Sunday, November 8, 2015

Clinton's Contract

Gary L. Bauer

The day after Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, she signed a contract with the American people, not figuratively, but literally.

She signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement -- a contract acknowledging that she held a very special position that would put her in possession of extremely important information. Information that had to be handled with the utmost care.

The contract is very clear. It states in part, "I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of [sensitive compartmented information] by me could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation."

Mrs. Clinton has defended herself by saying that none of the information she received on her private, unsecured server was ever marked classified. That defense may not hold up. The burden was on her to know whether it was classified or not.

Again, from the contract she signed: "I understand that it is my responsibility to consult with appropriate management authorities in the Department . . . in order to ensure that I know whether information or material within my knowledge or control that I have reason to believe might be SCI."

As one former counterterrorism official put, "[Top secret, sensitive compartmented information] is very serious and specific information that jumps out at you and screams 'classified.' It's hard to imagine that in her position she would fail to recognize the obvious."

Now that this contract is public, will the FBI, the Justice Department and the media will hold the former secretary of state to the same standard as General David Petraeus, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, former CIA Director John Deutch and former State Department official Peter Van Buren?