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Bigger Question: Did Hillary use unsecured email for Classified Info?

Bigger Question: Did Hillary use unsecured email for Classified Info?

What did Hillary do with her email account, and when did she do it?

News broke yesterday, via The NY Times, that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account to conduct government business the entire time she was Secretary of State, which would appear to be a violation of record-keeping rules:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

WaPo further reports that Hillary created a separate domain for her email just before assuming office:

In March 2013, an adviser to Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, had his email hacked by “Guccifer” — the Romanian hacker perhaps best known for revealing George W. Bush’s paintings to the world. At the time, Gawker reported that Blumenthal was communicating with an account that appeared to belong to Clinton at the “” domain. The content of some of those emails was published by

Examining the registry information for “” reveals that the domain was first created on January 13, 2009 — one week before President Obama was sworn into office, and the same day that Clinton’s confirmation hearings began before the Senate.

The Times goes on to note that previous Secretaries of State have used private email on occasion, and that penalties for such violations are rare, since the agency which maintains the national records has limited enforcement power. With Hillary, however, the use was complete — she didn’t even have a secure government email account.

That raises national security concerns. As Secretary of State, Hillary presumably received classified and other protected information via email at least on occasion, since it was her only email account.  That distinguishes her from predecessors, who at least had government email accounts.

We need more facts on her usage, but if Hillary maintained classified documents (including emails) on an unclassified computer device and email account, that could raise much more serious issues than the records violation.

Recall that in 1999 former CIA Director John Deutch had his security clearance revoked for improper handling of classified information:

CIA Director George J. Tenet announced yesterday that he has suspended the security clearance of his predecessor, John M. Deutch, for violating government rules by working with classified material on an unsecured computer at his home.

The unprecedented action against a widely respected and still powerful former official comes at a time of heightened concern over foreign espionage and the handling of classified information. It was clearly intended as a signal that the federal government, and the CIA in particular, is determined to tighten security….

“While serving as Director of Central Intelligence I erred in using CIA-issued computers that were not configured for classified work to compose classified documents and memoranda,” Deutch said. “While it was absolutely necessary for me to work at home and while on travel, in hindsight it is clear that I should have insisted that I be provided the means of accomplishing this work in a manner fully consistent with all the security rules.” …

The Justice Department decided in April not to prosecute Deutch for the security lapses, which were discovered when he left office, when CIA specialists went to his Washington home to remove a classified computer and safe. They discovered 31 files containing highly sensitive classified information on his personal computer.

You can read the unclassified version of the CIA investigative report here.

If the personal email records were shared with people without the necessary security clearances, that could be an additional problem, as David Petreaus is finding out:

Federal prosecutors have recommended that David H. Petraeus face charges for providing classified documents to his biographer, raising the prospect of criminal proceedings against the retired four-star general and former CIA director.

The recommendation follows a federal probe into how the biographer, Paula Broadwell, apparently obtained classified records several years ago while working on a book about Petraeus. Broadwell was also his mistress, and the documents were discovered by investigators during the scandal that forced Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in 2012.

(added) Petreaus may be entering a plea deal, the NY Times reports today.

The hacking of unclassified State Department computers is a concern, as this February 19, 2015 Wall Street Journal report indicates:

Three months after the State Department confirmed hackers breached its unclassified email system, the government still hasn’t been able to evict them from the department’s network, according to three people familiar with the investigation.

Government officials, assisted by outside contractors and the National Security Agency, have repeatedly scanned the network and taken some systems offline. But investigators still see signs of the hackers on State Department computers, the people familiar with the matter said. Each time investigators find a hacker tool and block it, these people said, the intruders tweak it slightly to attempt to sneak past defenses.

It isn’t clear how much data the hackers have taken, the people said. They reaffirmed what the State Department said in November: that the hackers appear to have access only to unclassified email. Still, unclassified material can contain sensitive intelligence.

We are a long way from demonstrating that Hillary broke laws or rules other than those related to record keeping, but it is a matter that requires full investigation considering that Hillary exclusively used private email in her official capacity.

At a minimum, this episode may demonstrate a willful disregard for national security needs. At a maximum, it may be much more serious.

As Hillary heads towards the presumptive Democratic nomination for President, we need to know what Hillary did with her email account, and when did she do it.


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Oh, imagine the uproar if Dick Cheney had done this.

Sammy Finkelman | March 3, 2015 at 10:01 am

I’m not worried about classified information so much as I’m worried about corruption, hidden influences and the like. And whether or not some e-mails were deleted, or not forwarded when her aides went through them. You could consider some e-mails privileged and they wouldn’t even be read.

    inspectorudy in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | March 3, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Sammy, When you indicate that “Some” e-mails might be private and should be held back you are not thinking straight. That is the entire purpose of having a government e-mail account so that there is no confusion and that all of the e-mail on the government account is preserved. If she ever sent an e-mail that contained any secret info then she is guilty of mishandling sensitive documents. If she is now withholding e-mail that might prove her dishonesty then she is guilty of trying to deceive the US government. She set this account up on the day of her confirmation and it shows that she set out to bypass the regulations. As a clinton this has been their pattern for as long as there is a record of their actions. Obama is a graduate from the same school of obfuscation and deception.

Sammy Finkelman | March 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

With Hillary, however, the use was complete — she didn’t even have a secure government email account.

Hillary Clinton would not have operated insecurely. She may have used other secret accounts (and sometimes forwarded things to it) and she may also have the password and use of an e-mail belonging to one or more of her aides.

And Bill Clinton might have had her password, you know.

    Frank G in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | March 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Her domain was a commercial domain. Your assumption of soooper-secure technology is unfounded. I suspect you are operating on *shock* partisan faith alone

    In order to have “secure” email all aspects of the email system, including the server and the clients programs used by both sender and (every) recipient must be secure.

    It is HIGHLY unlikely that she was using a secure email platform. By “secure” I mean that all messages are encrypted while in transit across the network and encrypted while stored in every system that stores or caches them.

Sammy Finkelman | March 3, 2015 at 10:06 am

This is maybe why Hillary Clinton is apparently going to announce her candidacy for president earlier than she had planned – it gives less time for possible alternative Democratic Presidential candidates to make a decision to get in.

Doesn’t the NSA have a copy of everything?

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to clafoutis. | March 3, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    And the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and a host of other equivalents of the NSA/CIA. Secure accounts are not foolproof, but unsecured accounts are candy from a baby. The main thing holding them back from using what they have gleaned is the sneaking suspicion that Hillary! couldn’t be that stupid. The recent revelations lessen that suspicion. American policy on all fronts is that stupid.

Ol’ Walleyes isn’t JUST a criminal. She’s a pretty artless, stupid criminal.

Which is what you expect when someone has an entire life in unpunished crime.

Valerie, How long before those on the loony left claim that he “probably did”, or “might have”, or “did, too”, or “BUSH!!!”?

Richard Windsor was not available for comment.

This p*sses me off to no end. Every military member, Federal employee and government contractor has to go through MANDATORY training every year on Information Assurance and this is one of the topics. There is no excuse for saying “I didn’t know.” Anyone caught doing this has no excuse and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But, that is not going to happen in this “do as I say, not as I do” world. Only the peons are punished and the higher ups get a free ride.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Arby. | March 3, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Hillary Clinton was probably guilty of <b. AT LEAST what David Petraeus pleaded (will plead) guilty to.

      Apparently, General Petraeus has pleaded guilty and is looking at two years probation. Pity poor old Sandy Berger though, he had to sneak a bunch of scratchy old classified papers out of the building in his socks and he didn’t get the girl.

Midwest Rhino | March 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

This is better excuse than “they’ll never believe both our hard drives failed in one week”. Hillary never had a hard drive problem apparently. She just knew to never run her actions through government servers.

Hillary assumed someone else was keeping track of her emails, that she is legally required to keep track of herself.
Hillary just assumed Ambassador Stevens had enough support, despite his repeated requests for more protection in a very hot zone. She didn’t accomplish things as Secretary of State, but her assumptions have been costly.

Whatever server/ISP she used privately has all the emails, doesn’t it? Should we obtain all those before she becomes Queen of the World? She has her arms spread open on front of the Titanic at the moment (per DiCaprio), but her ship keeps sailing no matter how many icebergs she hits.

This Clinton regime is “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen”, to quote Bill.

    when you register your own domain and handle your own email yourself you are not under same rules as isp are.
    while she probably used a shared host, which may keep records, if she used a cheap vps there is only the retention she (or whatever lackey did it for her) chooses.
    and a cheap vps just for email alone….5 $ a month if that.

Henry Hawkins | March 3, 2015 at 10:56 am

People received emails from Clinton’s secret email account(s) and many recipients will have been in government offices. A good place to search.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 3, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Sure, but of course any illegal activity would be done Lois Lerner style, via alternative routes that (she thinks) are not monitored. The whole circle of jerks was using alternative emails it seems. It’s like corrupt businesses that keep two sets of books … they keep alternative email accounts for the “shady” stuff … but Hillary didn’t even keep a legit one.

    Once corruption is deeply entrenched, they apparently get lazy about covering it up. And that has worked for a long time, as no scandals stick to Obama or Clinton … delay, obstruct, rinse, repeat.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Midwest Rhino. | March 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Considering how many emails she likely sent in the time frame, I’m guessing a whole lot of them are sitting there ripe for picking by any investigation. This administration has not been tidy about hiding things.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    But the question with Hillary, as with Lois lerner, is what did people not working for the government, or non-government e-mails, receive or send?

some thing nobody seems to be mentioning is that by operating her own acct on her own servers she can grant anyone access w/o any oversight.
she could create users that alias or groups that have access to her emails and nobody would know.

    Worse. Any foreign government that breaches the security of her little ten-cent server would have full access to *every* email that it processed, most certainly making a carbon copy of them and tucking them away off-site somewhere for proper blackmail material later. The Dept. of State has hundreds of employees and millions of dollars worth of monitoring and security software to keep its email as secure as possible, while Hillary seems to have believed buying time on a commercial shared server somewhere would somehow prevent her words from being immortalized in plastic somewhere.

    I give it about a month, maybe two, before whoever or whoevers read those emails leaks a nice big lump of them to the press.

Was this not a gross violation of federal law?

Smoking Gun Alert (and where there is smoke there is fire):

Hillary made sure her email was beyond the reach of US subpoenas and warrants. She is clearly hiding something!

The IP address ( associated with Hillary’s domain ( is located offshore, beyond US jurisdiction! The company is located in the Virgin Islands. Details here and here.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to donb. | March 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The British Virgin Islands.

    Arby in reply to donb. | March 3, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Another one-percenter democrap off-shoring jobs that could be done by Americans, or at least illegal aliens…

    She appears to have used a little “shell registrar” up in Jacksonville (FL) called Perfect Privacy LLC to set it up.

    Domain Status:
    Registry Registrant ID:
    Registrant Name: PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC
    Registrant Organization:
    Registrant Street: 12808 Gran Bay Parkway West
    Registrant City: Jacksonville
    Registrant State/Province: FL
    Registrant Postal Code: 32258
    Registrant Country: US
    Registrant Phone: +1.5707088780

    That’s not a local number, by the way – our area code is (904). That number appears to belong to Endeavor Media Group, LLC … which is … interesting in its own right.


    DaveGinOly in reply to donb. | March 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    As a government employee, the law would still have both subject matter jurisdiction over the e-mails and in personam jurisdiction over Hil’s activities. The e-mails are the property of the government, no matter where Hil routed them and/or stored them, and she is still accountable for records retention requirements and for any potential or real security breaches that may have been caused by her use of a private account, and not a secure government account. (As insecure as a government account may be, the agency’s IT department is responsible for it.)

Insufficiently Sensitive | March 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Apparently female members of the Obama admin were given percs that included off-the-record email communications, to hide their crooked dealings from the citizens. Lisa Jackson used Richard Windsor, and maybe others, and Hillary wasn’t any different.

Henry Hawkins | March 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Henry Hawkins is NOT an online pseudonym for Hillary Clinton. Just wanted to put that put there.

Let The Harfing Begin!

“Come on you guys. Come ON. This is not a thing. SO not a thing. So shut up.”

So there.

On to more important things: How rapey IS that Walker fellow anyway?!

Setting aside the records management and historical archives issues, we have two significant concerns here. 1) One of the tenets of good government is open records. While there are most definitely things that need to remain classified for a period of time, the ability of the people and a free press to examine the public record is critical to maintaining a free society. Clearly, the current regime, “transparent” or not, has a much different opinion about what should be available. 2) It is likely safe to say that Mrs. Clinton’s email was owned throughout her term in office. It is a fact that the State department hasn’t been able to clean up its own environment, so god knows what defenses (if any) were in place at whatever location her email was maintained. So let’s take a leap of faith and hope that people in the State Department with real clearances had the good sense to never send her classified information. And let’s assume that her inner circle did the same (a far longer leap). Even without classified information, her email is going to remain a treasure trove for other nations’ intelligence services. She’s going to be discussing strategies and weaknesses and her (and other ranking Cabinet members) opinions. You’ve seen the releases of other communications where people let down their defenses and talk plainly about our allies and enemies. Safe to say there was plenty of that. And I would suggest that it is a very safe bet that Putin was well read in to her thinking and that of the Administration, which likely emboldened him.

The net of this is that even if she never received or sent classified information, her use of a third party email system demonstrates her disregard for the value of a free and open government as well as wanton disregard for maintaining even a small measure of security and confidentiality of our diplomatic decisions during her term in office.

That speaks to both arrogance and stupidity.

    Andy in reply to p1cunnin. | March 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    The timing was exact such that this would not come up during or be discoverable during the hearings and could also be claimed to have existed prior to her taking the role.

    The intent here is deliberate.

Subotai Bahadur | March 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Every bit of this is absolutely Constitutional. At least under the current interpretation. The most important clause of the modern Constitution is the “Connected Persons Clause“; wherein everything you do is legal regardless of statutes if you have connections to the right people. Now, whether or not she used a private email and broke Federal laws, she is protected for exactly as long as she has the right connections. However, given that the connection that protects her is in large part to the Executive Branch, and Obama is known to detest the Clintons; the fact that this was allowed out in public is a shot across Hillary’s bow. One can be unconnected at will, and face the fate of a prole.

Advantage, Faucahontas.

This alone should disqualify her for president. The timing alone shows malice and intent.

Also with regards to “private email” when in those positions:

A friend of ours worked under this department as low level staff. This was during the Bush era. While posted overseas she sent a private and personal mail via her private yahoo account and stated that she was getting depressed (was wanting to start a family, but life was not going that direction). A few weeks later she had all clearances revoked and was called in and confronted with that mail. THEY HAD HACKED IN AND SNOOPED ON HER YAHOO MAIL, AND CONFRONTED HER AS A SECURITY RISK. This was a generally benign mail, not a suicide note.

Henry Hawkins | March 3, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Trey Gowdy said at a press conference today (yesterday?) that Hillary used more than one secret email account, evidence of which found during his Benghazi probe. Oh, dear.

Buy Popcorn futures.

It is now being reported that she used MULTIPLE private email addresses. This is bonkers.

Grover Cleveland wrote the following in a letter accepting the nomination as the Democratic candidate for president on August 8, 1884:

“I believe that the public temper is such that the voters of the land are prepared to support the party which gives the best promise of administering the government in the honest, simple, and plain manner which is consistent with its character and purposes. They have learned that mystery and concealment in the management of their affairs cover tricks and betrayal. The statesmanship they require consists in honesty and frugality, a prompt response to the needs of the people as they arise, and a vigilant protection of all their varied interests.”

I expect that the vast majority of her emails, both sent and received, had a long list of other state dept staff on the cc: list. All of those copies should be archived. Or are we going to watch 3 years of inept invesigation by people who don’t understand IT101 like with the IRS scandal?

Literally and repeatedly handed gigantic opportunities of a lifetime — amazing chances to make history — and the corrupt, talentless hack has pissed every one of them away.

What a loser that woman is.

The fun will be when she croaks, and the left tries making her something other than the talentless, pathetic, corrupt fool she has always been. Let them try.

When a hard core media source on the left releases this sort of information so far ahead of the next election you need to ask yourself is this an attempt to get it out there now so that closer to the election it will be “old news” we already addressed it.