A group of special operations veterans and intelligence community officials have formally asked Secretary of State John Kerry to strip former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of her security clearance along with three of her top aides, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The organization, called the Special Operations Educational Fund, wrote Kerry August 5 asking that he “immediately suspend the security clearances” because of Clinton’s use of a private unsecured email server and domain name that contains classified information. SOF is a 501 (c) 4 nonprofit group.
The group also asked Kerry to administratively suspend the security clearances of Clinton and aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan.
The SOEF demands could significantly escalate the email crisis that has engulfed Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in recent weeks.
The SOEF previously criticized the Obama administration for leaking sensitive national security information concerning the operation that resulted in the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Mills is a long-time Clinton aide who was White House counsel to President Clinton during his impeachment. She was also chief of staff to Secretary Clinton at the State Department.
Abedin was deputy chief of staff to Secretary Clinton. Abedin became the focus of controversy when it was learned earlier this year that she was pocketing multiple salaries while working for Clinton, including a government salary and benefits, as well as earned income from the Clinton Foundation and a firm created by a former official of the foundation.
Sullivan was one of Clinton’s point people on Iran. Politico called him Clinton’s “secret Iran man.”
Secretaries of State typically retain national security clearances for an indeterminate time after leaving office. It permits them to examine classified documents and provide assistance to their successors.
The SOEF was founded by Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates. He is a Republican.
The SOEF claims, “there is ample evidence that this private server was inadequately protected from foreign intelligence penetration and malicious ‘hacking.'”
They also charged that the operation of the email system “is a serious breach our nation’s diplomatic, operational and strategic security.” They urged Kerry to “exercise its administrative authority to suspend any existing security clearances of these four individuals.”
Michael Gregg, CEO of Superior Solutions, a cybersecurity firm that conducts penetration assessment of computer systems, told TheDCNF that Clinton’s server was “very vulnerable. There is a 98 percent certainty that that server was breached somehow.”
To emphasize Clinton’s vulnerability, Gregg noted that the Romanian hacker “Guccifer,” whose real name is Marel Lazar Lehel, was the first to disclose that her emails were on a private server.
Guccifer is known for hacking political figures and celebrities. He was indicted in June 2014 in absentia by a federal grand jury for hacking activities in the United States.
Gregg said that Clinton’s server was working with a 2008 version of Windows. “It wasn’t even the latest version,” he said. “My main concern as a security professional was simply the amount of information that could be potentially leaked or exploited.”
The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community has confirmed that classified material was on the Clinton server which reportedly contains 30,000 emails.
Clinton and her attorney David Kendall surrendered the server and a backup server along with three thumb nail drives to the FBI.
Intelligence officials are currently combing through the emails at the State Department after it was determined that classified material resided on the server, some of which were “Top Secret.”
The State Department did not reply to a DCNF inquiry regarding the SOF request.