Russia, Comey, and Hillary’s Praetorian Guard

The re-opening of the investigation into Hillary’s unsecured email server and associated corruption has produced some interesting counter-attacks from the Clinton camp.  They primarily revolve around a supposed alliance between Russia and Trump and the purportedly unprecedented move by FBI Director Comey to continue the email investigation so close to the election (can anyone in the media say Lawrence Walsh?)  But the revelations about Comey’s deliberate mishandling of the Emailgate investigation are a stunning indictment of not only the Clintons and Comey, but they also open a window into the corruption of our intelligence community and the DC power elite of both parties.  But let’s tackle the Russia issue first.

The New Carpetbaggers

As I detailed in an earlier article, the nearly 25 years of corrupt dealings by the Clintons concerning Russia, uranium, and the coopting of selected intelligence assets have come back to bite them in the behind -- thanks to Putin.  To understand the deception and the ridiculous Clinton claim of Putin cooperating with Trump, a recap of the uranium scheme is in order.

When the Clintons first took power in the 90s, a dissolving Soviet Union had plenty of fruit ripe for the picking.  The first step was to designate weapons and materials as the “enemy,” so as to justify retaining some manner of intelligence and military assets to track and counter WMDs and the materials used to make them.  Counter-proliferation measures, however well-meaning and necessary, allowed the Clintons to capitalize on the real fear of bad actors getting the material.  So Hillary’s first real intelligence surge had been already been implemented in the 90s to track technologies and substances.  And, of course, Russia had the lion’s share of the stuff.

During the Bush ’43 administrations, the Clinton era holdovers in national security positions didn’t just go away.  On GW’s watch, it took five years to get Saddam’s 550 tons of yellowcake out of Iraq.  Then in 2007, the Russians started shipping uranium fuel elements to Iran as part of a contract with Rosatom to refurbish the civil power reactor at Bushehr.  The flawed 2007 National Intelligence Estimate soft-pedaled Iran’s nuclear ambitions and likely gave what was then a seemingly detached Bush administration room to shrug its shoulders rather than push back against the Iranians.

In 2009, Obama announced the Global Nuclear Lockdown Initiative to ostensibly secure and account for all nuclear materials everywhere.  Wasting no time to further strengthen her intel assets, SecState Clinton continued to put high powered donors and investors in high-level intelligence positions regardless of their qualifications.  One was Rajiv K. Fernando, who was placed on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), whose purpose was to advise Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and on other crucial arms control issues.  Ultimately,

Fernando’s lack of any known background in nuclear security caught the attention of several board members, and when ABC News first contacted the State Department in August 2011 seeking a copy of his resume, the emails show that confusion ensued among the career government officials who work with the advisory panel.

The most recent example concerning Russia was the blatant disregard for security procedures during then-SecState Clinton’s visit to Moscow when a staffer left a classified document in Clinton’s hotel room.  Not only was this a serious security violation, but the Diplomatic Security Service (DS) response was perfunctory at best.  The staffer got a slap on the wrist, and publically the DS or the US Embassy in Moscow avoided the obvious question: Why did the SecState stay in a hotel room with classified information, when Clinton and the briefing book would be infinitely more secure by staying at the embassy?  Clearly, elements of our security services and the intelligence community (IC) have repeatedly ignored violations of US Code and in fact, some have enabled the Clinton/Obama financial and political agendas.

Here’s the kicker to all of these maneuvers.  If the power elite in DC have top level security clearances and access to classified systems, then not only are highly classified matters available to them, but the secure communications means exist to coordinate their activities while shielding them from public scrutiny.  Conversely, the intel community itself has a habit of monitoring not only foreign targets of interest, but may legally collect on US citizens who hold security clearances.  At this stage, the fact that Hillary had her own server is irrelevant.  Plenty of information was likely held somewhere in the IC’s classified files – we’ll come back to that later.

From Hillary’s and her insider’s point of view, the deception of a Russian-Clinton adversarial relationship, while concurrently promoting the theory that Trump is allied with Putin to hack a server, is laughable.  Hillary is delusional to cite US intelligence agencies that conclude that Russia is doing this to affect a US election on behalf of Trump.  Sure, she can find some sympathetic members of the sisterhood to draft an assessment stating as such, much as Obama went analyst shopping for justification for Fast and Furious.  But the reality is that her Russia problem is the result of a decades-long business arrangement wherein Putin, as the smarter and more streetwise adversary, patiently has waited a few decades to expose the Clintons’ and Obama’s graft and corruption to his advantage.  This is what happens when rank amateurs play the money game with a seasoned KGB operative.

Enter Snowden

Regardless of whether one views Snowden as a sinner or a saint, the real issue has gone unexamined.  That is, what did Snowden have on the stolen laptops and thumb drives?  Keep in mind that despite the lying and obfuscation from IC leaders during the post-Snowden testimonies, the NSA does pick up on Americans while collecting on legitimate foreign targets.  If a few guys next door are telephoning foreign bad guys, so are the political and military beltway elites – likely their staffers for purposes of plausible deniability.

(Back to the 2013 incident with the classified materials in the Moscow hotel room: Was this incompetence on the part of staffer Monica Hanley, or an intentional message drop intercepted by Diplomatic Security Services?)

The aftermath of the Snowden episode shows how protection of the power elite by some elements within the IC is of prime concern and why the investigation of Snowden has been one of the most underwhelming in history; at least up until the just released report by the House Intelligence Committee.  And for three years, the press seemed singularly uninterested in the Snowden-Manning-Assange Wikileaks axis.

Thanks to Snowden, Putin has had the goods on our leadership, our intel apparatus, and politicians for at least three years even without hacking into anyone’s server.  AT contributor James Longstreet confirms the context for this controversy.  That is, Hillary’s defenders maintain her unsecured servers were recently hacked by Russia with encouragement from Trump.  This is nonsensical because not only were the servers non-operational, at least some of the info gleaned by the Russians and sent to Julian Assange had to have happened in the past; way in the past.  I am not saying that Hillary’s servers weren’t ever hacked, but in light of these previous events, Putin already had the goods on a lot of insiders, including Hillary.

Comey’s other dilemma

By the time of the FBI investigation into Hillary’s unsecured server, she had deep sixed a lot of her emails, especially the ones concerning the Uranium One deal and the Clintons’ long relationship with Russia’s oligarchs.  But because of the NSA’s monitoring, it and other intelligence agencies already have all of those emails, as stated by William Binney, who it should be noted first revealed NSA’s spying activities on US citizens way before Snowden did, and he didn’t have to steal classified laptops and thumb drives to do it.

So, if the emails are available, why didn’t the FBI get them?  As I stated last January, not only was the FBI investigating the classification level of the emails, but was going to the originators to determine how highly classified material could “jump” from a classified system to an unclassified one.  The short version is someone in the IC would have to deliberately manipulate the documents to make that jump.  In fact, the FBI itself said that it does not waive primacy in espionage cases.  Ultimately, that angle to the investigation was in my opinion, deliberately short-circuited by Comey.

The focus on Comey’s July 5th press conference was on how he could make a case for prosecution, then not recommend prosecution.  But little noticed was this statement:

Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”)

This was a real sleight of hand from Comey.  Only going to the owners (originators) of the classified assessments to confirm the classification and nothing else is frankly stunning.  That this was not chased down the rabbit hole in terms of controls established by the owners of the original document is ignoring the obvious breaches of security, which would certainly warrant an espionage investigation. Somebody enabled those documents to "jump" from the secure email system to Hillary's unsecure one. And nobody seems to be checking who that was.

Comey buckled to pressure from the Hillary camp concerning his personal well-being and ties to the Clinton Foundation.  But if he had pursued the espionage angle it could point to co-opted intelligence personnel at the end of the Clinton rat line. That is, information on who provided the access to highly sensitive material, and what controls were circumvented would reveal another huge scandal in our national security agencies.  This would be unacceptable to Hillary’s Praetorian Guard.  After all, if the former Deputy Director of the CIA who whitewashed Hillary’s Benghazi scandal is still hanging around, why wouldn’t others as part of her informal intel network still be active?

There are three competing theories as to why Comey reopened the investigation.  Here is the fourth theory:  Comey and his agents had to have known the serious nature of the situation and the scale of the corruption was way beyond the investigation of an unsecured email server or Clinton Foundation criminal activities.  Whether an FBI investigation or an internal IC investigation is ongoing on these espionage matters will probably not be known for many years -- if at all.  Yet, the FBI field agents know the score, and they are not only standing up for their profession, but they may be fighting to return our security apparatus to serve the public interest rather than to support the corrupt Clinton machine.

John Smith is the pen name of a former US intelligence officer.

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