Will Hillary Clinton Get Favored Treatment?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in a legal pickle over her careless email practices – in that she appears to have endangered national security secrets including the identity of covert CIA officers and done so for selfish reasons (personal convenience or keeping her documents out of reach of transparency laws).

The facts of the case would seem to merit criminal charges against her, since Clinton’s situation is analogous to problems faced by other senior officials, including former CIA directors John Deutch and David Petraeus who were accused of mishandling classified information, Deutch by having secret material on his home computer and Petraeus for giving notebooks with highly sensitive information to his lover/biographer.

Deutch agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor but was preemptively pardoned by President Bill Clinton; Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor in a plea deal that spared him from jail time and was widely criticized as excessively lenient, especially since the Obama administration had jailed lower-level officials, such as former CIA officer John Kiriakou, for similar violations.

In 2012, faced with a multiple count indictment, Kiriakou agreed to plead guilty to one count of violating the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act for giving a reporter the phone number of a former CIA officer whose work for the spy agency was still classified. Though the reporter did not publish the ex-officer’s name, Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

The Intelligence Identities Protection Act was also a factor in the “Plame-gate affair” in 2003 when officials of George W. Bush’s administration disclosed the CIA identity of Valerie Plame as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had challenged Bush’s claims about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium for a nuclear program, one of the falsehoods that was used to justify invading Iraq.

Right-wing columnist Robert Novak blew Plame’s undercover identity but a special prosecutor chose not to indict anyone, including Bush’s aides, under the 1982 law. He did, however, convict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, of obstructing justice. However, Bush commuted Libby’s sentence so he avoided jail time.

The recent State Department Inspector General report makes clear that Clinton blithely disregarded safeguards designed to protect the most highly classified national security information and that she included on her unprotected email server the names of US intelligence agents under cover.

In other words, there is legal precedent for Hillary Clinton to be charged in connection with her decision to handle her State Department emails through a personal server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, rather than through official government servers. But there’s political precedent as well for the well-connected to be either slapped on the wrist or let off the hook.

A Biblical Warning

Beyond Clinton’s legal predicament over secrets, there is also the question of how she manipulates information on small matters as well as big. There’s a pertinent Bible quotation: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10)

And I happen to have personal experience with how Clinton has been dishonest in the little matter of my brutal arrest on Feb. 15, 2011, after I stood with my back turned toward her while she delivered a speech at George Washington University about the importance of respecting dissent (in other countries, that is).

I have looked closely at her relevant email exchanges from late February 2011 after Secretary Clinton didn’t miss a syllable as I was roughly dragged away by security personnel right in front of her. From my review of those emails, I had two takeaways: (1) Secretary Clinton is not truthful about the smallest of things; and (2) she had a much more important issue to worry about at the time; namely, rallying support for a “no-fly zone” as a gateway to a “regime change” war on Libya.

Could that be why she never took up her confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s suggestion that an apology to me might be in order? Since the emails speak so eloquently to both issues, I will cite them below:

On my standing silently at George Washington U. on Feb. 15, 2011:

From: sbwhoeop [Sidney Blumenthal]
To: H (Hillary Clinton)
Sent: Fri Feb 18, 09:27:25, 2011
Subject: H: FYI, an unfortunate incident. Sid

“Don’t know if you are aware of this unfortunate incident described below on Larry Johnson’s website. Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer who gave the daily brief for President George H.W. Bush, is pretty well known in the intelligence community. He’s become a Christian antiwar leftist who goes around bearing witness. Whatever his views, he’s harmless. Something bad happened at your speech at GW. And it’s become a minor cause celebre on the Internet among lefties. You might have someone check this out and also have someone apologize to Ray McGovern. Sid”

From Sidney Blumenthal (continued)

“Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the US Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the US Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism. He left government … in October 1993 … and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics.)”

Blumenthal then quoted from a blog piece that Johnson wrote after hearing what happened during Secretary Clinton’s speech at GWU on Feb. 15:

“During a speech by Hillary earlier this week at George Washington University retired CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, was physically accosted and arrested for disorderly conduct for the simple act of standing up and turning his back to Hillary. Ray ended his career at the CIA as one of the senior officers who provided George H.W. Bush his daily intelligence brief. Since then Ray has emerged as an antiwar activist. Ray is a fearless but he also is a kind, gentle soul. …

“Unfortunately Hillary is getting blamed for what happened to Ray, but it is not her fault. Hillary is not in charge of her security detail. … He had every right to stand and silently protest. He posed no threat to Hillary and made no threatening move. The security folks grossly overreacted.… Since the folks inside the auditorium had gone thru a metal detector there was no reason to assume that Ray represented a threat to do harm. It is the ultimate irony that the Obama Administration is calling on foreign leaders to tolerate protest and dissent but when it comes to an old man standing silently there was no tolerance at all.”

[end of shortened text of email from Larry Johnson, quoted by Sidney Blumenthal]

Clever Wording

Secretary Clinton then replied:

To: Sidney Blumenthal Subject: “H: FYI, AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT. SID”
From: H hrod17@clintonemail.com [one of two email accounts that Clinton used]
To: sbwhoeop
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 10:14 AM [replying to Blumenthal less than an hour later]
Subject: Re: “H: FYI, an unfortunate incident.”

“Sid I appreciate your sending thgis (sic) to me. Neither State nor my staff had anything to do w this. The man stood up just as I was starting and GW–which claims their quick actions were part of their standard operating procedures to remove anyone who stands up and starts speaking while an invited guest is talking–moved to remove him. GW claims he was not in any way injured. We have no other info but I will see what else can be done.”

In this brief email, Secretary Clinton takes two misleading tacks. Though she had firsthand knowledge that I had not been “speaking” — since she was there — she suggests otherwise while not actually saying so. She just strongly implies that I was “speaking.”

Not only was she an eyewitness, numerous videos on the Internet in the days prior showed that I did not say a word until the security people had me in a headlock and almost out the door and into the street. Lawyers like Hillary Clinton apparently parse words – even on minor matters, and even in emails that they hope will never see the light of day. (And what, by the way, is the meaning of “is?”)

Similarly, Secretary Clinton attributes to GWU the claim that I “was not in any way injured.” Case closed. … except for the photos sent around on the Web a few days earlier.

So, as you might guess, there was no apology from the Secretary of State or a statement that perhaps the “unfortunate incident” with McGovern had unfortunately stepped on her passionate and surely heartfelt denunciation of Iran for not respecting the right of dissidents to protest their government’s policies.

Targeting Gaddafi

But the incident with me was minor compared to what Secretary Clinton was then cooking up for Libya, where she was outraged that Col. Muammar Gaddafi was citing the need to root out Islamic terrorists operating around Benghazi. Dismissing Gaddafi’s claims, Clinton and her State Department preferred to denounce Gaddafi’s domestic “war on terror” as a “genocidal” attack on innocent dissenters in eastern Libya.

Again, Clinton was communicating with her outside adviser Blumenthal about how to rile the world up enough against Gaddafi to push a “no-fly zone” through the United Nations Security Council.

Secretary Clinton’s private emails also contradict her testimony before the House Benghazi Committee that Blumenthal “was not at all my adviser on Libya,” although I guess it depends on what your definition of “adviser” is. The emails show that she actually took immediate proactive steps to follow up on his advice, as can be seen in the following:

From: sbwhoeop [Sidney Blumenthal]
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2011 10:32 PM
To: H Subject: H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes. S

“UK former Foreign Secretary David Owen has called for a no-fly zone over Libya, imposed by the United Nations and/or Nato … US might consider advancing tomorrow. Libyan helicopters and planes are raining terror on cities.”

[Article from Aljazeera as quoted by Blumenthal]: “In the wake of reported aiattacks (sic) on civilian crowds by the Libyan airforce, former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen has called on the UN Security Council to immediately meet in emergency session and authorize a `No Fly Zone’ over Libya. Speaking on al Jazeera, Lord Owen called for a UN Charter Chapter 7 intervention (meaning the authorization of both military and nonmilitary means to ‘restore international peace and security’) to be enforced by NATO air forces with Egyptian military support to demonstrate regional backing.”

From: H <HDR22@clintonemail.com> [the other Clinton email, using her maiden name initials, Hillary Diane Rodham]
To: Sullivan, Jacob 3 [deputy chief of staff]
Sent: Mon Feb 21 22:42:21 2011
Subject: Fw: “H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes. Sid”

“What do you think of this idea?”

From: Sullivan, Jacob J [mailto:Sullivan33@state.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 04:59 AM [early the next morning]
To: H
Subject: Re: “H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes. Sid”

“Several have proposed it but honestly, we actually don’t know what is happening from the air right now. As we gain more facts, we can consider.”

From: H hrod17@clintonemail.com [back to the other email address]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 6:09 AM
To: sbwhoeop
Subject: Re: “H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes.”

“Sid, We are looking at that for Security Council, which remains reluctant to ‘interfere’ in the internal affairs of a country. Stay tuned!”

From: H <HDR22@clintonemall.com>
To: Sullivan, Jacob J
Sent: Tue Feb 22 06:34:15 2011
Subject: Re: “H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes. Sid”

“I’ve heard contradictory reports as to whether or not there are planes flying and firing on crowds. What is the evidence that they are?”

From: Sullivan, Jacob J <SullivanJJ@state.gov>
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 7:21 AM
To: H
Subject: Re: “H: Option: no-fly zone over Libya. David Owen proposes. Sid”

“Not much – unconfirmed reports. Though helos firing seems more plausible.”

On to War

It took three more weeks, but on March 17, 2011, Secretary Clinton got her wish for a “no-fly zone” approved by the UN Security Council, acting under the military authority of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter. The vote was ten in favor, zero against, and five abstentions.

The five abstentions were: Brazil, Russia, India, China and Germany; Russian and China, which as permanent members could have vetoed the motion, complained later that they were deceived as to the real purpose of the “no-fly zone,” not realizing that it was a pretext for another “regime change,” which involved slaughtering much of the Libyan army before driving Gaddafi from power.

When Gaddafi was captured in his home town of Sirte on Oct. 20, 2011, he was tortured with a knife, which was used to sodomize him. Then he was murdered. When Clinton was notified of Gaddafi’s demise, she declared, “we came, we saw, he died” — and clapped her hands in undisguised glee.

It turned out, however, that Gaddafi was right that many of his adversaries in the east were radical jihadists and terrorists, a truth that Clinton learned when US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other US personnel were slain by attackers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

Clinton’s deception around the Libyan “no-fly zone” – as a gateway to yet another brutal U.S.-backed “regime change” – also helped poison US relations with Russia and China, which balked at similar US demands for a “safe zone” inside Syria, an idea that Clinton has advocated both as Secretary of State and as a presidential candidate.

In other words, Clinton is no more honest about big things than small, just as the Bible passage foretold, except now the fate of the world may hang in the balance.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA’s main directorates.

Reprinted with permission from Consortium News.

Author: Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. In the Sixties he served as an infantry/intelligence officer and then became a CIA analyst for the next 27 years. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).