The wiretapping of the personal cellphones of 35 foreign leaders, including our closest allies, is clearly President Obama’s scandal. But is it also Hillary Clinton’s?
Obama claims he knew nothing about the unprecedented spying, and The Wall Street Journal reported that he shut it down when he found out last summer.
The question for him, of course, is: Why didn’t he know?
The important question for the former secretary of State, on the other hand, is: What did she know? And why didn’t she speak out against it?
We know this: Clinton — and Obama — routinely received wiretap intercepts and briefings on the intelligence gathered. Documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden specify that the State Department was a “customer” for the information the surveillance unearthed.
How could the chief foreign policy officer not know we were wiretapping our allies? If she didn’t know about it beforehand, didn’t the very nature of the intel received tip her off that we were collecting highly personal information on foreign leaders that could only have come from intrusive taps?
And what about the tapping of foreign leaders’ cellphones and hacking of their emails at the London 2009 Group of 8 meeting? Apparently the purpose was to determine their positions — before any vote. The National Security Agency monitored then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s personal communications immediately after he met with Obama and subsequently issued a report that left no doubt about the tapping: “This is an analysis of signal activity in support of President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to London.”
So who received that information? We shared it with high-ranking officials in Britain, and other countries. Are we really supposed to believe that we didn’t give it to our own president and top diplomat? Who but the president and secretary of State would have immediate use for those details?
We also know this about Clinton: the record shows that she’s been interested in personal information about foreign leaders in the past.
The 2010 WikiLeaks included a cable sent to our embassy in Buenos Aires seeking highly personal details about Argentine President Christina Fernández, including questions about her medications, her daily time with her husband, her method of dealing with stress and, specifically, “how do [her] emotions affect her decision-making and how does she calm down when distressed?”
Now, what important foreign policy issue did those questions advance?
There’s more. In a cable sent out under Clinton’s name, a massive program of surveillance of foreign leaders affiliated with the United Nations was created.
WikiLeaks revealed a “National Humint [human intelligence] Collection Directive” that directed State Department officials to conduct surveillance and even theft of property directed at top ranking U.N. officials.
The memo suggests stealing credit card data from a number of top officials, obtaining DNA samples and learning their personal passwords and encryption codes
The directive was sent to 33 U.S. embassies and targeted U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, his assistants, the heads of all U.N. agencies and the delegations of all permanent members of the Security Council. No distinction was made between the delegations of allies like France and the United Kingdom and adversaries like Russia and China.
This kind of intrusive tactic is nothing new for Clinton. Remember that during the 1992 presidential campaign, she approved hiring private detectives (paid with campaign funds) to amass compromising information on women who claimed to have been sexually involved with her husband.
Suddenly, reports surfaced of abortions, bankruptcies, messy divorces and high school and college misconduct in the lives of women who got in her husband’s way. The detectives she hired — who we’ve called the “secret police” — were doing their work. And the women went away.
In view of Clinton’s historical affinity for personal surveillance and the evidence that it continues, we’re entitled to answers about how this possible future president of the United States was involved in the decision to compromise our relations with some of our most important allies.
Clinton recently called for “an adult conversation” about spying.
Let’s hear it.