Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders call for Edward Snowden to face trial - The Guardian 20151014

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders call for Edward Snowden to face trial - The Guardian 20151014

Democrats spar over NSA at presidential debate, with Sanders acknowledging Snowden had ‘played very important role’ in ‘educating the American public’

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over Edward Snowden during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate with both calling for him to face trial, but with the Vermont senator saying he thought the NSA whistleblower had “played a very important role in educating the American people”.

Clinton was unmoved by public approbation for Snowden, who exposed the depths of US and UK surveillance to media including the Guardian in 2013.

“He broke the laws of the United States,” she said. “He could have been a whistleblower, he could have gotten all the protections of a whistleblower. He chose not to do that. He stole very important information that has fallen into the wrong hands so I think he should not be brought home without facing the music.”

Snowden has said he did not believe he was granted adequate protection from reprisal under whistleblower laws. Laws protecting whistleblowers in intelligence agencies are written differently from laws protecting others who oppose their employers – including in the government – on grounds of conscience, and are generally considered comparatively weak.

Sanders – Clinton’s main challenger for the Democratic nomination – was more lenient. “I think Snowden played a very important role in educating the American public,” the Vermont senator said. He, too, said that Snowden had broken the law and suggested that he ought to be tried. “I think there should be a penalty to that,” he said. “But I think that education should be taken into consideration before the sentencing.”

Jim Webb, the Virginia senator and former secretary of the navy, said the decision should be left to the courts, and Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, agreed with Clinton. Lincoln Chafee, the former Rhode Island governor, was the only candidate to say he would bring Snowden back to the US as a hero; that answer drew a positive response online.

Clinton’s claim that the information Snowden made public “has fallen into the wrong hands” could be reference to a disputed Times of London story that the leak exposed undercover agents. It could also refer to Snowden’s own admission that inadequate redaction of classified images he supplied to the New York Times was “a fuck-up”.

Ewen MacAskill, the Pulitzer prize-winning Guardian journalist who worked on the Snowden story, has pointed out that no evidence has ever been put forward suggesting that the Snowden documents were hacked or that Snowden himself handed the material to any person or agency other than reputable news outlets.

When moderator Anderson Cooper asked Clinton whether she regretted voting for the Patriot Act, she gave a flat: “No.”

“I don’t,” she said. “I think that it was necessary to make sure that we were able after 9/11 to put in place the security that we needed.” Clinton did allow that the act’s notorious section 215, which allowed for essentially unlimited data collection, had been interpreted overbroadly.

The provisions of the Patriot Act, a law broadening the powers of American intelligence and law enforcement agencies passed just weeks after 9/11, have widely been criticized as too broad and being without accountability. Among them are the expansion of the secret Fisa court system and a framework for the standards for the collection of personal information from citizens who are not suspected or accused of any crime.

Sanders – who voted against the act multiple times, including against its original incarnation in the House of Representatives – said unequivocally that he would end bulk data collection by the NSA.

Clinton demurred. “It’s not easy to balance privacy and security but we have to keep them both in mind,” she said.

If Clinton can store classified emails on a private server, then bring home Snowden - The Hill 20150918

If Clinton can store classified emails on a private server, then bring home Snowden - The Hill 20150918

By H.A. Goodman, contributor

Hillary Clinton might not have broken any laws, but then again, one can breach security protocol and endanger national security simply by making unwise decisions. The former secretary of State's desire to have a private server (for the sake of "convenience") has overshadowed much of the presidential election coverage, without any benefit to the nation, with the Clinton campaign debating security agencies over the definition of classified or unclassified material.

Edward Snowden did break the law, but his actions resulted in a national dialogue about domestic surveillance and forced "needed transparency" — in the words of James Clapper, director of national intelligence — within the shadowy world of domestic spying. Furthermore, while he leaked a tremendous amount of intelligence, the "Top Secret" emails located in the private server of a secretary of State (if indeed Clinton's server didn't have adequate protection) could easily have gotten into enemy hands; it's feasible that North Korean hackers would have an easier time breaking into a private server than a government server.

We now know the extent of America's domestic spying programs because of Snowmen's transgressions and what he did can't legally be defined as treason. His actions weren't motivated by payment from an American enemy, like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen, and when viewed objectively, the end result of his actions could easily be seen as patriotic. In reality, he's a whistleblower who broke the law and no more a threat to national security than when Henry Kissinger claimed Daniel Ellsberg was "the most dangerous man in America" who "must be stopped at all costs."

Yes, Snowden leaked secrets willingly, but Clinton might have leaked secrets simply from knowing too little ("Like with a cloth or something?") or too much about how to hide correspondence from colleagues and government servers. For a defense, Clinton recently stated, "I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified."

With each passing day, however, these declarations become overshadowed by a growing mountain of evidence indicating that security protocol was breached, even if such behavior was allowed by the State Department. First, Clinton's attorney handed over her email server and thumb drive to the FBI, which is currently investigating the security of Clinton's private email setup. Second, dozens of Clinton's emails were classified from the start, or "born classified," as a former Information Security Oversight Office director noted, so the Clinton campaign can't make the excuse that intelligence agencies retroactively classified intelligence.

While the Clinton campaign has vehemently defended against sending or receiving classified information that was always deemed classified, Reuters explains that "the details included in those 'Classified' stamps — which include a string of dates, letters and numbers describing the nature of the classification — appear to undermine this account."

Most importantly, Clinton did indeed receive classified information on an unprotected (or at least a network not protected by government security) server. According to a recent New York Times article, Clinton's server housed classified and Top Secret emails:

A special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account — including one about North Korea's nuclear weapons program — has endorsed a finding by the inspector general for the intelligence agencies that the emails contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them, senior intelligence officials said. ...

But the special review — by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency — concluded that the emails were "Top Secret," the highest classification of government intelligence, when they were sent to Mrs. Clinton in 2009 and 2011. ...

I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, found the two emails containing what he determined was "Top Secret" information in the course of reviewing a sampling of 40 of Mrs. Clinton’s work-related emails for potential security breaches.

Therefore, while Clinton claims not to have sent or received classified information, The New York Times reports that both the CIA and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency found that her emails contained "highly classified" and Top Secret (one regarding North Korea's nuclear program) information. In addition, Top Secret emails were found in a sample of just 40 emails, and there were over 60,000 emails on private server Wired deemed a "security fail."

It's important to note that while 30,490 of Clinton's emails were handed over to the State Department, Clinton and her team deleted 31,830 emails without any oversight, and the emails she disclosed to the government will be made public every two months. Yes, it was legal for her to delete these private emails, but nobody knows if they were truly private, or if she deleted even more sensitive information than the data already found by intelligence agencies thus far.

The fact that such information was stored on a private server, without government protection, is bizarre enough. However, the revelation that both Bill and Hillary Clinton paid a former aide to manage her email setup is even more peculiar. According to CNN, Bryan Pagliano was paid to manage the server of America's secretary of State:

Hillary and Bill Clinton personally paid the State Department staffer who managed their private email server, a spokesman for Clinton's campaign confirmed on Saturday. ...

Pagliano, an IT specialist, informed Congress through his lawyer earlier this week that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment.

According to Clinton supporters, there's nothing wrong with using a private server as secretary of State, or receiving classified information on that server, since Hillary Clinton is obviously trustworthy and wouldn't knowingly compromise national security.

But who vetted the people Clinton paid to manage her private server? Most importantly, why do supporters of Clinton simply assume that nothing nefarious could have been contained within the 31,830 emails deleted unilaterally by her and her staff, or that nobody has hacked her private email setup? That's a tremendous amount of trust being given to the former secretary of State, even though most Americans don't find her trustworthy.

If polls are any indication of why Snowden should be treated in the same manner as Clinton, let's compare how both are viewed by the American public. According to HuffPost Pollster, 55 percent of registered voters according to CNN have an "unfavorable" view of Clinton. Yahoo! writes that "More Americans distrust Hillary Clinton than trust her" and according to CNN, 57 percent of Americans say she is "not honest and trustworthy." In 2016, these trust issues have extended to swing states, and Quinnipiac University finds that voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania believe Clinton is "not honest and trustworthy."

In contrast, a Pew Research report explains that Snowden's overall impact on a large percentage of Americans has been positive:

Young adults are significantly more supportive than their elders of Edward Snowden and his leaks of classified details of the National Security Agency's telephone and internet surveillance programs, a new Pew Research Center/USA TODAY survey finds.

57% of 18- to 29-year olds said the leaks have served rather than harmed the public interest — almost exact mirrors of the 65-and-over age group.

Younger people believe Snowden served the country by disclosing domestic spying practices, while nobody believes Clinton served the country by using a private server and potentially compromising "classified" information. Yet, Clinton is deemed worthy of the presidency while many voters view Snowden to be a traitor.

Furthermore, Ron Fournier in National Journal summarized the Snowden debate by stating the following:

Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows.

It's true that regardless of one’s view of Snowden, most people agree that there's a national debate attributed to Snowden breaking the law and leaking intelligence files.

Hero or traitor, Snowden fostered a critical debate in our country. Clinton simply engaged in the unprecedented act of owning a private server and using it while classified and Top Secret information flowed through its channels. If Clinton can store classified and Top Secret emails on her private server, apologize on Facebook for doing so and claim no laws were broken (therefore nullifying the issue of various breaches of security), and then simply expect to win the presidency, then such trust and leniency should also be afforded to Snowden. The intelligence community should grant Edward Snowden clemency and bring him home, especially in light of the fact that we now have a presidential candidate who truly believes there was nothing wrong with owning a private server as secretary of State.

Edward Snowden has done a lot more good for America by breaking the law than Hillary Clinton did by being "above board" — as Clinton has termed it — with her private email server. If many voters are simply fine with a private server being used for "convenience" while possibly inadvertently jeopardizing U.S. intelligence, then the least we owe Snowden, for bringing the issue of domestic spying to the forefront of the American consciousness, is a ticket back home.

Hillary: Snowden should return and 'answer for what he has done' - The Hill 20151016

Hillary: Snowden should return and 'answer for what he has' done - The Hill 20151016

By Bradford Richardson

Hillary Clinton says National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden should return to America to answer for his actions.

Asked at a town hall in New Hampshire on Friday whether Snowden is a “patriot” or a “traitor” for revealing classified government data, Clinton said she was suspicious of his motives.

“Because he took valuable information and went first to China and then is now under the protection of Vladimir Putin, I think that raises a lot of questions about everything else he did,” Clinton said. “So I do not think he should escape having to return and answer for what he has done.

“I think we need to continue the balance on civil liberties, privacy, and security — it’s always a challenge,” she added.
The Democratic presidential front-runner said Snowden could have come out publicly with his information and been protected under whistleblower laws.

“I firmly believe that he could have gone public and released the information about the collection of information on Americans under whistleblower protection, and he could have done it within the tradition in our country that shields people who come forth acting out of conscience to present information they believe the public should have,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who resigned as secretary of State months before Snowden leaked information in 2013, added that she does not know why he took additional U.S. intelligence that had nothing to do with threats to American civil liberties.

She questioned Snowden’s decision to “steal a lot of information that by any definition had nothing to do with American civil rights, liberties, and privacy, but instead were about terrorists and what other nations, just to name two, Russia and China, do to try to gather information about us and what our government tries to do to prevent that and to try to get information about them.”

Snowden fled the United States after the 2013 leak and was granted asylum in Russia, where he currently resides.

The Department of Justice has charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.