Hillary Clinton is trying to blame the State Department for her lawlessness but new information is coming out showing the destruction of evidence by two Clinton aides. Thank goodness for Judicial Watch and their effort to get to the bottom of this e-mail scandal.
Hillary Clinton and two aides appear to have violated two national security laws by sending classified information on a private email server, according to a former Army counterintelligence agent and investigator for a public interest law group.
Additionally, the two Clinton aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, disregarded a federal judge’s order this month requiring both to make sworn statements to the court that all government documents in their possession will be returned to federal officials, said Chris Farrell, director of investigations for Judicial Watch, the law group.
“What we have is a secretary of state, the only cabinet official in our history, who established her own private email server … in an effort to avoid the normal protocols for unclassified and classified communications. It’s an end run,” he said.
Farrell, in a briefing on the Clinton email affair at the Judicial Watch offices, said supporters of Clinton have sought to portray the use of the private email system to send classified information as a minor administrative matter.
“It is not,” he said. “It is a national security crime, and should be a national security crime investigation,” he said, noting that Clinton created the private email server a week before she took up her duties at Foggy Bottom, indicating that she planned to avoid using official email that must be stored under federal rules.
Two laws apply to the mishandling of classified data on unsecure networks, Farrell said.
The first is 18 USC Sec. 1924, which outlaws the unauthorized removal and storage of classified information. Penalties can include fines and imprisonment for up to one year.
That statute was used to prosecute retired Army General David Petraeus, a former CIA director who provided classified documents to his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $40,000 fine as part of a plea deal in March.
A second federal statute that prosecutors could use to charge Clinton and her aides is 18 USC Sec. 793, a more serious felony statute Farrell described as a “hammer.”
That law covers national defense information and people who misuse it to injure the United States or benefit a foreign power.
Those convicted of violating that law face fines and up to 10 years in prison.
Farrell said he that as an Army counterintelligence officer, he has conducted investigations in the past that are similar to the Clinton email probe. He also worked at a special security officer who was in charge of SCIFs—special facilities used for handling sensitive intelligence.
“When it comes the law on these, intent doesn’t matter,” Farrell said. Mishandling top-secret information should bring down the full weight of the law on violators, he said.
The Clinton email matter is a “serious national security crime issue,” Farrell said. “It’s not two agencies fighting over classification after the fact.”
Judicial Watch currently has 18 lawsuits pending against the State Department seeking access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
THE CLINTON E-MAIL SCANDAL EXPLAINED IN 2 1/2 MINUTES:
The State Department disclosed to Judicial Watch earlier this year that it had discovered an “another universe” of information sought by the group under FOIA on Clinton’s emails involving several cases that had been closed earlier. The data followed discovery of the private email server used by Clinton.
A hearing on one of the lawsuits is set for Thursday before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who recently ordered Clinton, Abedin, and Mills to make the sworn statements regarding federal documents in their possession.
According to Farrell, only Clinton supplied the sworn statement that promised to return all government data and not destroy any records involved in the case. Abedin and Mills, however, did not and instead supplied the court with statements from their lawyers.
Thursday’s court hearing will be the latest turn in an unfolding security scandal involving the former secretary of state that has the potential to undermine her bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination.