US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her Blackberry phone alongside Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (R) as she attends the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea, November 30, 2011. Clinton used the uncleared, personal device throughout her four years at the State Department in conjunction with a private mail server in her home. (credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency, is facing a massive backlash after an FBI investigation found her to have been "extremely careless" in the handling of classified information. The scandal surrounding her use of a private e-mail server has only grown since the Justice Department's decision not to pursue criminal charges. Polls show that a majority of Americans believe she should have been indicted, and more recent polls place Clinton in a dead heat with the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton led by a significant margin just weeks ago.
Regardless of the political games being played, the facts of Clinton's use of a private e-mail server and the related potential exposure of Top Secret information—including the names of covert intelligence personnel overseas and at home—are worth knowing and nailing down. At the core, these details raise a much broader question surrounding how national secrets are kept and shared and how broken the information infrastructure of the United States government really is.
In order to have an intelligent conversation about Clinton’s e-mails, here is a technical analysis of the evidence as it has been presented (think of it like a print version of Congressional hearings, minus screaming, finger-pointing, and grandstanding). A clearer picture has started emerging based on the testimony given by FBI Director James Comey and the Inspectors General of the State Department and the Intelligence Community (OIG), plus a portion of the 30,000-plus e-mails released thus far through FOIA requests by the State Department and other agencies. That picture, based on our assessment, is not a very pretty one.
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