(NationalSecurity.news) An FBI “A-team” is currently examining whether or not Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton may have compromised sensitive intelligence and defense information by using a private email server during her stint as Secretary of State, Fox News reported Saturday.
Officials who spoke with the cable news channel on condition of anonymity said that the investigation was “extremely serious,” and that agents’ focus includes a provision of the law pertaining to “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.”
One source who was also not authorized to speak on the record said that FBI would also determine if Clinton should have known – based on the quality and detail of the material – that emails which passed through her server contained classified information, regardless of how they were marked. Federal statutes under Title 18 US Code 793, the Espionage Act, as well as other statutes, state that it is a violation of federal law if classified material is mishandled, whether it is marked as such or not, and that the sender/receiver has an obligation to know.
The Clinton campaign’s standard defense thus far has been that the former Secretary of State “never sent nor received any email that was marked classified” at the time.
Fox News noted that it was not yet clear how the FBI’s findings will impact the overall investigation; however, the details “offer a winding into what investigators are looking for – as the Clinton campaign itself downplays the controversy,” the cable news channel reported.
One top national security attorney, who recently defended former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling in a leak investigation, told Fox News that violating the Espionage Act provision in question is a felony, and he pointed to a particular sub-section.
“Under [sub-section] F, the documents relate to the national defense, meaning very closely held information,” attorney Edward MacMahon Jr. said. “Somebody in the government, with a clearance and need to know, then delivered the information to someone not entitled to receive it, or otherwise moved it from where it was supposed to be lawfully held.”
Chris Farrell, a former Army counterintelligence officer who is now an investigator with Judicial Watch, added, “Regardless of whether Mrs. Clinton sent or received this information, the obligations under the law are that she had to report any questions concerning this material being classified.”
“There is no wiggle room. There is no ability to go around it and say I passively received something — that’s not an excuse,” Farrell said.
Earlier, NationalSecurity.news reported that other national security experts not only believe Clinton’s use of a private, non-governmental email server compromised sensitive national security and defense information, but that her server was probably hacked by foreign governments, possibly China and Russia.
“If this was on her server and it got into her smart phone, there’s a big problem there,” said Bob Baer, a former CIA operative who currently serves as a national security subject matter expert for CNN.
“Seriously, if I had sent a document like this over the open Internet I’d get fired the same day, escorted to the door and gone for good — and probably charged with mishandling classified information,” he added.
“I can’t tell you how bad this is,” he went on. “A lot of things get talked about, a lot of gossip, but having documents like this sent across the Internet, it could be hacked very easily and probably were hacked, is a transgression that I don’t think the president of the United States should be allowed to, you know, have committed.”
“It is almost certain that at least some of the emails hosted at clintonemails.com were intercepted,” said independent security expert and developer Nic Cubrilovic, in a separate interview with Gawker.
Earlier reports have noted that federal investigators have already found a number of “top secret” emails passed through her server.