Executed Scientist May Be Just One Hillary Victim
Expert says every 'serious intelligence agency on this planet' likely has Clinton's highly hackable emails
Although it may be impossible to know for certain if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lax handling of sensitive information played a role in the recent execution of an Iranian scientist, security experts said Tuesday it again highlights her recklessness.
Iran recently announced the execution of Shahram Amiri, an expert in radioactive isotopes at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, for “revealing the country’s top secrets to the enemy … the Great Satan.” An email forwarded to Clinton in July 2010 discussed Amiri, referred to as “our friend,” according to WikiLeaks.
“I would lose respect for any serious intelligence agency on this planet if they had not accessed the emails on the server.”
“We’re never going to know whether they learned about him from the emails or not, but there were discussions about him in a classified email,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA official who now serves as senior vice president for policy and programs at the Center for Security Policy. “This sort of proves what the leaks might have caused.”
Amiri’s execution has resurrected concerns about the private email server that Clinton had set up in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York. FBI Director James Comey determined that Clinton’s conduct did not rise to the level of a criminal violation, but called her behavior “careless.”
Amiri reportedly provided crucial information to the United States and defected in 2009. But in summer 2010, he went to the Iranian Interests section of the Pakistani embassy in Washington and asked to be returned home. Initially treated as a hero by the Iranian government, he later mysteriously disappeared.
Sen. Tom Cotton said on "Face the Nation" Sunday that the incident demonstrates that Clinton lacks the judgment to be president.
On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump raised the issue on Twitter.
"Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails," he wrote.
Fleitz said some of Clinton's emails included information requiring "high compartmentalism," meaning it should have necessitated that officials sign a document certifying that only a handful of people knew about it.
"The assumption has to be that people we put in danger," he said. "At the CIA, I would not have been cleared for that … I would have been fired for doing a fraction of this stuff — and prosecuted."
Sebastian Gorka, vice president and professor of strategy and irregular warfare at the Institute of World Politics, agreed it is impossible to determine whether Clinton's emails played a role in Amiri's execution.
"But that doesn't matter," he said. "That is one of the most egregious examples that her private, home-brew server was a threat to national security."
By virtue of her position in government, Clinton should have known better, he said.
"She was a Cabinet member," Gorka said. "She was sending highly — the very highest-level of classified information … This is all about protecting sources and methods."
It is not known for certain that foreign intelligence services breached Clinton's email server. Comey said the FBI found no evidence of that — but added that it is unlikely agents would have uncovered such evidence. Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden — who, ironically, signed a letter condemning Trump's fitness for office — told The Washington Free Beacon last month that it is unlikely Clinton's server remained secure.
"I would lose respect for any serious intelligence agency on this planet if they had not accessed the emails on the server," he said.
What's more, Fleitz noted, a May report by the State Department's Office of Inspector General determined that Clinton's staff and an aide to her husband discovered evidence of cyber attacks against the server — but there is no indication that they reported it to the department's diplomatic security staff, as required by regulations.
"We may have pulled assets as a result of this," he said. "If the government worked properly, this would have been done invisibly."