As reported by The Washington Times, Clinton, as secretary of state, and her aides attempted to utilize personal electronic devices inside of areas where classified information is stored, according to a just-released State Department inspector general report.
This, from the same woman who thought so little of established federal rules and the public’s right to know what she was doing as the nation’s top diplomat that she opted to hide her email activities on a private server in her home.
As The Times noted further, the State Department’s security division, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, told the IG that in March 2009, shortly after assuming her post, Clinton rejected an offer from security officials to supply her with a secure government-owned smartphone.
“DS was informed that Secretary Clinton’s staff had been asking to use BlackBerry devices inside classified areas,” the report, released in May, said.
Another part of the IG report noted that Clinton sought in January 2009 to bring a BlackBerry device with her into a secure area, something that is blatantly against the rules.
Rather, State Department officials made her an offer to set up a computer near her office desk so she could check emails, but the report noted that the department never did set up the stand-alone system.
The Times reported further:
Classified areas are called SCIFs, for “sensitive compartment information facilities,” and are used by officials with security clearances to read secret or top-secret intelligence and other classified information. Security rules prohibit bringing in electronic devices like smartphones that could be used to photograph or copy secret documents or to take notes.
The facilities also are protected against external eavesdropping, and those entering are required to leave all phones and other hand-held electronic devices outside.
The requirement is in place so that no classified information can be logged, copied or transmitted – intentionally or inadvertently. But again, as is her modus operandi, Clinton – perhaps because she’s been first lady – did not think those rules applied to her.
The IG’s report doesn’t state whether Clinton or her aides actually violated the ban on taking a smartphone or other handheld device inside a SCIF, but if she or her aides nevertheless used their BlackBerrys inside the SCIF improperly, that may help explain how classified data wound up on Clinton’s private email server, said The Times.
Disclosure that classified data has been found on at least some of the 55,000 emails collected from Clinton’s unsecure private email server is currently the focus, among other things, of an FBI investigation of Clinton and her aides. As part of its investigation the FBI nabbed four servers used within the secretary of state’s office by the former department head and her aides.
The IG further noted that after the aides asked to used BlackBerry devices inside classified areas, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security issued a classified memorandum to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, that described how vulnerable to hacking Blackberries were while pointing out that they are prohibited from use in such areas.
Clinton reportedly contacted the assistant secretary after seeing the memorandum and told him that she “gets it” regarding the use of cellphones in secure areas.
That’s not all. Diplomatic Security officials also warned Clinton about hacking threats directed against the State in March 2011. That memo noted that officials had seen a “dramatic increase” in hacking attempts since January of that year. Hackers, security officials said, were attempting “to compromise the private home email accounts of senior department officials.”
“Although the targets are unclassified, personal email accounts, the likely objective is to compromise user accounts and thereby gain access to policy documents and personal information that could enable technical surveillance and possible blackmail,” the memo said. Adding that “the personal email of family members also is at risk.”