The Russians did hack into the U.S. government, and so did any foreign intelligence worth its salt, most likely through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server.
That’s the conclusion of J. Michael Waller, a longtime consultant to government entities ranging from the secretary of defense to the U.S. Senate to the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. During his career, Waller also worked extensively to thwart Soviet and Russian front organizations in the U.S. and Europe while attacking Russian intelligence efforts. He is now an investigative reporter at the American Media Institute.
Waller is not swayed from his conclusion by Wednesday’s assertion from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest that the government is not prepared to definitively accuse the Russians of the hacking.
“It was the Russians,” Waller said. “It was not only through that State Department system. All the intelligence authorities that I interviewed say that the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians almost certainly got all of Hillary Clinton’s emails through her private server. While she destroyed the contents for Congress to look at, the Russians, the Iranians and the Chinese still have them.”
Waller thinks Clinton deserves prison time for insisting on an email system that clearly left the nation vulnerable to attack.
“This is the national-security equivalent of drunken driving,” he said. “She should go to prison for this. When you drink and drive, you know in advance that you’re putting other people in danger. Yet, you think because you’re so smart or so clever or just don’t care, that nothing’s going to happen and then something does, so it’s your fault. This is precisely what she did on the national security sphere.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with J. Michael Waller:
How did Clinton get permission to install a server that, Waller says, every cyber-security expert knows is like a welcome mat to steal sensitive information?
“She was the secretary of state, and she had the approval of the president,” he said. “As we know from hearing people in the State Department and people who had ever worked with Hillary, everyone’s afraid to contradict her because she’ll yell and scream and destroy your career.”
Since Clinton wiped the server clean, the chances of American lawmakers and media finding out what her emails contained is very remote. So if she was hacked, how will the U.S. ever get a picture of what other nations now know? Waller said America probably won’t unless some awkward assistance comes its way.
“We’ll never know unless maybe one of our allies who also spies on us, like the Israelis or the French or somebody like that, maybe they might decide to help us with the backups that they might happen to have,” he said.
Waller said Clinton is an egregious example of tossing caution to the wind for the sake of convenience, and he said actions like this demand accountability.
“You have to hold people here responsible who committed the criminal negligence that allowed that to happen,” he said. “It’s not the technical people. The technical people know what they’re doing. They give the warnings to the policymakers.”
However, he said it’s a big problem for lawmakers and bureaucrats in both parties.
“A lot of policymakers are simply too lazy to go through the security protocols,” Waller said. “It’s like how a lot of people prefer a simple password because they can’t remember a really complicated one, so they go for the simple ones, which are the easiest ones to hack. It’s that type of mentality throughout our government.”
Waller said the State Department has secret and top-secret networks that do not appear to be compromised by the Russian hacking. He said that means any stolen data came from less secure networks, which personnel should not have been using for any official business involving sensitive information.
Does this mean anyone who exchanged emails with Secretary Clinton through her private server is ripe for international hacking?
“Yes, and friends of friends,” Waller said. “You can burrow into different email networks simply by knowing an email address. You can get into that person’s email and then find out who their networks are and so forth.”
In addition to pursuing Hillary Clinton and other alleged flouters of national security protocols, Waller said the U.S. needs to act in another direction as well.
“We have to go on an all-out attack against the Russians and against their systems,” he said. “We’re not doing that. We have the capability to do that, but the fact that the administration doesn’t even want to reveal it was the Russians shows the White House is helping the Russians cover up for them.”
How does this episode help Waller conclude America is not aggressively spying on the Russians?
“If we were, it would be known,” he said. “I know just through the people I work with and listening to their years of lamenting that we’re not doing anything substantively on a strategic scale to serve as a deterrence to what the Russians are doing. [That] tells us that we’re not doing much.”