“Loose lips sink ships.” That was the slogan in World War II stressing the importance of safeguarding information that could be helpful to our enemies and harmful to Americans and our allies. The penalties for violating the secrecy laws and regulations were severe. People who violated these rules were sometimes charged with and tried for treason.
There is mounting evidence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and some of her closest friends and aides have committed crimes pertaining to the legal handling of classified information. This is one of the most serious offenses that a government official can commit.
A new report alleges that two emails containing classified information from two people on Hillary Clinton’s inner circle jump-started the FBI investigation into her use of a private email setup during her time as Secretary of State.
It is unlikely that she and her friends will be charged and prosecuted by the Obama Justice Department. The crimes may be sufficiently serious that a scapegoat may take the fall for Hillary. Regardless, they will all be pardoned by Obama before he leaves office.
There are no excuses allowed when dealing with national secrets. Ignorance is no excuse. I have known fine military personnel whose careers and lives were ruined because they simply were negligent and failed to adequately secure classified information.
For three years in the 1960s I was selected to be a member of the CINCPAC Airborne Command Post. We were an alternative to the Pacific Command operating from an EC-135 in an undisclosed Orbit over the Pacific. The Secretary of Defense established the operation, because he was concerned that the Russians might take advantage of our preoccupation with Vietnam and destroy the Pacific headquarters in Hawaii.
That was before satellites and all communications between Washington and Vietnam had to go through the Pacific Headquarters in Hawaii and be retransmitted by radio across the Pacific.
I was a student at the United States Army Command and General Staff College and received orders to go to an assignment at the Army Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, upon graduation. Having spent 3 years in Germany in the 50s, we began buying winter clothes for the children and ourselves. I even purchased a snow sled for the boys. We packed our stuff in a conex container and it headed for Germany.
A few days before we were to graduate and start the move, I received a note that said my orders had been changed and I was going to Hawaii. I began calling the assignment people in the Pentagon to determine what was going on. No one would talk to me.
We got off the plane in Honolulu not knowing anything, but hoping to find out. An army officer and his wife met us at the plane. LaVerle couldn’t resist. “What is his assignment?” she asked. “He will be flying,” was the only response.
The next morning I joined about a dozen others in a secure room at CINCPAC Headquarters. We were informed that we would be carrying aboard an aircraft what would be necessary to retaliate in case the Russians nuked the Pacific Headquarters. We were briefed on the Human Reliability program and the two-man control of exercise and live materials in a large welded steel box with two huge hardened steel padlocks. I learned that we were selected for the assignment, and frozen in the job for 3 years. Major Chuck Peck and I would be carrying the keys to the box and we were the only individuals to be armed on the plane at any time. The loaded revolvers were to keep anyone, including us, from getting possession of both keys. We could only open the box in the presence of the battle staff commander and operations officer.
The only problem I recall was two people on duty one night opened the wrong envelope during an exercise. They were shipped back to the mainland the next day. We never heard what happened to them.
People who handle top secret or higher classified material are debriefed and sign all sorts of papers. Apparently, Hillary Clinton did none of that. We will never know how many lives she has cost.