With legal question marks paving Hillary Clinton’s path to the presidency, the 2016 election and our nation’s future could be impacted by Hillary’s past.
If you want to understand the scope of her past actions, the gravity of the allegations, and see where this is all leading, read The Hillary Brief.
Scandals have followed Hillary Clinton throughout her law career and her public life. But the current investigations represent the biggest threat she has faced. She is under investigation by the FBI for multiple crimes and is battling a case in the Federal Courts brought by Judicial Watch. In addition, several other lawsuits have been threatened.
The following 7 items comprise a list of the primary violations of laws and executive orders allegedly committed by Hillary Clinton and her State Department staff while operating an email system outside of authorized networks, including possible violations committed during her attempted cover up.
- Gross negligence in handling of information related to national defense
- Knowingly removing classified information and retaining it at an unauthorized location
- Deliberate Violation of FOIA for 6 years
- Public Corruption
- Violation of the 2009 Federal Records Act
- Violation of Executive Orders 13526 and 12333
These issues will be addressed by first examining Mrs. Clinton’s responsibilities to protect classified information as specified in the nondisclosure agreement she signed when she became Secretary of State. Then, the laws pertaining to each alleged violation will be examined followed by available evidence for her guilt.
Hillary Clinton’s nondisclosure agreement for classified information
People elected to public office are not generally required to undergo an extended background investigation (SSBI) as is required by the military, government employees, and other unelected officials when granting access to highly classified information. The vetting done by voters and the force of the signed nondisclosure agreement are deemed adequate. But are they?
The link below provides access to Hillary Clinton’s nondisclosure agreement signed when she took office as Secretary of State.
She signed the agreement affirming her understanding that she would have access to classified information, would protect it, and would return it all upon demand, or at the conclusion of her employment. This form was never completed to acknowledge the return of classified information. It has taken lawsuits, as well as an FBI investigation, to force Hillary to live up to part of her signed agreement and to return all classified information. But, in her case, returning classified information that she was not supposed to have would be an admission of guilt.
1. Gross negligence in handling of information related to national defense
A. The law regarding the email server
U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 93 › § 1924
Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material:
Section 1924, Paragraph a: Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Evidence of Violation
Chapter 93, Section 1924 seems enough to send Hillary Clinton to prison, and it is very specific to her use of an unauthorized storage system, such as an email server. The use of the server has been documented sufficiently over the past year that no specific references will be provided other than her implicit acknowledgment of the server in the numerous articles referenced below.
B. The law regarding mishandling/transmitting defense information
U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 37 › § 793 Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information (Paragraphs d, e, f, g)
The penalty described in Paragraph (6) of Section 793:
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.
Nine cases are presented as evidence of violation Title 18 Section 793
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch discussed email messages from Hillary Clinton’s server that show a clear intent, from the outset, to avoid the rules for FOIA and the 2009 Federal Records Act. In Fitton’s words: “They show the Obama State Department’s plan to set up non-government computers and a computer network for Hillary Clinton to bypass the State Department network. That these records were withheld from the American people until now is scandalous and shows the criminal probe of Hillary Clinton’s email system should include current and former officials of the Obama administration.”
After denying that any email messages still existed, the State Department began slowly releasing documents. In August 2015, the Inspector General of the intelligence community took a random sampling of 40 documents. In the relatively small sample, 4 were classified, and two of those were Top Secret. A spokesperson for the IG said that the emails, “were classified when they were sent and are classified now.”
(3) Casey Harper at The Daily Caller delved into violation of U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 37 › § 793
“‘By using a private email system, Secretary Clinton violated the Federal Records Act and the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual regarding records management, and worse, could have left classified and top secret documents vulnerable to cyber-attack,’ Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said in an email to reporters.
‘This is an egregious violation of the law, and if it were anyone else, they could be facing fines and criminal prosecution.’”
Harper pointed out that in 1999, after CIA Director John M. Deutch used his personal email to send classified information, his security clearance was suspended. Deutch resigned his position.
(4) Fox, Associated Press and New York Post all reported that Hillary’s staff copied intelligence from top-secret servers to insecure email.
Paul Sperry of the New York Times reported that information from a classified system, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), has shown up on an unclassified system, Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). The two systems are, of course, not connected.
Of the 1,340 classified email messages from Hillary Clinton’s home server, 11 contained Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) and Special Access Programs, which is a subset of SCI. These messages included intelligence from drone operations and from intelligence sources. The deeper investigators go into Hillary’s store of emails, the more damaging they appear to be.
This moving of information from a classified system to an unclassified one is no accident. It takes forethought and conscious effort to commit such an egregious violation.
(5) APNewsBreak: US declares 22 Clinton emails ‘top secret’
The Associated Press learned that 7 email threads would not be disclosed because they contain “top secret” information. These messages, comprising 37 pages, are from SAP, Special Access Programs, programs that might reveal confidential sources or dark programs such as drone strikes.
(6) Fox News reported Friday (Jan 22) that at least one of Clinton’s emails included sensitive information on spies.
“It takes a very conscious effort to move a classified email or cable from the classified systems over to the unsecured open system and then send it to Hillary Clinton’s personal email account,” said Raymond Fournier, a veteran Diplomatic Security Service special agent. “That’s no less than a two-conscious-step process.”
He says it’s clear from some of the classified emails made public that someone on Clinton’s staff essentially “cut and pasted” content from classified cables into the messages sent to her. The classified markings are gone, but the content is classified at the highest levels — and so sensitive in nature that “it would have been obvious to Clinton.” Most likely the information was, in turn, emailed to her via NIPRNet.
Fournier said information from the classified system could have been retyped, or obtained from a screen shot, and used in the insecure system, omitting the classified markings. That, Fournier said is, “totally illegal.”
Most of the classified emails were sent to Mrs. Clinton by her chief of staff or her deputy chiefs, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan. The FBI will be focusing on these three staff members.
(7) Withheld Clinton emails contain ‘operational’ intel, put lives at risk
Twenty-two highly classified Hillary Clinton emails are deemed by the intelligence community and State Department to contain “operational intelligence.” They are too damaging to national security to release.
Clinton’s campaign has called for the release of the 22 “Top Secret” emails. This creates the impression that she has nothing to hide while she hides behind the certainty that no document this highly classified will be released to the public. Furthermore, according to security policies, the originating agency, not the State Department, has final say on classification and handling of the documents.
(8) U.S. State Department releases final batch of Clinton emails
The U.S. State Department released the final batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails (1700 messages) on Monday from her time at the agency’s helm, bringing the final tally of emails it says contain classified information to more than 2,000.
(9) Further Damage by the Actions of Hillary Clinton
An investigation by Breitbart News found that the ISP for Mrs. Clinton’s email server, Internap, was one of the victims of a highly sophisticated cyber-espionage operation that is traceable to China. In addition, Clinton’s email server had an open port that made it highly vulnerable to hackers. Furthermore, her email domain was hosted by Network Solutions which, in 2010, had approximately half a million of its domains infected with malware coming from a Ukrainian “attack server.”
There is no way to know what information was extracted from Clinton’s server. But these attacks only serve to reinforce the need to follow authorized procedures for conducting government business and protecting classified information.
Citizens outside of the intelligence community my never know the extent of the damage from Clinton’s actions. But such disclosures have great potential to degrade national security and they can cost billions of dollars to overcome.
While in the USAF, H. L. Wegley was assigned to work closely with NSA. Earlier, two NSA employees had defected to the USSR at the height of the Cold War. What these two traitors disclosed set US intelligence efforts back at least seven years and cost Americans billions of dollars. The disclosure of highly classified information left America vulnerable, operating in the blind while trying to defend the nation. H. L. Wegley struggled to do his job because the US was still trying, desperately, to recover from disclosures committed by two people for personal gain, people who thought they were superior to others and above all laws.
This pattern— people who thought they were superior to others and above all laws—was deemed so dangerous in people handling classified information that it became a screening criterion used during extended background investigations. Candidates for jobs handling highly classified information were interviewed multiple times by psychiatrists to determine if they fit this dangerous profile.
2. Knowingly removing classified info and retaining it at an unauthorized location
Title 18 U.S Code Chapter 93, Section 1924 violations seem to be enough to send Mrs. Clinton to prison:
Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Evidence of Violation
The house committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi discovered the existence of Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while the committee tried to collect all relevant correspondence between Clinton and her aides. The account was traced to an Internet service registered to Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York which is not an authorized location for classified information. After the last batch of emails was released on Feb 29, 2016, 2,115 of the email messages have been deemed classified.
Once Hillary Clinton’s email server’s existence became known, the watchdog organization, Judicial Watch, tried to obtain information from the server under FOIA. However, Hillary Clinton continued to deny the server’s existence. Judicial Watch then sued under FOIA and won. After a court ordered her to release the information, she reluctantly began to turn over documents. The documents came in a slow trickle that seemed to be a stalling tactic.
Judicial Watch (February 19, 2016) examined the incoming documents, they found records contradicting statements made by Mrs. Clinton. While testifying under oath, Clinton said the initial request to turn over the documents came to her via a letter in November 2014. But Judicial Watch found in the information released by Hillary an email message from State Department, dated July 2014, asking for the Clinton emails. The lie may have bought Clinton a few months (July to November), but it could cost her a perjury conviction.
4. Deliberate Violation of FOIA for 6 Years
At least three lawsuits against Hillary Clinton either have been filed, or are being considered, for deliberate violations of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).
a. Judicial Watch
Another law suit filed by Judicial Watch is proceeding in the courts, for Hillary Clinton’s deliberate violation of FOIA for 6 years. Judicial Watch announced that District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery. The suit will proceed, delving into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately circumvented the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This will likely require the testimony of Mrs. Clinton and members of her former State Department team.
b. Veterans for a Strong America
Sara Westwood of the Washington Examiner wrote that Veterans for a Strong America also filed a lawsuit against the State Department over FOIA violations. She quoted Joel Arends of that non-profit as saying, “At this point in time, I think we’re the only ones that specifically asked for both her personal and government email and phone logs.” The group’s questions were related to Benghazi.
c. The Associated Press
Al Weaver of the Daily Caller reported that complaints are not just coming in from the political right. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell asserted that the use of a personal emails server was specifically designed to circumvent FOIA and that Associated Press is threatening legal action.
In March of 2015, The New York Times reported that the AP may bring a third suit against Hillary Clinton over circumventing FOIA. Since that was nearly 12 months ago, and it hasn’t happened, it now appears unlikely.
5. Public Corruption
Jan 11, 2016 The Hill reported that an unnamed FBI source said, “The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed.”
This is a change in the scope of the FBI investigation, adding public corruption to what had been an investigation focused on classified information contained in the emails.
On January 11, 2016 The Washington Examiner reported that Joseph DiGenova (a former US Attorney appointed by President Reagan) said, “There are now, I am told, 150 agents working on this case … a very unusually high number of investigators to be working on one case.”
This investigation could go on for a long time, and we do not know whether it will end with an indictment. Regardless, it should be of grave concern to someone who is running for the presidency.
6. Violation of the 2009 Federal Records Act
March 3, 2015 Michael Schmidt of the New York Times broke the story that Hillary Clinton used a private email server and never had a State Department email address.
Section 1236.22 of the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) requirements states that:
“Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record keeping system.”
On March 4, 2015 Michael S. Schmidt and Amy Chozickmarch of the New York Times suspected that Hillary Clinton had violated the Federal Records Act.
“Federal regulations, since 2009, have required that all emails be preserved as part of an agency’s record-keeping system. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, her emails were kept on her personal account and her staff took no steps to have them preserved as part of State Department record. In response to a State Department request, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers, late last year, reviewed her account and decided which emails to turn over to the State Department.”
When Hillary was asked about the records, she first said the records had been deleted. Obviously, if she deleted them, or even stated that she’d done that, then she had no intent to preserve the records as required by NARA.
7. Violation of Executive Orders
Based upon evidence already presented, Hillary Clinton’s actions appear to have violated two Executive Orders, E.O. 13526 and 12333, which specify responsibilities for maintaining control of classified information and intelligence information, respectively.
Executive Order 13526, each respective agency is responsible for maintaining control over classified information it originates and is responsible for establishing uniform procedures to protect classified information and automated information systems in which classified information is stored or transmitted. Standards for safeguarding classified information, including the handling, storage, distribution, transmittal, and destruction of and accounting for classified information, are developed by the ISOO. Agencies that receive information classified elsewhere are not permitted to transfer the information further without approval from the classifying agency. Persons authorized to disseminate classified information outside the executive branch are required to ensure it receives protection equivalent to those required internally. In the event of a knowing, willful, or negligent unauthorized disclosure (or any such action that could reasonably be expected to result in an unauthorized disclosure), the agency head or senior agency official is required to notify ISOO and to “take appropriate and prompt corrective action.” Officers and employees of the United States (including contractors, licensees, etc.) who commit a violation are subject to sanctions that can range from reprimand to termination.
Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, spells out the responsibilities of members of the Intelligence Community for the protection of intelligence information, including intelligence sources and methods. Under Section 1.7 of E.O. 12333, heads of departments and agencies with organizations in the Intelligence Community (or the heads of such organizations, if appropriate) must report possible violations of federal criminal laws to the Attorney General “in a manner consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods.”
1.7 of E.O. 12333, heads of departments and agencies with organizations in the Intelligence Community (or the heads of such organizations, if appropriate) must report possible violations of federal criminal laws to the Attorney General “in a manner consistent with the protection of intelligence sources and methods.”
Hillary Clinton’s handling of intelligence information is being investigated by the FBI for violations of federal criminal laws. According to the two executive orders, any possible violations must be reported, yet no one in the State Department, including members of Hillary’s staff, reported any possible violations.
The question to be answered is, how many people knew but didn’t tell? There seems to be a lot of blame to spread around the State Department and, perhaps, enough to spread farther into the Obama administration. Some news reporters (e.g. National Review) have shown that top Obama-administration officials knew about the server within the first year of operation.
Now, as noted in the Independent Journal, Hillary Clinton is possibly facing criminal charges and further discipline for violating executive orders.
The Hillary Brief has documented 6 such charges:
- Gross negligence in handling classified information – Title 18 U.S. Code Section 793
- Knowingly removing classified info and retaining it at an unauthorized location. Title 18 U.S Code Chapter 93, Section 1924
- Perjury—lying about when she was notified by the State Department to release her email messages—a stalling tactic
- Violation of the Freedom of Information Act for 6 Years (FOIA) by using illegal means of hiding the information. A case is being tried in the federal court system
- Public Corruption – misuse of donations to and money in the Clinton Foundation. The FBI investigation is ongoing
- Violation of The 2009 Federal Records Act (Section 1236.22 of the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration)
This is not the first time Hillary Clinton has faced a possible indictment. In October, 2015, Investor’s Business Daily documented multiple draft indictments written against Hillary Clinton between 1996 and 1998 for her role in events surrounding the Whitewater scandal, which involved the former lawyer’s work on a fraudulent real estate project for a Little Rock savings and loan that cut the Clintons in on a lucrative deal. A decision was made not to prosecute her for fraud only because she was First Lady and, as such, getting a conviction would be difficult even with sufficient evidence.
Now, the email controversy is worsening, the scope of alleged violations and the number of people involved are growing, and Americans are waiting to see what ensues. Once again, there is enough evidence to indict Hillary Clinton, but will the FBI move to indict? If so, what will Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, do? In addition to the FBI investigation, the FOIA lawsuit by Judicial Watch could be enough to upstage Hillary’s run for the White House.
Though the outcome is uncertain, Mrs. Clinton’s own stalling tactics could come back to bite her, exploding at about the time of the political conventions. That raises many interesting and disturbing possibilities for Hillary Clinton, for the Democratic Party, the 2016 election, and for the citizens of the United States of America. It makes one wonder if the Democratic party will take matters in their own hands and replace her if Mrs. Clinton wins the nomination.
Research provided by author H. L Wegley
Pick up a copy of his political thriller Voice in the Wilderness, Book 1 of the Against All Enemies series, a story written more than a year ago, but which parallels the current US political situation and speculates about the nation’s future.