The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton and her aides tried to use per­sonal hand-held elec­tronic de­vices in­side ar­eas used to store clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to the just-re­leased State De­part­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral re­port.

The Bureau of Di­plo­matic Se­cu­rity, the State De­part­ment’s se­cu­rity arm, told the in­spec­tor gen­eral that in March 2009 Mrs. Clin­ton re­jected an of­fer from se­cu­rity of­fi­cials to pro­vide her with a se­cure gov­ern­ment smart­phone. “DS was in­formed that Sec­re­tary Clin­ton’s staff had been ask­ing to use Black­Berry de­vices in­side clas­si­fied ar­eas,” said the re­port, re­leased late last month.

An­other por­tion of the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port states that Mrs. Clin­ton sought in late Jan­uary 2009 to bring her Black­Berry into a se­cure area. In­stead, State De­part­ment of­fi­cials of­fered to set up a com­puter near her of­fice desk to check emails, al­though the re­port says the stand-alone com­puter was never in­stalled.

Clas­si­fied ar­eas are called SCIFs, for “sen­si­tive com­part­ment in­for­ma­tion fa­cil­i­ties,” and are used by of­fi­cials with se­cu­rity clear­ances to read se­cret or topse­cret in­tel­li­gence and other clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. Se­cu­rity rules pro­hibit bring­ing in elec­tronic de­vices like smart­phones that could be used to pho­to­graph or copy se­cret doc­u­ments or to take notes.

The fa­cil­i­ties also are pro­tected against ex­ter­nal eaves­drop­ping, and those en­ter­ing are re­quired to leave all phones and other hand-held elec­tronic de­vices out­side.

The re­port does not say whether Mrs. Clin­ton or her aides vi­o­lated the ban on us­ing smart­phones in­side the SCIFs. How­ever, if she or her aides im­prop­erly used their Black­Ber­rys in­side the SCIF, it could ex­plain how clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion ended up on Mrs. Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server.

The dis­clo­sure of se­crets found on some of the 55,000 emails from Mrs. Clin­ton’s un­se­cure pri­vate server is the fo­cus of an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion. As part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the FBI on Oct. 12 seized four servers used within the sec­re­tary’s of­fice by Mrs. Clin­ton and her aides.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port, af­ter the aides re­quested to use Black­Berry de­vices in­side the clas­si­fied ar­eas, the as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for di­plo­matic se­cu­rity sent a clas­si­fied mem­o­ran­dum to Mrs. Clin­ton’s chief of staff, Ch­eryl Mills, de­scrib­ing the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of us­ing Black­Berry de­vices and em­pha­sized that they are pro­hib­ited from be­ing used in­side sen­si­tive ar­eas.

Mrs. Clin­ton con­tacted the as­sis­tant sec­re­tary af­ter re­ceiv­ing the memo and in­formed him that she “gets it” re­gard­ing cell­phone use in se­cure ar­eas.

Di­plo­matic Se­cu­rity also is­sued a warn­ing di­rectly to Mrs. Clin­ton about hack­ing threats against the de­part­ment in March 2011. The memo said there had been a “dra­matic in­crease” since Jan­uary 2011 in cy­ber­at­tacks by hack­ers whose iden­ti­ties were redacted in the re­port. The hack­ers were seek­ing “to com­pro­mise the pri­vate home email ac­counts of se­nior de­part­ment of­fi­cials.”

“Al­though the tar­gets are un­clas­si­fied, per­sonal email ac­counts, the likely ob­jec­tive is to com­pro­mise user ac­counts and thereby gain ac­cess to pol­icy doc­u­ments and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that could en­able tech­ni­cal sur­veil­lance and pos­si­ble black­mail,” the memo said. “The per­sonal email of fam­ily mem­bers also is at risk.”

The in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port con­cluded that Mrs. Clin­ton failed to re­quest or ob­tain ap­proval to use the pri­vate email server and did not re­port sus­pected hack­ing at­tempts against the server.

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