Who are the spies for the DC power brokers?
As we have learned in the past few days, the FBI has moved from a criminal investigation to an espionage investigation in the Hillary email scandal. The FBI is now going directly to the source of the classified documents found on Hillary’s unclassified server to compare the originals with the documents that were found stripped of their classification markings. The damage to national security can’t be underestimated, because the gist of the FBI’s change of focus means employees of the intel agencies who had access to classified assessments, including special access programs (SAP), abetted the effort to disclose the information to unauthorized individuals. In some cases, extremely sensitive materiel may have been even been physically sequestered under strict security protocols that require an insider’s knowledge to circumvent.
Despite the vast majority of patriotic and talented people in the intelligence community (I.C.), the question becomes, then, who would take advantage of being “read on” to restricted programs to obtain these documents, thereby committing an act of espionage? I don’t know the names, obviously; the FBI will take care of that. But I think there are three main types of people who would work around the safeguards.
The first is the true believer. This is exemplified by the titular head of Hillary’s informal intel network, Sid Blumenthal. Ever since Monica Crowley alerted us to Hillary’s network, we know Blumenthal has been at the center of several covert and sleazy activities. Crowley asks the key questions:
What was the Clintons’ hatchet man really doing? How did he cultivate such sensitive intelligence sources, and on whose orders? [emphasis added] Why was he apparently hip-deep in intelligence matters while his close friend was secretary of state?
While the focus of the analysis was on a network designed to go around normal intel channels, the highly classified documents currently at the center of the investigation could have come only from Hillary’s and Blumenthal’s sources in U.S. agencies. We’ve already seen the effects of Hillary’s true believers placed into the intelligence agencies during Bill’s presidency. A couple of decades is plenty of time for these dedicated souls to rise to leadership positions within the I.C., and who would be driven to see their gal as POTUS.
The second type is the progressive, idealistic newbie. It’s no secret that universities, particularly those on the eastern seaboard, are prime recruiting grounds for intelligence agencies. If they pass the wickets, these folks bring the leftist academic machine with them. In fact, the I.C. encourages it. Most are poli-sci majors, with very few being business, science, or engineering majors.
(How poli-sci majors ever became the dominant force in the I.C. or thought of as great strategic thinkers is beyond me. See Ben Rhodes.)
The leftist rookie, of course, would be easy to impress with promises of satisfying the boss with extra information that would surely help the SecState in accomplishing her objectives. There may be some moments of doubt, and likely some of them refused, but it would be challenging for the new guy to resist the possibility of a promotion and to aid the cause. It’s not unreasonable to see this type fulfilling the role as the office gopher, who would print, scan, and perhaps alter classified docs for the supervisor.
The third type could be from any demographic but has essentially been placed into a vulnerable position open to coercion and blackmail, and not from a foreign government. Over three years ago, a report surfaced that revealed a troubling and illegal practice at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The NRO was conducting an increasing amount of “lifestyle” polygraph tests, which in some cases would reveal that the applicant or current employee had committed serious crimes, including child molestation.
Normally in DoD agencies, the counter-intelligence polygraph is the norm. This test asks only questions related to national security matters such as possible terrorist background indicators and unauthorized disclosure of classified information. McClatchy’s review found that the NRO was responsible for:
- Establishing a system that tracks the number of personal confessions, which then are used in polygraphers’ annual performance reviews.
- Summoning employees and job applicants for multiple polygraph tests to ask about a wide array of personal behavior.
- Altering results of the tests in what some polygraphers say is an effort to justify more probing of employees’ and applicants’ private lives.
What might be shocking to some is that the applicants who were found to have committed drug abuse, child molestation, and sexual crimes were not referred to law enforcement for possible charges. But if one is a supervisor who wants leverage on his employees, this tactic is not surprising at all. By allowing access to classified materials to those with criminal backgrounds or serious behavioral problems, then getting them to do your bidding simply becomes a matter of coercion and blackmail.
We know the what and the why of Hillary’s espionage effort. What remains is the FBI finding out the who. In my estimate, the true believers would be a tough nut to crack. Right now, types two and three are probably quaking in their boots. The newbies would not want to ruin a chance at future employment somewhere else over Hillary’s ambitions, nor would those with criminal backgrounds look forward to an espionage charge added to their rap sheet. All indications are that the FBI is doing its part in a professional and thorough manner. The question is, if the perps in the I.C. sing like canaries, can the DoJ fight off an indictment when it concerns charges of espionage?
John Smith is the pen name of a former United States intelligence officer.