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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 3:59 pm | Partly Cloudy 63º


Ron Fink: The Importance of Top Secret Emails is Not Classified Information

Supporters of Hillary Clinton — and Clinton herself — are claiming that all this commotion over how she handled State Department e-mail communications is just politics — or to put it in her own words “a right wing conspiracy.”

While it is true that this tale began when a republican-led committee began investigating how four American diplomats wound up dead at her Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, it has become much more than just a partisan witch hunt.

The Clinton’s are cunning political operatives who have historically lived on the edge of ethical and legal standards for well over two decades.

When Clinton failed to be selected as the democrat candidate for president in the 2008 election, she began a calculated effort to achieve the nomination when the current president finished his second term. 

First she was elected as a Senator, and then she was appointed to be the Secretary of State by the man who beat her.

True to form, Clinton wanted to keep any and all of her public business out of public view so that she couldn’t be held accountable for her actions. It worked for a while, but now her scheme is unraveling after initial questioning during public hearings on the Benghazi matter brought her private e-mail server into focus.

But other than the political implications of her actions, why is this important to the American people?

A United States Central Command security classification guide explains the various classification levels. 

"Top Secret" is information the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security. 

"Secret" is applied to information which could cause serious damage, and "Confidential" is information that could be expected to cause a lesser degree of damage.

Other classifications have more serious implications; Sensitive Compartmented Information is information indicating restricted handling within present and future community intelligence collection programs and their end products.

Original classification is the initial decision that information could be expected to cause damage to national security if subjected to unauthorized disclosure — but she and her staff chose to send, receive and originate this type of information. 

This compromised the information and allowed our enemies to electronically eavesdrop on our nation’s most secret plans.

This should raise serious concerns about her ability to serve as president and should disqualify her from the race, but she is determined to obstruct, deny and shift blame for everything she did. 

As more information is released, her story keeps changing — it is hard to keep up with her attempts to shift focus.

Every government employee and contractor who works for the government and has a security clearance is subject to many hours of training each year to remind them of their responsibilities for handling classified information, and as a classifying official Clinton was held to a higher training standard.

New information obtained by an increasingly curious press has discovered that she even originated classified information on her private system — which is a serious violation of security requirements all by itself. 

Some of the e-mails she generated on her wide open network included satellite imagery that is only shared on the most highly secure systems within the government and can be declassified only after a rigorous review process by the originator.

As this saga unfolds many political polls from across the political spectrum clearly demonstrate that voters do not trust Hillary Clinton

As she continues to denounce folks that she considers conspirators (the Inspectors General from various agencies, Congress, the FBI, the press, etc.) her credibility has reached the breaking point.

Keeping classified information out of the hands of our enemies is vital to the safety of everyone who lives in the United States. Allowing this information to be freely distributed to further a political agenda that includes keeping the public in the dark about questionable dealings should be considered as seriously as espionage and should be punished accordingly.

We may never know how the release of this information impacted the strength or security of the United States; we do know that during and following her stint at the State Department that our position as a world leader has been dramatically diminished.

Yes, Hillary Clinton and her inner circle of co-conspirators should be worried. 

The FBI is looking into this matter, and I feel confident that they will find significant evidence of security violations at many levels and those that committed them will eventually be held accountable.

Many of her close advisors, those who initially sent her many of these classified e-mails, should be worried about their own liabilities because Clinton will certainly throw them under the bus to save herself.

Now she is apologizing for doing something that she initially said she didn’t do — but in the case of potentially exceptionally grave damage to the national security, sorry doesn’t fix it.

Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured e-mail server is very important to all American’s because it places our nations security and freedom at risk. 

Just imagine what would happen if she were to apply the same cavalier attitude about the nation’s security if she were elected president.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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