Inspector General: Hillary Clinton's Emails Contained Highly Classified Intel

Hillary Clinton's emails are like a ghost that just won't stop haunting her. For several months now, the former Secretary of State has been forced to address the issue of why she used a private email server in her home instead of a government server. The revelations that Clinton's emails contained information the Inspector General described as "beyond" top secret were brushed off by the Democratic frontrunner as fodder for gossip.

During an interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro on Wednesday, Clinton dismissed the allegations as little more than a smear campaign.

"This seems to me, to be, you know, another effort to inject this into the campaign. It's another leak."
According to MSNBC, Inspector General Charles McCullough contributed $1,000 to George W. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign. Sen. Diane Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Intelligence committee, pointed out McCullough's partisanship and accused the IG of playing politics. He was appointed, however, by President Barack Obama to his current position in 2011.

Although the Inspector General's official letter on the matter clears Clinton from any conscious intelligence leaks, evidence has emerged that emails sent to her did contain some classified information.

Did Hillary Clinton commit a felony every time she sent and received emails on her own private, unencrypted server? Some folks think so. At the very least, some say, she was criminally negligent.

As Secretary of State, Clinton eschewed government technology, instead opting to use a private server in her home where she sent and received countless emails related to sensitive government issues. Her server was unencrypted, leaving U.S. government information vulnerable to cyber attacks.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in October, Clinton's emails and her private server were vulnerable to several attacks. Her server contained 55,000 pages of emails from her stint as Secretary of State. The private server was attacked by hackers from China, South Korea, and Germany, after she'd already left office. Fortunately, her server was protected by an anti-hacking product installed on it.

However, according to the WSJ story, those 55,000 pages of emails were exposed without any kind of protection against hackers for a period of four months from June to October, 2013. No one has said if her server was attacked during that time, and no one knows if Clinton's server even had any kind of firewall at all until 2013.

So far, at least five hacking attempts had been discovered, along with malicious software on Clinton's private email server.

Bernie Sanders may be tired of hearing about Clinton's emails, but revelations about a 2011 attempt by Russian hackers to send her malware through emails is not something voters and federal officials can easily ignore.

During the chat with Shaprio Wednesday, Clinton surmised that the point of contention had to do with the drone program, which was classified at the time she was Secretary of State but was still being written about. She believes that an article by the New York Times was the source of the information the Inspector General deemed was classified.

"How a New York Times public article that goes around the world could be in any way viewed as classified, or the fact that it would be sent to other people off of the New York Times site, I think, is one of the difficulties that people have in understanding what this is about."
On Tuesday, McCullough sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees that he had received "sworn declarations" from an intelligence agency regarding confidential information.
"…several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC [Intelligence Community] element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP information."
Some of the information recovered from Clinton's server and emails was so sensitive that McCullough had to receive special clearance before he could even see the IC element's sworn statement about them.

[Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty]