A damning report from the State Department yesterday added new fuel to a fire that was already a problem for Hillary Clinton. Now, a former military adviser to the State Department has broken ranks, saying that Clinton’s “sloppy communications with her senior staff” may have compromised counter-terrorism operations.
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Speaking to Newsweek, Bill Johnson, the State Department’s adviser to US special forces in the Pacific in 2010 and 2011, claimed Clinton’s lax security “may have compromised at least two counterterrorism operations.” He said that operations to “eliminate the leader of a Filipino Islamist separatist group and intercept Chinese-made weapons components being smuggled into Iraq were repeatedly foiled.”
The targets were said to be “one step ahead of us” on a constant basis. Johnson said that his team considered other sources for a security breach, but settled on Clinton’s unencrypted phone calls to senior staff as the only option. There’s no concrete evidence, so of course the Clinton camp is calling the allegations “patently false.”
The circumstantial evidence is pretty strong, however. When the special operations command became tired of botched missions, it stopped giving advance warning to the State Department officials in Manila. Once they did that, they finally had missions start to go to plan.
Even if Clinton’s phone calls weren’t responsible for counter-terrorism ops going wrong, Johnson’s stories of Clinton knowingly using unsecured phone lines to discuss military matters in worrying. The State Department report into Clinton’s email use highlighted the fact that Clinton knew she was bypassing security rules; the fact that she also disregarded protocol for phone conversations isn’t going to help her case at all.