute minimum, and shall establish them only when the program is required by statute or upon a specific finding that:
(1) the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional; and
(2) the normal criteria for determining eligibility for access applicable to information classified at the same level are not deemed sufficient to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure.
(b) Requirements and limitations.
(1) Special access programs shall be limited to programs in which 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.
a. Past examples of a Special Access Program include the WWII "Manhattan" project which was the development of the Atomic Bomb. The development of the F-117 "stealth" fighter was a closely held secret that was "compartmented" as a Special Access Program. Most Special Access programs have an unclassified code word associated with them which allows references to a "compartment" without limiting the distribution of the communication.
b. An area of Special Access that I know of, but have no personal experience is that involving intelligence gathering. Information forwarded to the U.S. from operatives and/or individuals within another government are usually very closely held secrets to protect the identity of the "spies" supplying the information.
c. A "Black" program is one who's name is "blacked out" in a budget request. To my knowledge, all Special Access programs that require money be budgeted in a Federal Government budget request or process is blacked out and is referred to as a "Black Program."
d. A "compartment" can be applied to any classification level, but usually is Top Secret or rarely Secret.
e. ORCON would be a type of Compartmented Information.
2. "Restricted Data" and "Formally Restricted Data" are communication caveats to protect the information of nuclear power and/or nuclear weapons.
Secretary of State is a "Head of Agency" or sometimes shortened to Depart Head. The EO sets forth the following responsibilities for the Agency Head:
Sec. 5.4. General Responsibilities. Heads of agencies that originate or handle classified information shall:
(a) demonstrate personal commitment and commit senior management to the successful implementation of the program established under this order; . . .
Based on the video, I would say there was a major failure in meeting her responsibilities not to mention the very real possibility that the information was compromised because the email server was hacked at least once, and on the public level, civilian experts feel that other hacks were "likely." As a recent up date, in June of 2018, it was reported that “Foreign Actors” gained access to the Clinton email server. That would technically make the actions “treasonous.” Good search terms are “Clinton email server foreign actors,” you’ll get multiple hits in your search engine.
Sec. 5.5. Sanctions.
(a) If the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office finds that a violation of this order or its implementing directives has occurred, the Director shall make a report to the head of the agency or to the senior agency official so that corrective steps, if appropriate, may be taken.
(b) Officers and employees of the United States Government, and its contractors, licensees, certificate holders, and grantees shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently:
(1) disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified under this order or predecessor orders;
(2) classify or continue the classification of information in violation of this order or any implementing directive;
(3) create or continue a special access program contrary to the requirements of this order; or
(4) contravene any other provision of this order or its implementing directives.
(c) Sanctions may include reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions in accordance with applicable law and agency regulation.
(d) The agency head, senior agency official, or other supervisory official shall, at a minimum, promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards of this order.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked directly for the President, so it was the President's responsibility to enforce the EO that one of his Agency Heads failed to follow. The Attorney General is also sucked into the morass of "non-enforcement" by paragraph 6.2.(C):
(c) The Attorney General, upon request by the head of an agency or the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office, shall render an interpretation of this order with respect to any question arising in the course of its administration.
END PART TWO