Ramesh S Arunachalam
I came across this very interesting but intriguing piece of information from the official website of US House of Representatives, The Select Committee on Benghazi, Minority Website (https://benghazi.house.gov/news/press-releases/statement-on-latest-release-of-clinton-emails) and I reproduce the same below:
I have seen one of the e mails (2010) as the other e mail referenced is not available. I have however seen several hundred e mails that have been released so far and I will provide a deeper analysis of the same at a later stage.
For the moment, let us concentrate on the statements given in the press release dated January 8th 2016 on the Minority Website of The Select Committee on Benghazi, House of Representatives. Let us look at things statement by statement and I quote the first statement below:
Statement #1: "It is the FBI, not the Benghazi Committee that is investigating the mishandling of classified information in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, private server to conduct official U.S. government foreign policy.” (https://benghazi.house.gov/news/press-releases/statement-on-latest-release-of-clinton-emails)
From the above, it can be inferred that the US House of Representatives, The Select Committee on Benghazi (Minority Website, https://benghazi.house.gov/news/press-releases/statement-on-latest-release-of-clinton-emails) has made the statement that the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton HAD used an unsecure, private server to conduct official U.S. government foreign policy.
This is indeed a serious matter if you consider the duties of the Secretary of State and I quote from the official website that lists the duties of the Secretary of State (http://www.state.gov/secretary/115194.htm)
In the above, it must be noted that activities and responsibilities 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 14 (given above) have DIRECT implications for national defense. And apart from these activities and responsibilities, the activity/responsibility (given in bold in the last paragraph) also has serious implications for national defense as ‘The Secretary also serves as the channel of communication between the Federal Government and the States on the extradition of fugitives to or from foreign countries’.
All of these again offer proof of the fact that that the duties of the Secretary of State are also HUGELY concerned with national defense and national security, especially, in the changing world of the last 3 decades where fugitives like Osama Bin Laden have (hiding in other countries including Pakistan) waged war on the United States property, both in the mainland and elsewhere across the globe.
And it goes without saying that foreign policy has serious defense implications. So, foreign policy cannot be conducted in isolation as Nations everywhere (The United States included) attempt to build alliances against the global threat of transnational terrorism, which was in fact brought to the United States mainland via the despicable terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. Therefore, there is always a national security aspect and thereby a national defense component of foreign policy which needs to be recognised. Every foreign policy advisor including the United States Secretary of State would (have to) know that!
Dealing with transnational terrorism is therefore a very integral part of foreign policy and be it 9/11/2001 in the United States or 7/7/2005 (in London) or 26/11/2008 (India) or the recent Paris and Brussels attacks, it is foreign policy that will have to take a lead in ensuring national security. The national defense implications of this fact cannot be overemphasized. In fact, national security and national defense strategies are now an integral part of foreign policy because the foreign policy advisor (such as the United States Secretary of State) has the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of a nation’s assets, properties and citizens worldwide. There can be no two doubts about this!
That said, let us get back to statement #1 given in the press release dated January 8th 2016 on the (Minority) Website of The Select Committee on Benghazi, House of Representatives. The above also talks of classified information but let us get to the aspect of classified information later but please do keep it at the back of your mind! What is of immediate concern to me now and what should concern every American is the fact that the US House of Representatives, The Select Committee on Benghazi, Minority Website (https://benghazi.house.gov/news/press-releases/statement-on-latest-release-of-clinton-emails) has put forth the statement that “Secretary Clinton used an unsecure, private server to conduct official U.S. government foreign policy.”
That is a very serious statement (if true) and if indeed, Hillary Clinton had used her private unsecure server to conduct official U.S. government foreign policy, then, there is no doubt that she was NOT acting in the best interests of the United States! There can be no two doubts about that!
That said, let us fast forward to the present and see what has happened in Afghanistan just after Secretary of State, John Kerry visited Afghanistan on Sunday, April 10th 2016. The unfortunate blasts that took place after Secretary Kerry’s visit make it very, very, very clear that in today’s (violent) world, foreign policy is (always) closely intertwined with national defense and security.
Please read the following news article and you will automatically come to the same judgment! And imagine, if after these nerve chilling and devastating blasts in Afghanistan, Secretary Kerry were to communicate using a private unsecured e mail server! That would be disastrous indeed and would pose a huge threat to the security of the United States and its programs worldwide!
Thus, as evident from the above, it is indeed very clear that in today’s world, foreign policy and national defense/security are intertwined and strongly related to one another!
Having set the context, let us now look at a set of e mails from Hillary Clinton dated July 1st 2010 where the subject matter is a bomb blast in Pakistan.
The Stakeholders in the above e mail Trail (with the positions held by them then) are:
· Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, The United States
Vali Nasr, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Apecial representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, between 2009 and 2011
Was it right for such a high profile team to communicate (on very sensitive matters) through the private unsecure e mail of Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State? Irrespective of whether or NOT laws were violated, it was clearly irresponsible for such a high profile team to communicate (that too on such a sensitive topic) via a private unsecure server, especially, on the eve of the (then) Secretary of State’s visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan, both of which are very sensitive regions and have been linked to transnational terrorism!
It must be mentioned that Hillary Clinton’s Private Unsecure E mail Server was indeed shown to be unsecure[iii] after it was hacked by Marcel Lazăr Lehel (aka Guccifer). Please recall that Russia Today published emails about the Benghazi Embassy attacks hacked from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sydney Blumenthal, her advisor.
Anyway, getting back to the bomb blast of 2010 at a SUFI SHRINE in Pakistan (given in Hillary Clinton’s e mail as shown earlier), I quote from the BBC, which wrote (the following) about these blasts:
“High alert after Pakistan shrine suicide blasts[iv] (http://www.bbc.com/news/10486925)
Does this matter not concern national defense for the United States, especially given what happened on 9/11/2001 and also given the fact that Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Pakistani Taliban have all along helped Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden (when he was alive)? And 2010 was when Osama Bin Laden was apparently still living in Abbotabad, Pakistan! And let us not forget the fact that the Unites States has been fighting a drone war against the Pakistani terrorists (in the Waziristan areas) as well.
That being the case, how correct and appropriate was it for e mails to be sent (to the Secretary of State and by the Secretary of State) through an unsecured private server and that too about a bombing (terrorist) incident in a foreign country (like Pakistan), which was SUPPOSEDLY under terrorist attack. And please remember that Pakistan was a country that the Secretary of State was indeed planning on visiting shortly thereafter and she did visit Pakistan on July 18th 2010! And if these emails (of July 1st 2010) do NOT concern national security and defense (for the Unites States), especially given the fact that Osama Bin Laden was alive then (and perhaps already in Abbotbad), what else can concern national security and defense for the Unites States!
As noted above, Hillary Clinton was to travel[v] to Pakistan and Afghanistan from the 18th of July 2010 and here is an interview that she gave Fox News – the interview clearly proves her trip was concerned as much with foreign policy as national defense/security, especially, given the context of what was happening in Pakistan and the region!
That foreign policy and national defense were both part of her agenda is therefore very, very clear from the interview that Hillary gave to the Fox News[vi] and I quote
Thus, the above clearly shows that Hillary Clinton was using her private and unsecured e mail server to carry on the United States Foreign Policy which is also closely intertwined with national security and defense, especially because of the prevalent transnational terrorism and also because transnational terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and other networks (like ISIS) are operational in many foreign countries like Pakistan and elsewhere – from where they have plotted and attacked the United States and other countries, as we have seen over the years!
Therefore, it is beyond doubt that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was entrusted with and having lawful possession and control of information, relating to foreign policy, national security and national defense (as shown in the examples and emails above and there are numerous other examples and emails that can be provided).
That said, therefore, it is very, very clear that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she, through gross negligence (at least I think so that it was more negligence than on purpose), permitted the above information (as demonstrated in the July 1st 2010 e mail trail above) - related to foreign policy, national security and national defense - to be removed from their proper place of custody, the SECURE United States government server(s), where they belonged and had them stored in an unsecured private e mail server. I am not sure that was wise under any count!
There are many more emails that I have analysed and I can show that a lot of the emails that went through Hillary Clinton’s private unsecured server were e mails that concerned national defense, national security and also foreign policy. That being the case, the key question of interest here is whether or not, Hillary Clinton - through her above and other e mails sent via a private unsecured server when she was Secretary of State - violated the following section of the law?
Please note that the following section does not talk of classified information and it just talks of information pertaining to national defense!
o "18 U.S. Code § 793 - Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."[viii]
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WORD CLASSIFIED DOES NOT APPEAR IN THIS SECTION. THIS NEEDS TO BE CLEARLY NOTED. THEREFORE, it must be clearly understood that this section DOES not require the INFORMATION to be classified in any manner.
Folks, I leave it to the investigators to do a thorough and objective job in investigating the Hillary Clinton private e mail saga!
Watch this space for more detailed and objective analysis in the coming months!
[i] All activities and responsibilities highlighted in BOLD have DIRECT implications for national defense!
[ii] This activity and responsibility has DIRECT implications for national defense!
[iii] Please see https://pando.com/2015/03/20/exclusive-interview-jailed-hacker-guccifer-boasts-i-used-to-read-hillarys-memos-for-six-seven-hours-and-then-do-the-gardening/ and http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/08/source-no-coincidence-romanian-hacker-guccifer-extradited-amid-clinton-probe.html