North Korean nuke se­crets com­pro­mised

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JOHN SOLOMON

One of the most se­ri­ous po­ten­tial breaches of na­tional se­cu­rity iden­ti­fied so far by the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity in­side Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s pri­vate emails in­volves the re­lay­ing of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing the move­ment of North Korean nu­clear as­sets, which was ob­tained from spy satel­lites.

Mul­ti­ple in­tel­li­gence sources who spoke to The Washington Times, solely on the con­di­tion of anonymity, said con­cerns about the move­ment of the North Korean in­for­ma­tion through Mrs. Clin­ton’s un­se­cured server are twofold.

First, spy satel­lite in­for­ma­tion is fre­quently clas­si­fied at the top-se­cret level and han­dled within a spe­cial com­part­ment called Tal­ent-Key­hole. This means it is one of the most sen­si­tive forms of in­tel­li­gence gath­ered by the U.S.

Sec­ond, the North Kore­ans have as­sem­bled a mas­sive cy­ber­hack­ing army un­der an elite mil­i­tary spy pro­gram known as Bureau 121, which is in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive in tar­get­ing sys­tems for hack­ing, es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble pri­vate sys­tems. The North Kore­ans, for in­stance, have been blamed by the U.S. for the hack of Sony movie stu­dios.

Al­low­ing sen­si­tive U.S. in­tel­li­gence about North Korea to seep into a more in­se­cure pri­vate email server has up­set the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity be­cause it threat­ens to ex­pose its meth­ods and as­sets for gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence on the se­cre­tive com­mu­nist na­tion.

“While ev­ery­one talks about the U.S. be­ing aware of the high threat of hack­ing and for­eign spy­ing, there was a cer­tain non­cha­lance at Mrs. Clin­ton’s State Depart­ment in pro­tect­ing sen­si­tive data that alarms the in­tel com­mu­nity,” one source fa­mil­iar with the email re­view told The Times. “We’re sup­posed to be mak­ing it harder, not eas­ier, for our en­e­mies to in­ter­cept us.”

State Depart­ment spokesman Mark C. Toner told The Times on Tues­day evening he couldn’t dis­cuss the email be­cause of on­go­ing probes by the FBI and the in­spec­tor gen­eral com­mu­nity. “There are re­views and in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der way on these mat­ters gen­er­ally so it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment at this time,” he said.

The email in ques­tion was ini­tially flagged by the in­spec­tor gen­eral of the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity in July as po­ten­tially con­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion de­rived from highly clas­si­fied satel­lite and map­ping sys­tem of the Na­tional Geospa­tial-In­tel­li­gence Agency. That email was later con­firmed to con­tain clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion by Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act of­fi­cials within the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.

The rev­e­la­tion, still un­der re­view by the FBI and in­tel­li­gence an­a­lysts, has cre­ated the most heart­burn to date about a lax email sys­tem in­side the State Depart­ment that al­lowed of­fi­cial busi­ness and — in at least 188 emails re­viewed so far — clas­si­fied se­crets to flow to Mrs. Clin­ton via an un­se­cured pri­vate email server hosted at her home in Chap­paqua, New York.

The email does not ap­pear to have been copied di­rectly from the clas­si­fied email sys­tem and crossed what is known as the “air gap” to non­clas­si­fied com­put­ers, the sources said.

Rather, the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity be­lieves a State Depart­ment em­ployee re­ceived the in­for­ma­tion through clas­si­fied chan­nels and then sum­ma­rized it when that em­ployee got to a non­clas­si­fied State Depart­ment com­puter. The email chain went through Mrs. Clin­ton’s most se­nior aides and even­tu­ally to Mrs. Clin­ton’s per­sonal email, the sources said.

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