What Touches Classified is Classified

In the three thousand years of the history of espionage and of criminal investigations, a primary element has been the practice of reading other peoples’ mail. Wiretapping, steaming open envelopes, forging letters to get an incriminating response -- these are ploys of reality as well as fiction. Google and AT&T are said to have helped the National Security Administration scan our emails for code words and other data. Who we write to in itself can help reveal what we are up to. Your mail is being monitored. Would you mind if Hillary revealed it? Although a high public official may have some discretion in the handling and dissemination of official government business, it is incumbent on the U. S. Secretary of State to recognize that her personal as well as the official diplomatic mail under her care will be the target of foreign intelligence agencies because the secretary of state is responsible for all diplomatic correspondence, for security of embassies and missions, and for the security of the secrets of our allies as well. That responsibility is no joking matter and failure to act responsibly can rightly be questioned by the media and officials of Congress.

Let us as layman voters think about how our enemies, or our own intelligence services, by reading diplomatic mail discover important military and other secrets. By May 1942, we could read enough of Japan’s mail so that by using a fake message, we tricked Japan into revealing their plan of attack. Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. We won the battle and the war. The same in Europe: the British broke the Enigma code and could read the German’s mail, which allowed the Brits to counter the German moves. We won that one, too.

Hillary’s carelessness and arrogance gives our enemies the edge. Hillary was just as fast and loose with security in the White House as she was as secretary of state. In fact, she was accused of using private FBI files to harm others. An intelligence analyst doesn’t have to actually see or read the secret document referenced in Hillary’s emails, but by using current knowledge and gathering bits and pieces of information through insight, intuition, inference, etc., put together the gist of it. Some say that is how the terrorists learned of the lack of security and vulnerability of the Benghazi compound. Those critics go so far as to suggest Hillary herself is partly responsible for what happened. At this point, it does make a great deal of difference.

Everything that touches top secret is top secret. That Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, the highest office in the State Department, made large amounts of classified information available to foreign intelligence agencies is undisputable. An actual document or information with an official Classified rating -- Top Secret, Secret, Eyes Only -- is not necessary for information to be considered classified.  Revealing the contents or even the existence of a highly classified document can be a breach of security. For example, in 1957, my father was a USAID advisor in the Philippines. I finished summer school in college and decided to visit them for a few months. My 21st birthday was toward the end of August, and my father arranged a job for me at the U.S. Embassy as a temporary replacement in the Classified Mail Room. My job was to open the pouches of classified mail, sort it for the various offices, and deliver it throughout the embassy.  Sometimes I would get a car and driver and pick up the pouches (large canvas sacks) at the airport or deliver a piece of classified material to an office or agency outside the embassy. One time I delivered a Top Secret document to an outside agency. The next day the Chief Security Officer called me in. The receipt for my delivery of the Top Secret document was missing. At first I thought it was no big deal. After all, it was just the receipt like any other small postal receipt, not the Top Secret document itself.  I was wrong.  I found myself in very serious trouble. The receipt and anything else related to the Top Secret piece was also classified as Top Secret, so I was guilty of mishandling a Top Secret document. I was grilled. The receipt was located, but for two days, I was in trouble. Like today, it was the Chinese Communists who were conducting espionage against us. The receipt in their possession would alert them that a Top Secret document had been sent to that particular agency by such and such agency. Being clever, they could probably in short order deduce what it was about.

One day I stopped at an office with some innocuous name on the top floor of the embassy. I had been told it was the CIA office. I gave the mail to a young officer, not much older than I was, and asked, “What do you do in here all day?”

 “Oh,” he said, “I read the Manila Times and other newspapers and cut out articles.”

That rang a bell for me because during my first week in the mail room I was buzzing along sorting the mail when the supervisor handed me the Manila Times, told me to get a cup of coffee, sit down, and read the paper. “If we get the work done that fast, they’ll come to expect it.” I didn’t perceive that working too fast was the reason for the young CIA officer fiddling with the Times. He explained, (just as Alvin Toffler explained in Future Shock some 23 years later) that much information is gained by simply monitoring the newspaper, seeing what issue is now important and what it replaced.

The Clinton’s have always been ‘careless’ people. In fact, I recall that in the 90s a columnist compared them to Daisy and Tom in The Great Gatsby:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made […]. (9.136-145)”

A look back at the last 35 years reveals the Clinton’s carelessness.  I leave it to you to mull over the recklessness of their behavior.

With the clear evidence that Hillary Clinton’s improper use of an unsecured personal server along with the collusion of her staff and Obama Administration officials, such as, Susan Rice, Lois Lerner, and, unfortunately many others, is such a serious breach of security that I can image our enemies’ chiefs of intelligence calling in a couple of junior analysts, and saying “Here, kids, are Hillary’s emails, this is an easy one. It’s all there. Go to it.”

The lies and use of a ‘cleaning cloth’ tell us that Mrs. Clinton knows she breached security. Howard Dean, the Ragin’ Cajun, and many others are also dismissive, making light of the matter and pretending there is nothing to it at all. To them it is just the lunatic ravings of retired English professors like me.

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