Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mistakes Were Made


For John, BLUFThere is dumb and there is illegal and then there is Hunny Bunny.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I always thought that the number one lesson learned from the collapse of the Nixon Administration was that the "coverup is worse than the crime".  There are a number of quotes on this, including this one from Republican Senator Howard Baker:

It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.
However, this seems to be a lesson not learned by the Honorable Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State.

For the last ten months there has been a controversy regarding Ms Clinton's use of her private EMail server for her official email communications.

Frankly, conducting Government business on your home computer is against the law.  There are reasons for this.  One is because of the danger of classified information leaking to our enemies.  Another is the fact that public records are supposed to be preserved for historic (and transparency) reasons.

And, it isn't just classified information, but also information of some classification that has been caveated as a Special Access Program or Sensitive Compartmented Information.  And, in the Department of State, and other Departmentds, there is the designation of Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU).  Just because SBU is not classified does not mean it should be handled carelessly.

One of the things about unclassified information is that if you add up the right parts you can obtain information the other side might not wish you to have.  During the Cold War

Kremlinology was the art and science of finding out who was in charge by watching who sat where during May-Day Parades (and a lot more Open Source (OSINT).  A more historic example is when a French newspaper reporter exposed the existence, in the 1920s, of a Versailles Treaty forbidden General Staff, but listing who had which job.  He did this by studying who stood or or sat next to who at wakes and weddings and all the fine affairs.  Unclassified information revealing Classidied.

Finally, there are a cloud of people I know who believe that if this had been them, they would have swung.  People who are careful about Classified information.  For example, my son bought a bigger cell phone so it would be less likely he would accidentally carry it into a SCIF (a special, Compartmented Information Facility).  I would guess that a poll of active duty and retired military and civilian Department of Defense works and State Department employees would find 80%± agreeing that Ms Clinton did wrong and should punished.

My view is that she should make a clean breast of it, apologize to everyone, actually that she did wrong and then move on.  It is not that I think she should go scott free, but I would rather see the voters defeat her at the polls rather than run her out of the race on a technicality.  On the other hand, if she is unable to come clean, she should not be President and all the media should tell her so.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Wasn't Ms Clinton a lawyer on the staff of the House Watergate [Judiciary] Committee?

  For example, 18 U.S. Code § 798 - Disclosure of classified information

  The problem is, often an accumulation of unclassified data can lead to drawing conclusions regarding classified activities.

  As per 44 US Code § 2115.   In fact, my thesis at the Army War College, 105 pages on the strategic importance of the Philippines was written from all unclassified sources, but when I turned it in it was stamped CONFIDENTIAL, because, in the aggregate, it proved to be Classified, at least according to those who reviewed it.

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