Two weeks ago, when media outlets obtained the State Department's long and rather damning report on the email practices of the last five Secretaries of State, it certainly didn't help Hillary Clinton and her campaign for the White House. One of the main concerns of her controversial decision to have a private server and not file records of her communications in the manner in which she was instructed was that she could potentially compromise national security. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that security experts have weighed in to confirm that, yes, Clinton's decision — whether you believe it an oversight or a deliberate attempt to circumvent protocol — could potentially have compromised the names of CIA personnel.
According to a report from the Associated Press published Wednesday, experts believe the names of CIA personnel "could have been compromised not only by hackers who may have penetrated Hillary Clinton's private computer server or the State Department system," though it also noted that such information also could have been compromised "by the release itself of tens of thousands of her emails." The CIA declined to comment to AP, and many security experts who did comment downplayed the viability of security concerns. While one U.S. official who was not named said CIA personnel names could have been revealed, the official said the threat was "theoretical and probably remains so at this time." Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, told AP, "I don't think there's any particular vulnerability here." But will those caveats to the concern stop Donald Trump from using Clinton's emails as ammo in the general election?
The saga of Clinton's email scandal has been a long one, and at times we've gotten bored or tired of it. There's a reason Sanders' proclamation that he and the American people were "sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails" got so many snaps. On the flip side, it has been one of the most successful, most cited, and most enduring criticisms of her, a narrative that simply will not die, like Benghazi or her husband's sexual behavior. It feeds perfectly into presumptive GOP nominee Trump's "Crooked Hillary" epithet. And now that the race is on the cusp of being whittled down to Clinton versus Trump, I believe we should expect to see this latest development cited forcefully and often. In fact, see the tweet from Trump below as proof.
The attention to her emails has never vanished from the campaign, and with this latest article — and with Trump as the GOP nominee — it's not leaving the news cycle or the campaign trail any time soon. The statements of these security experts may give him additional ammo, although as briefly explained above, the email concerns raised by Clinton are complicated. The State Department report never said Clinton deserved punishment or should be further investigated. Moreover, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has yet to finish its investigation.
Of course, none of us are counting on that kind of understanding or critical nuance from Trump. Expect lots of tweets blaring that Clinton and her Blackberry might have been responsible for countless undercover heroes being gunned down in some unnamed desert. Sad.
Image: Bustle/Caroline Qurtzel