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Reprinted from Consortium News
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in a legal pickle over her careless email practices -- in that she appears to have endangered national security secrets including the identity of covert CIA officers and done so for selfish reasons (personal convenience or keeping her documents out of reach of transparency laws).
The facts of the case would seem to merit criminal charges against her, since Clinton's situation is analogous to problems faced by other senior officials, including former CIA directors John Deutch and David Petraeus who were accused of mishandling classified information, Deutch by having secret material on his home computer and Petraeus for giving notebooks with highly sensitive information to his lover/biographer.
Deutch agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor but was preemptively pardoned by President Bill Clinton; Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor in a plea deal that spared him from jail time and was widely criticized as excessively lenient, especially since the Obama administration had jailed lower-level officials, such as former CIA officer John Kiriakou, for similar violations.
In 2012, faced with a multiple count indictment, Kiriakou agreed to plead guilty to one count of violating the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act for giving a reporter the phone number of a former CIA officer whose work for the spy agency was still classified. Though the reporter did not publish the ex-officer's name, Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act was also a factor in the "Plame-gate affair" in 2003 when officials of George W. Bush's administration disclosed the CIA identity of Valerie Plame as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had challenged Bush's claims about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium for a nuclear program, one of the falsehoods that was used to justify invading Iraq.
Right-wing columnist Robert Novak blew Plame's undercover identity but a special prosecutor chose not to indict anyone, including Bush's aides, under the 1982 law. He did, however, convict Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, of obstructing justice. However, Bush commuted Libby's sentence so he avoided jail time.
The recent State Department Inspector General report makes clear that Clinton blithely disregarded safeguards designed to protect the most highly classified national security information and that she included on her unprotected email server the names of U.S. intelligence agents under cover.
In other words, there is legal precedent for Hillary Clinton to be charged in connection with her decision to handle her State Department emails through a personal server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, rather than through official government servers. But there's political precedent as well for the well-connected to be either slapped on the wrist or let off the hook.
A Biblical Warning
Beyond Clinton's legal predicament over secrets, there is also the question of how she manipulates information on small matters as well as big. There's a pertinent Bible quotation: "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." (Luke 16:10)
Army veteran and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, standing in protest of a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Feb. 15, 2011.
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And I happen to have personal experience with how Clinton has been dishonest in the little matter of my brutal arrest on Feb. 15, 2011, after I stood with my back turned toward her while she delivered a speech at George Washington University about the importance of respecting dissent (in other countries, that is).
I have looked closely at her relevant email exchanges from late February 2011 after Secretary Clinton didn't miss a syllable as I was roughly dragged away by security personnel right in front of her. From my review of those emails, I had two take-aways: (1) Secretary Clinton is not truthful about the smallest of things; and (2) she had a much more important issue to worry about at the time; namely, rallying support for a "no-fly zone" as a gateway to a "regime change" war on Libya.
Could that be why she never took up her confidant Sidney Blumenthal's suggestion that an apology to me might be in order? Since the emails speak so eloquently to both issues, I will cite them below:
On my standing silently at George Washington U. on Feb. 15, 2011: