- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hillary Clinton may have resigned her secretary role at the State Department in 2013 — but her access to top secret and classified information didn’t end then.

Under Barack Obama, she was allowed to continue to view highly sensitive intel documents for years — well past her announced run for the presidency in April 2015, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Why? Toward what possible end?

So she could better write her memoir.

File this in the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” folder.

And it wasn’t just Clinton who kept the power of top secret access. It was six of her former staffers, who went by the tag of “research assistants,” Fox News reported.



Grassley, rightly so, is baffled — not just by the special privilege for Clinton and six of her staffers. But also by the fact that the justification for the access seems so waffley and weak. As he wondered: If the top-secret access was sincerely so Clinton could pen a better memoir, why did the Obama White House hide it for so long?

Grassley said he was only able to confirm Clinton’s top-secret access after Obama left the presidency.

“I have repeatedly asked the State Department whether Secretary Clinton and her associates had their clearances suspended or revoked, to which the Obama administration refused to respond,” Grassley said, in a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week.

He went on: “Recently, the State Department informed the [Judiciary] Committee that six additional Secretary Clinton staff at State were designated as her research assistants, which allowed them to retain their clearances after leaving the department.”

This is astonishing — particularly so because Clinton was outed by the FBI’s James Comey as rather lackadaisical in her handling of top-secret and classified information.

Corey’s exact statement, in July 2016, after an FBI investigation into her home-based email server, went like this: “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

And this is the woman to whom Obama gave the go-ahead to continue to access top-secret and classified information after her departure from State? To her and six so-called “research assistants?”

Grassley’s demanding more answers — and now that Tillerson’s in charge of State, they should be forthcoming. But here’s the reality: The average Joe and Jane State Department worker who engaged in the same cavalier handling of classified information as Clinton would have lost security clearance and privilege long ago. Or been jailed.

Clinton’s special treatment, as Comey’s already implied, has put America’s security at risk. Unfortunately, years past her State post, we still don’t know how much.

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