From 1959 to 1963, I had the good fortune to serve as a naval officer aboard two destroyers in the Pacific. After I was commissioned I received orders to my first ship, where my assignment was communications officer.
I was given a collateral duty that went with that billet – classified materiel control officer. That made me responsible for everything aboard ship that was classified confidential, secret and top secret.
The Cold War was in full swing, and the Soviet Bloc had intelligence agents trying to ferret out secrets in all the NATO countries. I had to follow exact standards of accountability governing classified materiel, and a board of officers conducted regular audits of my records to ensure that everything was ship shape.
Once a month when we were in port I bagged up all outdated classified documents, strapped a .45 automatic on my hip, and went to a tightly controlled building where I burned what I had brought in a special incinerator devoted strictly to that purpose, after which I picked up new materiel.
Every officer in the Navy with the same job had heard the story, said to be true, about a guy in the Mediterranean who, after getting his sack of classified documents, decided to stop at a bar in Naples for a quick drink or two. When he finally left the joint, his sack remained behind. Fortunately it was recovered, but his naval career never recovered.
All this is by way of introduction to my real subject: Hillary Clinton. For many months information has been dribbling out regarding her incredible mishandling of very sensitive information when she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Instead of using a secure State Department server for her official emails, she used a non-secure private server located in her home. A series of reports from the inspector general charged with oversight of the government’s various intelligence agencies have revealed that Clinton’s emails contained information classified as high as top secret. To date, it has been revealed that well over a thousand of her emails contained classified information. Bad enough, but it gets worse.
Fox News and NBC recently reported that some of her emails went beyond even top secret, falling under a super-sensitive “Special Access Program” that is reserved for the nation’s most closely guarded secrets.
Had I handled highly classified materiel in anything remotely approaching such a careless manner I would have been sent off on a long vacation in New Hampshire, courtesy of the Portsmouth Naval Prison.
We’re not talking here about some underling in the State Department, but the secretary of state herself. Clinton’s actions show a shocking disregard for national security and the safeguarding of classified information.
As has been pointed out by technical experts, her private server was a hacker’s dream. China, Russia, Iran, ISIS and Al Qaeda probably were falling all over one another to get at it. It’s likely that some very damaging information fell into the wrong hands.
All of the above is certainly bad enough, but it’s not all. We also have the tissue of lies Hillary Clinton told Congress and the nation regarding the 2012 Benghazi attack – a long-standing accusation that has now been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.
But here’s the most amazing part of all: This woman wants us to elect her president of the United States next November.
Doug Kneibert is the former editor of the Sedalia Democrat.