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Old 03-29-2016, 09:31 AM
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I have changed my mind about the Clinton email scandal (and so should you)


When it was originally reported, my view of the scandal was that it was not properly a national security scandal but instead a scandal over the effort to hide emails from FOIA access. I believed that it was unlikely that she sent any truly sensitive information, as distinct from technically classified stuff like the existence of the drone program. I also believed that the security for the home server was likely good enough for these purposes.

In retrospect, I was incredibly naive about the level of security necessary to protect an email server from foreign governments, and the level of security employed for officials like SecState. I was also naive about Clinton's understanding of what information is sensitive. As it turns out, Clinton had people telling her how vulnerable this made her communications, and she continued to do it anyway--and sent highly sensitive information over a server without even using any form of encryption.

Here's what was reported last week in the Washington Post (and has previously been reported elsewhere):

Quote:
He emphasized: “Any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving e-mails, and exploiting calendars.”

Nine days later, Clinton told Boswell that she had read his memo and “gets it,” according to an email sent by a senior diplomatic security official. “Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates (Diplomatic Security) have intelligence concerning this vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia,” the email said.

But Clinton kept using her private BlackBerry — and the basement server.
That's pretty damning. If security people were telling her to knock it off for good reason, she acknowledged those concerns, and then essentially ignored them, then this is a justified national security scandal. I still doubt that a crime was committed, given the scope of the criminal law. But it has caused me to downgrade my estimation of Clinton's judgment by a good notch. I'm not sure she has worse judgment than her competitors, but it's now a closer call in my book.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:42 AM
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If Blackberrys are so vulnerable, why do so many foreign governments demand that Blackberry give their security people access?
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:47 AM
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As I understand it, it isn't so much that Blackberry is uniquely vulnerable. I suspect they would have said the same thing about her using an iPhone. The vulnerability is not the device, but the device's connection with a homebrew server that didn't even use encryption for the first few months.

There is often a spectrum of exploits ranging from possible but difficult and expensive to one-click easy-peasy. Often the access sought by foreign governments is to make their lives easier and to enable mass surveillance, and not because it is the only possible way in. When you're talking about targeting one high-profile individual, that's a whole different story.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:51 AM
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If she knowingly discussed classified things on the BlackBerry, then that's a big problem. But were the security people really telling her she couldn't use a BlackBerry ever, for any reason? Or just not for classified information, and in secure spaces in which classified discussions take place?
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:54 AM
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If she knowingly discussed classified things on the BlackBerry, then that's a big problem. But were the security people really telling her she couldn't use a BlackBerry ever, for any reason? Or just not for classified information, and in secure spaces in which classified discussions take place?
There's a few different issues, I suppose.

One issue is that the Blackberry could be hacked to transform it into a listening device. This was apparently one of the concerns expressed to her. It is why they would not let her take it into the SCIF. But if she was carrying it on her during all kinds of other official business, presumably some of that involved highly sensitive conversations.

The other issue is what information she sent using the device. Based on the reporting, it looks like at least some of it was indeed sensitive information, whether it was classified or not. In the context of knowing how vulnerable her security was, it strikes me as scandalous to send sensitive information regardless of whether it is classified.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:00 AM
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I'm not sure that she violated any laws. But her own preference to keep things like she wanted them without thinking about potential security threats even after being told shows an arrogance and lack of judgment that is extremely concerning.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:09 AM
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If the OP is correct, then this may demonstrate an extreme sense of entitlement that overrode good judgment, which would be a big mark against her.

It would take many, many such big marks against her to make her judgment anything close to as bad as any of the Republicans, though, in my opinion.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:19 AM
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It would take many, many such big marks against her to make her judgment anything close to as bad as any of the Republicans, though, in my opinion.
It wouldn't shock me to learn that a majority of conservatives think Clinton has better judgment than Trump. That's about as low as a bar gets.

The comment at the end of my OP was mostly about Bernie and Jill Stein. And while I recognize that the Democratic primary is basically over, so forcing me to vote for Bernie doesn't mean much, I do feel less enthusiastic about volunteering for and donating to Hillary in the fall.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:02 AM
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It wouldn't shock me to learn that a majority of conservatives think Clinton has better judgment than Trump. That's about as low as a bar gets.

The comment at the end of my OP was mostly about Bernie and Jill Stein. And while I recognize that the Democratic primary is basically over, so forcing me to vote for Bernie doesn't mean much, I do feel less enthusiastic about volunteering for and donating to Hillary in the fall.
I just see it like this: This is a moot point since she will not be able to do that anymore and there will be many others at the behest of the conservatives keeping an eye at her future communications, regardless if there was any "scandal".

Donald Trump still should not be let to control the CIA (Trump is worse than Nixon on "the enemies list" front) The CDC (Trump is anti-vaccine) NOAA (Trump is climate change denier) and we also should not allow him to be closer to the nuclear football.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:14 AM
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Bad judgment is never moot.

You're right, electorally. She is lucky that the only obstacles to her presidency are a 74-year-old atheist socialist and a wildly bigoted reality show character who singlehandedly proves David Dunning and Justin Kruger to be correct. But notwithstanding the forum choice of my OP, I think criticism is important even when it doesn't cause one to change one's voting behavior.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:24 AM
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Getting a president with the judgment and temperament of Obama is a once in a generation thing, if we're lucky. Hillary Clinton will be an adequate President. I don't need her to be perfect. If there were qualified alternatives (with a chance of winning) this all might be more relevant
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:34 AM
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*snore*

Wha- -- What?

Dear Og, are we still talking about this??

Yes, Hillary didn't pay attention to security protocols. Neither has half the officials in Washington in the last twenty years, it seems. Dang this newfangled internet anyway.

Have Hillary and Colin and Condoleeza and the Bush administration secretaries and anybody else who couldn't read the directions, hold out their hands and then slap the back of them with the Sister Mary Elephant Memorial Ruler.

Then we can all go back to sleep.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:36 AM
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Dear Og, are we still talking about this?
Yes, it has been all of two or three days since these latest details were reported. How can we still be talking about it?!

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Originally Posted by CaptMurdock View Post
Yes, Hillary didn't pay attention to security protocols. Neither has half the officials in Washington in the last twenty years, it seems. Dang this newfangled internet anyway.

Have Hillary and Colin and Condoleeza and the Bush administration secretaries and anybody else who couldn't read the directions, hold out their hands and then slap the back of them with the Sister Mary Elephant Memorial Ruler.

Then we can all go back to sleep.
Were Colin Powell and anyone else specifically warned to stop doing this for security reasons, agreed to do so, and then didn't?
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:39 AM
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It's hard for me to get excited about this "scandal". I think if the Chinese want to hack something bad enough, they have the expertise and the resources to do it regardless of how secure we think our systems are. Not the best idea to use devices that are more hackable, but I'm not really seeing a scenario where anything intercepted would adversely affect national security.

Your choice this fall will be between someone with a clear head but capable of making minor errors and someone compulsively ignorant and mentally unstable. It shouldn't take too long to figure out the right choice.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:42 AM
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Bad judgment is never moot.
Thing is that I read the article and it strikes me as yet another rehash of what was reported before with very little new details and omitting a few things to keep the "scandal" going.

http://mashable.com/2016/03/17/clint.../#TPauUO4o_aqJ

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You're right, electorally. She is lucky that the only obstacles to her presidency are a 74-year-old atheist socialist and a wildly bigoted reality show character who singlehandedly proves David Dunning and Justin Kruger to be correct. But notwithstanding the forum choice of my OP, I think criticism is important even when it doesn't cause one to change one's voting behavior.
Of course it is, and Clinton already admitted that it was a mistake, in the end the issue of the intention (No secrets were intended to be sent to enemies or for personal gain) is what makes this "scandal" underwhelming. What I do think is going is that a lot of members of the media do have to make the contest a horse race, after all they still have to get all those millions from Trump and the supporters of Hillary. If Clinton gets too high on the polls she must be taken a few pegs down by any means necessary. To make this a race worth covering and that also benefits their bottom line.

http://mediamatters.org/research/201...ails-ev/209574

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Old 03-29-2016, 11:44 AM
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Also, it's hard to take seriously a government security classification system that retains "top secret" coding for information published in the New York Times. As I understand it, truly sensitive stuff, like the names of spies, would never be emailed around in the first place. If the Chinese hack in and find out the Secretary is planning on raising a particular issue in her talks with the Prime Minister of India next month, I doubt they'd be surprised or have any "actionable intelligence." Remember, the NSA listened in to phone conversations of some European leaders a while back, and I don't recall any of them getting in hot water for lax security precautions.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:53 AM
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I think if the Chinese want to hack something bad enough, they have the expertise and the resources to do it regardless of how secure we think our systems are.
This is not an evidence-based belief.

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Not the best idea to use devices that are more hackable [ . . . ]
This is quite an understatement. You don't think it's a good idea to keep sensitive information secret from foreign governments?

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[ . . . ]but I'm not really seeing a scenario where anything intercepted would adversely affect national security.
This is naive. It could very easily harm national security for a foreign power to listen in on a private conversation between Clinton and a foreign leader, or intercept trip reports sent by Clinton back to the White House.

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[I]n the end the issue of the intention (No secrets were intended to be sent to enemies or for personal gain) is what makes this "scandal" underwhelming.
That's the whole point. It would be one thing if this were just ignorance about security. But what's being reported now (among the new details you hand-wave away based on your conspiracy theory about the media) is that she was specifically warned, acknowledged the problem, and then ignored the warning.

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Also, it's hard to take seriously a government security classification system that retains "top secret" coding for information published in the New York Times. As I understand it, truly sensitive stuff, like the names of spies, would never be emailed around in the first place. If the Chinese hack in and find out the Secretary is planning on raising a particular issue in her talks with the Prime Minister of India next month, I doubt they'd be surprised or have any "actionable intelligence." Remember, the NSA listened in to phone conversations of some European leaders a while back, and I don't recall any of them getting in hot water for lax security precautions.
This is half-correct. Yes, over-classification is rampant and a problem. But no, it's not true that "truly sensitive stuff" is never communicated electronically.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:06 PM
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That's the whole point. It would be one thing if this were just ignorance about security. But what's being reported now (among the new details you hand-wave away based on your conspiracy theory about the media) is that she was specifically warned, acknowledged the problem, and then ignored the warning.
Actually the NSA ignored the warning, but once again, she already admitted her mistake.

And yes, after many back eyes the media got by exaggerating and even lying (they had to backtrack several reports already) I will be happy to continue to hand wave away, it is not done just on a whim.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:10 PM
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Actually the NSA ignored the warning, but once again, she already admitted her mistake.
Even if your claim were true, that the NSA ignored the warning, that would only mean they both ignored it. Not that the NSA "actually" ignored it. But I don't see that your claim is based on any evidence anyway.

As for her mea culpa. She has generally admitted making a mistake. She has denied that she did anything to compromise national security.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:12 PM
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This is not an evidence-based belief.
Yes it is. According to NPR anyway, when the Pentagon plays cyber-warfare games, there has not yet been an instance when the "bad guy team" was not able to compromise the Pentagon's networks. Everything we have is, apparently, hackable.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:17 PM
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This is naive. It could very easily harm national security for a foreign power to listen in on a private conversation between Clinton and a foreign leader, or intercept trip reports sent by Clinton back to the White House.
I still don't see it. Let's say she goes off to Germany. In her hotel she fires off a summary to the White House. What's the worst that can happen? She lets on that we weren't ready to go to war if the Ukraine was invaded? Hell, everybody already knew that.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:27 PM
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Yes it is. According to NPR anyway, when the Pentagon plays cyber-warfare games, there has not yet been an instance when the "bad guy team" was not able to compromise the Pentagon's networks. Everything we have is, apparently, hackable.
The Pentagon being able to hack some unspecified part of its own network is different from claiming that "if the Chinese want to hack something bad enough, they have the expertise and the resources to do it regardless of how secure we think our systems are."

Indeed, it's not even relevant to that claim. We know that some of our systems are not well secured. It does not follow that none of our systems are--especially not when we're talking about protecting the communications of a single high-level official.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:47 PM
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Even if your claim were true, that the NSA ignored the warning, that would only mean they both ignored it. Not that the NSA "actually" ignored it. But I don't see that your claim is based on any evidence anyway.
I already did link to the Mashable report, that quotes BTW messages obtained by Judicial Watch.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:51 PM
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I already did link to the Mashable report, that quotes BTW messages obtained by Judicial Watch.
You just inserted the link, but didn't characterize it at all. Looking at it now, I don't see where it supports your thesis. Perhaps you could favor me with a quote?
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:55 PM
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When somebody tells me I SHOULD think something, I immediately look at that with a jaundiced eye.

Just the next in the series of molehills that conservatives will do their utmost to make into mountains. Sounds familiar, huh?
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:29 PM
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... That's the whole point. It would be one thing if this were just ignorance about security. But what's being reported now (among the new details you hand-wave away based on your conspiracy theory about the media) is that she was specifically warned, acknowledged the problem, and then ignored the warning.
...
I would say it still WAS ignorance, not about the vulnerability of the equipment, but about the probability that someone was actively trying to hack it or listen through it. If her Blackberry tree falls in the forest but no one is there to hear it, has it made a sound?

Or perhaps she didn't care if someone was listening because she didn't believe that what she was discussing posed a risk even if it was intercepted. In fact I would be much more concerned if lower level people did what she did, such as people on various treaty negotiating teams. I think when someone at her level steps in the room, she's more likely there to put in an appearance, sign a document, and add some political weight to a situation, not to discuss the terms in depth in advance.

However, if she genuinely broke a law, she should be held accountable. I would love to see Bernie as the Democratic nominee.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:35 PM
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So if you were to learn that, contrary to your expectation, the Secretary of State routinely discusses sensitive matters and doesn't just do ceremonial bullshit, would that change your mind?
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:52 PM
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You just inserted the link, but didn't characterize it at all. Looking at it now, I don't see where it supports your thesis. Perhaps you could favor me with a quote?
Quote:
Newly released emails show a 2009 request to issue a secure government smartphone to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was denied by the National Security Agency.

A month later, she began using private email accounts accessed through her BlackBerry to exchange messages with her top aides.

The messages made public Wednesday were obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group that has filed numerous lawsuits seeking the release of federal documents related to Clinton's tenure as the nation's top diplomat.
Quote:
"We began examining options for (Secretary Clinton) with respect to secure 'BlackBerry-like' communications," wrote Donald R. Reid, the department's assistant director for security infrastructure. "The current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State, and is very expensive."

Reid wrote that each time they asked the NSA what solution they had worked up to provide a mobile device to Obama, "we were politely told to shut up and color."
Again, the point was that the NSA IMHO were acting like cads. But IIUC then a more secure Blackberry was provided, as it is clear that other email accounts can not be added as this exchange in the news (yes, this is not as new an issue as implied in the article on the OP) showed:

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/03...couldnt/202833
Quote:
After playing video of Clinton's comment, Bolling asked, "Are you kidding me? Any tenth grader could set up multiple email accounts on a single handheld device. Does she think the American people are that stupid?"

But as the technology blog Mashable reports, maintaining separate personal and government accounts on the same device is less secure, presenting a "real concern of attack vectors on the personal side." Moreover, when Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, "there was no standard way to secure a BlackBerry like Clinton's with two email accounts, at least not without giving the IT person in charge complete dominion over all the data on the phone. To fulfill the criteria that Clinton demanded -- secure email that's not sitting on a cloud service, plus a single-BlackBerry solution -- she had just one option: Set up her own email server."

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Old 03-29-2016, 01:57 PM
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Your initial claim was that the NSA knew about and ignored the problem. Nothing in the quoted matter supports that claim.

Your new claim is that the NSA was bad for refusing to give Hillary the same secured communications device that Obama received. I don't see how you can reach that conclusion without knowing how much it cost, how difficult it would be, etc.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:25 PM
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I do think Hillary's judgment was poor here. But I don't view this as changing the degree to which I view it as poor--anyone that knows what the State Department and the SecState do already knew that she was privy to sensitive information, and to be frank as loose as high political officials have been with such information since basically forever it'd be shocking if none of it made its way into email like it wasn't supposed to.

I will say this though--there's a big difference between information that the government would like secret and information that if disclosed would genuinely hurt national security. The former is a huge portion of all information the government holds, the latter is almost none of it. I mean our enemies know how to make nuclear weapons. Let that sink in. What exactly are they going to get from us that's worse than that on a strategic scale?

The answer is really very little. Specifications for U.S. military hardware? They largely have that already. Sure, it's classified, but they can analyze things based on performance in the real world that is harder to keep secret.

Probably the most sensitive information would be information on imminently occurring U.S. military actions, specific targets for troop deployments and etc--because that information will put troops in harm's way. Once an operation is over, that information is of almost no value. Additionally things like the identity of covert operatives overseas (which if leaked could endanger their lives)--note that a Republican leaked some of that deliberately just to hurt a political opponent. The SecState has access to information we'd like to not have leaked, but almost no access to genuinely important national security info--most of which is very time sensitive (i.e. it's only really important for a few weeks/days.)

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 03-29-2016 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:32 PM
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Your initial claim was that the NSA knew about and ignored the problem. Nothing in the quoted matter supports that claim.
"we were politely told to shut up and color."

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Your new claim is that the NSA was bad for refusing to give Hillary the same secured communications device that Obama received. I don't see how you can reach that conclusion without knowing how much it cost, how difficult it would be, etc.
That is what Juditial Watch and then Mashable reported. IMHO it should had prevented all her poor decisions, (It is looking as if the refusal of the secure blackberry at the beginning was the main reason for setting the personal e-mail server)
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:34 PM
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Obviously there is a spectrum of the sensitivity of information, ranging from technically classified but well-known (e.g., the CIA drone program) to critically sensitive (say, troop movements or which biological attacks we have not prepared well for).

You speculate that the SecState lacks access to the most sensitive stuff. I doubt that's true. We know, for example, that she is given information about what our intelligence services know about foreign military capabilities. You don't think it's highly sensitive what our best guess is about Iranian or North Korean missile ranges, for example? If not, I think you're not using your imagination.

But even if I was willing to accept your speculation that she lacks access to the most sensitive stuff, she clearly has access to a lot of the middle ground stuff. That is self-evident based on who she talks to, the meeting she attends, and what we know from things like WikiLeaks.

As a check of your calibration of what counts are highly sensitive, is it your position that none of the stuff in Wikileaks was a damaging disclosure?
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:34 PM
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So if you were to learn that, contrary to your expectation, the Secretary of State routinely discusses sensitive matters and doesn't just do ceremonial bullshit, would that change your mind?
It depends what the sensitive information is. Yes, it would change my mind if it is information that would genuinely endanger the country or the people in it, or US citizens abroad. But I believe that's very unlikely.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:37 PM
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"we were politely told to shut up and color."
That does not support your claim. It supports the claim that she was told by the NSA that she would not get a secure blackberry.

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That is what Juditial Watch and then Mashable reported. IMHO it should had prevented all her poor decisions, (It is looking as if the refusal of the secure blackberry at the beginning was the main reason for setting the personal e-mail server)
No, it isn't. They reported that the NSA said no. They didn't report anything about whether that was a reasonable decision. Your argument assumes without evidence that it wasn't. Indeed, you go further and assume that the NSA knew Hillary lied to them about stopping using her Blackberry and that they just didn't care.

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Old 03-29-2016, 02:39 PM
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It depends what the sensitive information is. Yes, it would change my mind if it is information that would genuinely endanger the country or the people in it, or US citizens abroad. But I believe that's very unlikely.
So what's an example? Are you saying it's only a problem if she discloses something like the names of spies, but not a big deal if she reveals our negotiating strategy for a treaty?
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:47 PM
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I'll give you an example of some information that I believe did put American lives at risk, though I can no longer remember the details of who was responsible, or even where it was.

You may recall some years back the news got out that American troops were coming ashore at dawn. And at the landing beach were loads of reporters with cameras and bright lights, and it was IIRC carried on live TV. I was appalled by that. That could have turned into a shooting gallery, and everybody concerned was lucky that it didn't.

Whoever let that out should have been prosecuted and if it was the president he should have been impeached.

Last edited by Boyo Jim; 03-29-2016 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:54 PM
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I don't understand why you would only be concerned about Hollywood movie-style secrets.

I can imagine a whole wealth of information that as an individual unit of information might not cause imminent death, but would nevertheless make it easier for our adversaries to harm Americans or allies. Why should we be OK with releasing that kind of data?

I mean, take the negotiations over the Iranian sanctions. It is entirely plausible that one piece of information that might be shared with Sec. Clinton is whether a given country, like France, would have been willing to carry on with international sanctions if a deal broke down. If Iran got that information, it would be critical in assessing the strength of different negotiating positions. In turn, that could lead to things like the release or non-release of hostages, or how much money they got from us (that can then be used to fund terror), or a hundred other things. Why wouldn't you care about them getting that info?
  #38  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:57 PM
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So what's an example? Are you saying it's only a problem if she discloses something like the names of spies, but not a big deal if she reveals our negotiating strategy for a treaty?
What are you looking for? I agree that it shows bad judgment. Is that not enough? Are you personally going to vote for a Republican candidate because of this, or a third party candidate, or stay home and not vote at all? What do you think is an appropriate level of response from a concerned American?

Our primary is Tuesday. I will be voting for Bernie Sanders, which I would have done whether this news came to light or not. And if Hilary wins the Dem nomination, I will be (reluctantly) voting for her in the general election over any Republican candidate now in the running. Again, true whether these new facts came to light or not.

How should I change my behavior?

Last edited by Boyo Jim; 03-29-2016 at 02:59 PM.
  #39  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:04 PM
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How should I change my behavior?
Perhaps I put this in the wrong forum, because I'm not suggesting you ought to change your voting behavior.

I think an open and honest accounting for this is important regardless of whether it changes any of your personal behavior. It is simply wrong to downplay the security breach because the Secretary of State only performs ceremonial duties.

And maybe taking the breach seriously would change your non-voting behavior. Perhaps there will come a time before or after November when the Democratic Establishment will start to characterize this as a partisan witch-hunt and call for an end to the investigation. Some posters in this thread are already championing that position. Taking this seriously means rejecting that position because you understand the importance of getting to the bottom of what kind security might have been breached and what needs to be changed to ensure it never happens again.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:06 PM
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I don't understand why you would only be concerned about Hollywood movie-style secrets. ...
The example I chose might or might not have been "Hollywood movie-style", but it happened in the real world, and it involved the release of information that might have genuinely put lives at risk.
  #41  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:11 PM
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Perhaps I put this in the wrong forum, because I'm not suggesting you ought to change your voting behavior.

I think an open and honest accounting for this is important regardless of whether it changes any of your personal behavior. It is simply wrong to downplay the security breach because the Secretary of State only performs ceremonial duties.

And maybe taking the breach seriously would change your non-voting behavior. Perhaps there will come a time before or after November when the Democratic Establishment will start to characterize this as a partisan witch-hunt and call for an end to the investigation. Some posters in this thread are already championing that position. Taking this seriously means rejecting that position because you understand the importance of getting to the bottom of what kind security might have been breached and what needs to be changed to ensure it never happens again.
Did the bad guys even know she had a private email server while she was in Office? If not, they wouldn't even know to try to access her basement server. If I'm some agent in Iran, how would I even know where to start looking? I'd probably start trying to hack into the State Department server. Clinton outsmarted them.
  #42  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:12 PM
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That does not support your claim. It supports the claim that she was told by the NSA that she would not get a secure blackberry.
Indeed, put that under the rug, IOW, ignore it.

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No, it isn't. They reported that the NSA said no. They didn't report anything about whether that was a reasonable decision. Your argument assumes without evidence that it wasn't. Indeed, you go further and assume that the NSA knew Hillary lied to them about stopping using her Blackberry and that they just didn't care.
I was only reporting what the emails are telling us, and I did not say that Hillary lied, IMHO the early report points to Hillary getting a more secure one and it would only be a guess to assume that no talk in other medium took place about the blackberry. I only can make an observation, based on the reports, that she got some sort of arrangement with the security groups, that now it looks bad and the fact that so far the FBI has pointed that Clinton is not being investigated, points to what the nature of the investigation is: They are investigating if other parties got access to secret information and how to prevent that from happening again. Because I do have the feeling that some security people did not see anything wrong then.

I'm already accepting that there was an error here from Clinton, but as pointed many times before, a very underwhelming one, unless it can be show that she on purpose let our enemies get information or that she had personal profit as a motive.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 03-29-2016 at 03:14 PM.
  #43  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:17 PM
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Perhaps I put this in the wrong forum, because I'm not suggesting you ought to change your voting behavior.

I think an open and honest accounting for this is important regardless of whether it changes any of your personal behavior. It is simply wrong to downplay the security breach because the Secretary of State only performs ceremonial duties. ...
I am not downplaying the security breach. I may be downplaying the risk of what particular information might have been leaked, and you may be overplaying that same risk, and neither of us can really know.

And as far an open and honest accounting of what happened, I've very hard-pressed to come up with any examples of when that happened or about what. Maybe NTSB crash investigations? Maybe some portions of the Abu Graib and related torture scandals, but certainly not others. And even when the facts do come out, what are the consequences? Few to none, and not very serious in any case, because actual facts have become issues of partisan squabbling.
  #44  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:23 PM
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Did the bad guys even know she had a private email server while she was in Office? If not, they wouldn't even know to try to access her basement server. If I'm some agent in Iran, how would I even know where to start looking? I'd probably start trying to hack into the State Department server. Clinton outsmarted them.
I sympathize with this kind of statement, because it seems sort of intuitive and I used to share it.

But that was before I had any idea how the modern communications technology works. The encryption used to protect data transmitted by a Blackberry over cell networks is very weak. Even relatively unsophisticated actors can crack it without too much trouble. Once you do so, you know what server the phone is communicating with. Indeed, since the email traffic apparently wasn't even encrypted, once you do so, that might be the whole ballgame.

The other concern was using the Blackberry itself as a listening device. AFAIK, we know that other countries have that capability and would have no way of verifying whether they used it on Clinton's unsecured phone.

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Indeed, put that under the rug, IOW, ignore it.
That's a bizarre interpretation. They told her they could not give her a secure Blackberry and not to use an unsecured one. She agreed, but continued to use it! That's them ignoring it?

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I'm already accepting that there was an error here from Clinton, but as pointed many times before, a very underwhelming one, unless it can be show that she on purpose let our enemies get information or that she had personal profit as a motive.
She apparently chose personal convenience over national security. That's not as bad as selling secrets or something. But it's still pretty bad.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:34 PM
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That's a bizarre interpretation. They told her they could not give her a secure Blackberry and not to use an unsecured one. She agreed, but continued to use it! That's them ignoring it?
Until more info is available I have to go with the idea that someone did not see anything wrong with her solution, of course here I have to remind you that I already acknowledged that it was not a good solution but the way the investigation is going (with the FBI going on record of reporting that she is not under investigation) points to someone not minding about that solution in the past.

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She apparently chose personal convenience over national security. That's not as bad as selling secrets or something. But it's still pretty bad.
Again, if my hunch is right, someone later did not mind much and so it follows that the investigation concentrates on the failures in security, not much about who is at fault as there was no ill intention; but, very likely there was also a failure of communication and not much damming as the right wing would like it to be.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 03-29-2016 at 03:36 PM.
  #46  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:40 PM
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Until more info is available I have to go with the idea that someone did not see anything wrong with her solution...
Why? Because they didn't arrest her? I don't get why that's a better inference than either: (1) they didn't know that she continued to use it despite her telling them she would; or (2) they knew and there wasn't anything they could do about it short of trying to keep her from having access to their classified info.
  #47  
Old 03-29-2016, 03:56 PM
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She apparently chose personal convenience over national security.
Funny you should say that because I was just thinking that this pretty much sums up the whole thing, whatever one wants to make of it. And statements like this one from the article ... A request for a secure device from the NSA was rebuffed at the outset: "The current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure at State, and is very expensive" ... is one that would be very familiar to many who have to deal with government or even large institutions, and I think provides a sympathetic glimpse into the frustrations of an ambitious high-energy person just wanting to get things done and being thwarted by an intransigent unproductive bureaucracy.

I'm not defending Clinton, but I think that's a valid perspective, and I can well believe the claims that she was far from the only one who bypassed official security protocols for the sake of productivity and effectiveness. If you remove the "national" from that quoted sentence and substitute "personal" or "corporate" then the number of people to whom that transgression applies probably numbers in the millions, including probably you and me. What I guess I'm saying is that even if what she did was wrong, I'm relatively sympathetic to the reasons she may have done it, namely for reasons of effectiveness rather than some nefarious desire to "control" the information.
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:01 PM
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I mostly agree. In fact, I think this new information makes clear that this probably wasn't a FOIA-avoidance scheme.

The part where I disagree is the empathy for the choice she made given the role she accepted. It's one thing to compromise your business's trade secrets in the relatively unlikely event that you are personally subject to a corporate espionage attempt. It is quite another thing to be Secretary of State of the United States--a figure who will be the target of ceaseless and sophisticated espionage with 100% certainty, and who has access to a whole wealth of sensitive information--deciding that her personal convenience is more important.

Even then I would be sympathetic if she was expected to understand this on her own. Most people, myself included until recently, didn't really understand how cybersecurity works. But she was told specifically that, for example, China could easily hack her Blackberry. And she kept using it.
  #49  
Old 03-29-2016, 04:04 PM
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You speculate that the SecState lacks access to the most sensitive stuff. I doubt that's true. We know, for example, that she is given information about what our intelligence services know about foreign military capabilities. You don't think it's highly sensitive what our best guess is about Iranian or North Korean missile ranges, for example? If not, I think you're not using your imagination.
I don't believe SecState would have any legitimate reason to be forwarding operational deployment/planning documents for upcoming military operations, or covert operative names. I don't believe that knowing our guesses on foreign state's military capabilities to be that sensitive because most countries probably have made very similar assessments of these sorts of things.

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But even if I was willing to accept your speculation that she lacks access to the most sensitive stuff, she clearly has access to a lot of the middle ground stuff. That is self-evident based on who she talks to, the meeting she attends, and what we know from things like WikiLeaks.
A lot of the WikiLeaks stuff was from a low level, but was potentially more dangerous because it contained information on say, Afghans who worked with the U.S. government covertly. The thing about SecState is it's a very high level/abstraction position, the SecState has no reason to even read that information, it'd be like the SecState being told what type of door handle they're installing in a U.S. Consulate in Münich.

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As a check of your calibration of what counts are highly sensitive, is it your position that none of the stuff in Wikileaks was a damaging disclosure?
Eh, it was damaging because it was public disclosure of America's internal stances on some foreign powers. None of that was stuff they didn't know, but because it was leaked openly the foreign power could use it for PR purposes. The most damaging aspects of what say, Bradley Manning leaked was information about people in Iraq and Afghanistan who were working with the U.S., and who might be targeted for retribution. But again--that stuff isn't going to be on a SecStat's desk or in her emails. It's too low level.

The Secretary of State may have access to a greater breadth of information, theoretically, than a low level operative. But a low level operative is more likely to be in more regular contact with lots of information that is highly sensitive.

I also think that, considering the NSA has security policies like letting one SysAdmin have full privileges on the entire network and all its machines so he could write a simple program to crawl/pull files for hours and hours suggests that the high level, mostly abstract documents that come across Hillary's desk as SecState possibly being leaked are comparatively so unimportant as to be almost irrelevant.

Like I said, she showed poor judgment, but I already knew the moment I heard she was using a private email server that a) some classified information almost certainly had made its way onto that server and b) it'd probably already been exploited by some third party. So this revelation didn't change my reaction, and part of my reaction is based on thinking none of this is materially very important.

The President doesn't even have to deal with this stuff at all, his high level security aides do all the reading of it and then brief him--so as President she won't be in a position like this.
  #50  
Old 03-29-2016, 04:07 PM
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I don't understand why you would only be concerned about Hollywood movie-style secrets.

I can imagine a whole wealth of information that as an individual unit of information might not cause imminent death, but would nevertheless make it easier for our adversaries to harm Americans or allies. Why should we be OK with releasing that kind of data?

I mean, take the negotiations over the Iranian sanctions. It is entirely plausible that one piece of information that might be shared with Sec. Clinton is whether a given country, like France, would have been willing to carry on with international sanctions if a deal broke down. If Iran got that information, it would be critical in assessing the strength of different negotiating positions. In turn, that could lead to things like the release or non-release of hostages, or how much money they got from us (that can then be used to fund terror), or a hundred other things. Why wouldn't you care about them getting that info?
What you're not realizing is that the people that do diplomatic negotiations and top military/intelligence types largely know what the other side is thinking anyway. Ever seen The Lion in Winter? Maybe not, it's an old movie. There's a quote from that movie that is applicable:

Quote:
Prince Geoffrey: I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it.
[smiles]
Prince Geoffrey: We're a knowledgeable family.
It's not really a game of poker because both sides know what the cards are, it's largely about reaching an agreement on terms.
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