Federal Court Orders Discovery Into The Clinton Emails And Suggests The Possibility of Subpoenas To Force Disclosures
“U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan sent shockwaves through Washington yesterday by ruling that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton will be subject to discovery on whether they intentionally violated federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
The case opens up another front for Clinton who is facing rising criticism over her decision to exclusively use her own private server for communications as Secretary of State — a decision that gave her control over her email system but exposed classified information to interception. The State Department supplied a secure system for her use but Clinton opted not to use that system. Over 1,700 emails on Clinton’s private email system have been classified (22 at the highest level of “top secret”).
While Clinton insists that the information was not marked classified at the time, that is not the test under federal law. Yet, this case concerns the use of the private server to circumvent open record laws. The court also indicated that it may order subpoenas for Clinton officials in light to the failure to fully disclose information. Sullivan, who I have appeared before regularly over the last two decades, is a widely respected judge and a Clinton appointee.
Sullivan noted that it is not clear that senior State Department officials were aware that Clinton had decided not to use the protected or secure State Department system. He cited a January 2009 email exchange including Undersecretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, Clinton chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills and Huma Abedin about establishing a “stand-alone network” email system. Now that it is also confirmed that top secret information was discussed on Clinton’s private server, any discovery is likely to cause both political and legal problems for the Clinton camp. First, any depositions might result in refusals to testify by key officials. The invocation of Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination would have significant political impacts. After all, no one would suggest that Sullivan is part of a right-wing conspiracy or runaway investigation. The refusal to testify would reflect the real danger of tripping the wire on federal classification laws as well as more general concerns that statements conflicting statements with those government investigators could trigger charges under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Second, depositions raise the explosive potential of an aide admitting that the email system was understood to be an effort to retain control of the email system and evade federal laws.”
…Continue reading @ JonathanTurley.org
Federal Court Grants Judicial Watch Discovery on Clinton Email Issue
– Judicial Watch
“Judicial Watch Will Seek Testimony from Current and Former Obama Administration Officials
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan today granted Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for six years. The developments come in a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about Clinton’s separate email records (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
Judge Sullivan initially announced his ruling from the bench during a hearing this morning and, over the objections of the State Department, authorized Judicial Watch to submit a plan for “narrowly-tailored discovery.” Judge Sullivan is also considering whether to order the State Department to subpoena all the emails on the clinton.com email system.”
….Continue reading @ JudicialWatch.org
McCaul and Warner want to build an army of tech experts and spies to try and catch terrorists when they ‘go dark’
“Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) will soon formally propose a digital security commission with aims to bring stakeholders together to discuss and propose solutions to “security and technology challenges in the digital age.”
“The technology is way in front of the policymakers and the law,” McCaul said at an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday.
Warner remarked on his fear that the relationship between the intelligence community and the tech sector had become adversarial as the two sides “talk past each other” when the they ought to be cooperating.
At the heart of the committee is the delicate balance between the needs (and wants) of investigators seeking encrypted information and the rights and privacy of the American public.
“There are tensions,” Warner said, “but we want to maintain American innovation, we want to maintain America’s privacy rights, and we definitely want to make sure Americans are safe from acts of terror and criminal acts.”
The pairing of McCaul, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, and Warner, a former tech and telecommunications investor , is emblematic of the cooperation that the two hope to bring forth with a committee that would include representatives from Silicon Valley, the FBI, privacy advocates, encryption experts, and law enforcement agencies.
A similar discussion arose surrounding the assertion that encryption was used in the planning of the November 2015 Paris attacks, though the extent to which encryption was actually used remains unclear.”
Read more @ Business Insider
– Actually the headline from BI is a bit over the top the content, outrunning it as it were.
– A more in depth article was done by the Hill in Dec 2015:
Homeland chair moves to rein in ‘dark’ networks
“The head of the House Homeland Security Committee is pushing a new initiative to deal with the proliferation of encrypted devices that critics say allow terrorists to communicate without detection.
The effort by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) will not force concessions on tech companies, he said Monday.
Instead, it would create “a national commission on security and technology challenges in the digital age,” which McCaul promised would be tasked with providing specific recommendations for dealing with an issue that has become a priority for law enforcement officials.
McCaul is planning to introduce his bill in the coming days. The new commission would be composed of tech industry leaders, privacy advocates, academics and law enforcement officials.
McCaul’s push could prove to be a middle ground in the debate over encryption, which has created a rift between Silicon Valley and federal officials in Washington.
Leaders at the FBI and elsewhere warn that the increasingly common use of unbreakable encryption makes it impossible for them to obtain a suspect’s communications even with a warrant.
Yet tech companies and privacy supporters say that weakening the technology would make everybody less safe. A vulnerability allowing the FBI to access someone’s messages could easily be exploited by Chinese spies or nefarious hackers, they note.
McCaul’s idea went over well with at least one of Capitol Hill’s staunchest encryption defenders.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a former cybersecurity consultant and CIA agent who chairs an important House subcommittee on information technology, said McCaul’s proposed commission could help define “specifically, what are those challenges that law enforcement is facing?”
“The problem that I’ve seen is that the tech community and the law enforcement community, everybody’s talking past each other,” he told The Hill.”
…Read more @ The Hill by Julian Hattem.
– My question would be, why set up whole infrastructures to spy and investigate US citizens, when the people at the top are fully capable of exposing top secrets to our most serious adversaries?
Another point would be to shut access to money and techologies. If most wireless carriers requires several serious forms of ID for a cell phone account, why is it still so easy to buy a ID-less cell phone?