Back in August, I wrote a post titled The real email question: Did Hillary Clinton sell US secrets? As much as I loathe Hillary, this was a very serious question based on the facts that we know. The IG representing the 17 US intelligence agencies identified two emails residing on Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecure email server as being properly classified as TSTK, that is, the were classified Top Secret and compartmentalized under the code words Talent Keyhole which indicates that it is imagery deriving from a KH-11 reconnaissance satellite. If the emails had merely contained a description of the satellite imagery, even if the subject were classified, there is no way a reader could ascertain if the imagery came from a KH-11 or a drone or a manned flight or an on the ground agent. This implies that the emails contained the actual imagery (with no security markings, we’ve heard of that before). The imagery is required to viewed in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF. It can’t leave except via a courier hand-delivering it, staying in the room when it is viewed, and returning it to the SCIF.
At the time I wrote:
Either Clinton sent top secret material via her private email to herself to archive for grins or the Clinton server was only a way station on its way somewhere else. Simply keeping the images for some future use doesn’t make sense to me as it is a high risk-low payoff action. The more likely scenario is that something was done with the images, something that benefited one or more Clintons.
A logical route would be Clinton gets info from Blumenthal who gets info from Drumheller. Clinton sends info to Blumenthal who sends info to Drumheller.
But if Blumenthal, or someone like him, handled the outgoing classified information did they also act as a bag man, collecting money for the imagery?
What did [former CIA operative, Blumenthal associate, and conveniently deceased Democrat activist Tyler] Drumheller, or someone like him, get for his efforts if he received the imagery? Was he merely a bit player at the fringe of Democrat politics who was releasing his inner Walter Mitty by sending bulls*** intel analyses to Hillary? Maybe in hopes of become Director of Central Intelligence after her coronation? Did he get paid by Clinton? Or was the operation a quid pro quo where he received classified materials that he could sell to others and curry favor and impress others to gain access to other political players? Did someone in Abu Dhabi get the images? Or did they end up at Teneo Holdings to help bolster some investment decision? One of these answers is better than the others.
Why bring this up? John Schindler has this at The Observer: Hillary’s EmailGate Goes Nuclear. The subhead is Does the latest release of Hillary’s State Department emails include highly classified U.S. intelligence?
But the biggest problem may be in a just-released email that has gotten little attention here, but plenty on the other side of the world. An email to Hillary from a close Clinton confidant late on June 8, 2011 about Sudan turns out to have explosive material in it. This message includes a detailed intelligence report from Sid Blumenthal, Hillary’s close friend, confidant, and factotum, who regularly supplied her with information from his private intelligence service. His usual source was Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA senior official and veteran spy-gadfly, who conveniently died just before EmailGate became a serious problem for Hillary’s campaign.
A lot of great stuff follows and I won’t excerpt it because you should read it for yourself keeping in mind Schindler worked with this information professionally. He’s only a pundit after a career in the intelligence community and a professor at the Naval War College. Then there is this:
But the most interesting part is that the report describes a conversation “in confidence” that happened on the evening of June 7, just one day before Mr. Blumenthal sent the report to Secretary Clinton. It beggars the imagination to think that Sid’s private intelligence operation, which was just a handful of people, had operators who were well placed in Sudan, with top-level spy access, able to get this secret information, place it in a decently written assessment with proper espionage verbiage, and pass it all back to Washington, DC, inside 24 hours. That would be a feat even for the CIA, which has stations and officers all over Africa.
In fact, the June 8, 2011 Blumenthal report doesn’t read like CIA material at all, in other words human intelligence or HUMINT, but very much like signals intelligence or SIGINT. (For the differences see here). I know what SIGINT reports look like, because I used to write them for the National Security Agency, America’s biggest source of intelligence. SIGINT reports, which I’ve read thousands of, have a very distinct style and flavor to them and Blumenthal’s write-up matches it, right down to the “Source Comments,” which smack very much of NSA reporting and its “house rules.”
But is this an NSA assessment? If so, it would have to be classified at least Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, a handling caveat that applies to most SIGINT, and quite possibly Top Secret/SCI, the highest normal classification we have. In that case, it was about as far from Unclassified as it’s possible for an email to be.
This goes back to my original post.
It looks like Tyler Drumheller was using his old professional contacts in the intelligence community to acquire very sensitive information. This was then sold to foreign governments and bartered back to the US government in exchange for more classified information. In this case, NSA eavesdropping was shopped to Hillary (who actually had no “need to know”). Going back the other way was Top Secret stuff that was walked out of a State Department SCIF. There is little doubt that this information was enthusiastically shopped to foreign governments to gain trading material that would allow Drumheller’s intelligence community cronies to rationalize that they were getting a good return on their investment.