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Introduction Tomorrow, former Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is set to deliver a high-profile address at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, to discuss, as she described it, “the balance and transparency necessary in our national security policy” a topic that is particularly significant given the ongoing debate about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. While we do not know what Clinton will say, we do know that her remarks will not be driven by concerns over either national security or privacy, but rather by politics, just as her positions on these issues were during her 2008 presidential campaign and her time in the Senate. During her last run, Clinton positioned herself as a sharp critic of the Bush Administration’s use of the National Security Agency for intelligence gathering that involved programs that obtained domestic intelligence, and voted against bills authorizing these efforts. However, in 2009 Clinton became a key player in the national security team that engaged in and expanded these very practices. Clinton’s disingenuous track record on privacy and national security should overshadow any assurances she offers. Whether she chooses to embrace these policies, acknowledging that her 2008 stances were merely politics, or distances herself from programs she was complicit in implementing, the fact remains that on the debate over civil liberties and national security, Hillary Clinton simply cannot be trusted. 2008 Democrat Primary: Highly Critical Of NSA Surveillance Programs In 2006, then-Senator Clinton gearing up for the Democratic primary, sought to challenge the Bush Administration over national security issues. Among the issues she seized upon was the National Security Agency’s telephone surveillance program. At the time, Clinton declared, “Unchecked mass surveillance without judicial review may sometimes be legal but it is dangerous. Every president should save those powers for limited critical situations. ” 1 In 2008, Clinton voted against extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Obama Administration Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said authorizes the NSA’s metadata collection programs. 2 In voting against FISA reauthorization, Clinton declared “any surveillance
1 Devlin Barrett, “Hillary Clinton Calls For ‘Privacy Bill Of Rights,’” The Associated Press, 6/16/06 2 James R. Clapper, “DNI Statement On Activities Authored Under Section 702 Of FISA,” Press Release, 6/6/13; H.R. 6304, Roll Call Vote #168: Passed 69-28, 7/9/08, Clinton Voted Nay
program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration.” 3 Of course the NSA programs during the Obama Administration had inadequate safeguards, violating the law thousands of times. 4 Clinton voted against the Protect America Act, which authorized the email collection program, now known as PRISM. 5 As a Senator, Clinton was so vocally opposed to these programs that she voted against telecommunications companies who were cooperating with government agencies from receiving retroactive immunity from civil litigation, a position then-Senator Obama would not take. 6 She used these votes on the campaign trail to her political advantage, deriding President Bush. In a statement following a December 2007 vote against granting immunity to telecommunications companies, she declared “The Bush Administration has blatantly disregarded Americans civil liberties over the past seven years, and I simply will not trust them to protect Americans privacy rights.” 7 Secretary Of State: A Key Player In The Obama National Security Team While her 2008 rivalry with Senator Obama was spirited and fierce, Clinton soon became a trusted member of the Obama national security team’s inner circle. Early in 2009, The New York Times noted Clinton had “no shortage of access” to the President and “emerged as an influential voice” in policy debates. 8 According to President Obama’s public schedule, over the course of her tenure, Clinton was among the members of his cabinet that spent the most time with him and at the White House. 9 Obama Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett noted that “her voice is respected and heard and she is a strong, strong part of his overall cabinet and a leader within the foreign policy team.” 10 And Clinton herself dismissed the notion that her past rivalry with Obama or her gender would somehow marginalize her influence within the Administration as “absurd.” 11 In fact, Clinton was close enough to the national security team to be read in on the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden and was comfortable enough to offer her thoughts on a potential scheduling conflict, famously saying “[Expletive] the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” 12 Hillary Clinton’s Role Gave Her Access To Sensitive Foreign And Domestic Intelligence Gathering Given Clinton’s well-established role as an influential player in the President’s national security team, it is unlikely she would not play the role a Secretary of State has traditionally played in intelligence matters.
3 Sam Stein, “Clinton: Why I Voted No On FISA,” The Huffington Post, 7/17/08 4 Barton Gellman, “NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times Per Year, Audit Finds,” The Washington Post, 8/15/13
Andrea Mitchell and Jeff Black, “Sources: US Intelligence Agencies Tap Servers Of Top Internet Companies,” NBC News, 6/7/13; S. 1927, Roll Call Vote #309: Passed 60-28: R 43-0; D 16-27; I 1-1, 8/3/07, Clinton Voted Nay, Obama Voted Yea 6 H.R. 6304, CQ Vote #168: Passed 69-28: R 47-0; D 21-27; I 1-1, 7/9/08, Clinton Voted Nay 7 Sen. Hillary Clinton, “Statement Of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton On FISA Amendments Act Of 2007,” Press Release, 12/7/07 8 Mark Landler, “Lower Profile For Clinton, But Her Influence Rises,” The New York Times, 4/1/09; Mark Landler, “Her Rival Now Her Boss, Clinton Settles Into New Role,” The New York Times, 5/1/09 9 Jeff Mason, “Clinton's Influence In Team Obama: A Nuanced Role,” Reuters, 10/24/09 10 Ibid. 11 NBC’s “The Today Show,” 11/13/09 12 Carlos Lozada, Op-Ed, “Review of Mark Leibovich’s ‘This Townl,’” The Washington Post, 7/3/13
Traditionally, Secretaries of State and Defense are given a version of the President’s daily intelligence briefing, allowing them to ask questions to CIA personnel about specific intelligence matters. 13 Furthermore, numerous publicly disclosed examples throughout Clinton’s tenure show the depth of her knowledge about intelligence gathering. On the Bin Laden raid mentioned above, the National Journal reported in 2011 that the National Security Agency was able to determine that Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound had no telephone or Internet service and added “How it did this without Pakistan’s knowledge is a secret.” 14 The Washington Post reported just last week that in addition, “the National Security Agency also was able to penetrate guarded communications among Al-Qaeda operatives by tracking calls from mobile phones identified by specific calling patterns.” 15 For Secretary Clinton to have such intimate knowledge of the operation, she must have known about the NSA and other agencies’ roles in gathering and analyzing intelligence. Secretary Clinton was likely involved with the NSA’s monitoring of the United Nations’ internal video conferencing systems, helping expand foreign intelligence gathering of sensitive diplomatic communications. 16 In 2009, an order given under her name was issued to top U.S. diplomats at the United Nations demanding technical details about the UN’s communications systems and biometric information on top UN officials and diplomats.17 To be clear, Clinton’s knowledge and involvement with the NSA’s foreign and diplomatic intelligence gathering programs would mean she knew about the controversial programs that collected intelligence on Americans. As The Washington Post noted, it was these same NSA programs that sought foreign intelligence that gathered records on Americans. The NSA uses the term “incidental” when it sweeps up the records of an American while targeting a foreigner or a U.S. person who is believed to be involved in terrorism. Official guidelines for NSA personnel say that kind of incident, pervasive under current practices, “does not constitute a … violation” and “does not have to be reported” to the NSA inspector general for inclusion in quarterly reports to Congress.18 These efforts include an operation that would be ruled unconstitutional by the FISA Court: The operation to obtain what the agency called “multiple communications transactions” collected and commingled U.S. and foreign e-mails, according to an article in SSO News, a top-secret internal newsletter of the NSA’s Special Source Operations unit. … In October 2011, months after the program got underway, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the collection effort was unconstitutional. 19 Thus while these programs were intended for foreign intelligence gathering, they kept and searched information from Americans. The State Department itself also has a substantial role in intelligence analysis and as a result, knowledge of intelligence gathering tactics. For FY 2010, the State Department’s Bureau of
13 Elisabeth Bumiller, “Black And White And Read By Precious Few,” The New York Times, 11/10/13 14 Marc Ambinder, “The Secret Team That Killed Bin Laden,” National Journal, 5/2/11 15 Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman, “To Hunt Osama Bin Laden, Satellites Watched Over Abbottabad, Pakistan, And Navy SEALs,” The Washington Post, 8/29/13 16 “German Magazine: NSA Spied On United Nations,” The Associated Press, 8/25/13 17 Robert Booth and Julian Borger, “US Diplomats Spied On UN Leadership” The Guardian, 11/28/10
Barton Gellman, “NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times Per Year, Audit Finds,” The Washington Post, 8/15/13 Ibid.
Intelligence and Research (INR) had a staff of 330 personnel and a budget of over $64 million. 20 Phillip Goldberg, Clinton’s Assistant Secretary overseeing the bureau, once worked for former Clinton foreign policy advisors Richard Holbrooke and Strobe Talbott. As a Clinton insider, he was a member of the intelligence community and charged with enhancing U.S. diplomacy and national security through “all-source” intelligence gathering, analyzing intelligence from multiple agencies and all potential sources. 21 Given these examples, it is simply implausible that Secretary Clinton to not understand the size and scope of the NSA and other agencies’ surveillance programs. Any claims of not knowing would amount to willful ignorance on her part, going out of her way to avoid learning information about the sources of intelligence she was relying upon. In This Debate, Hillary Clinton Cannot Be Trusted After becoming one of the biggest critics of these intelligence gathering tactics, Hillary Clinton became a key player in a national security team that employed them. Her own State Department even ran a bureau that was reliant on intelligence gathered by using some of these tactics. It doesn’t matter what Hillary Clinton says next Tuesday, because her record on civil liberties in intelligence gathering is one of political expedience over privacy or national security. She simply cannot be trusted.
The State Department, Accessed 9/3/13 21 “Grandstanding,” Newsweek, 9/19/08; U.S. State Department, Accessed 8/28/13
KEY FACTS In 2007-2008, Clinton Opposed NSA Surveillance Programs In 2008, Clinton Voted Against Legislation Which Authorized The NSA’s Surveillance Programs Clinton Voted Against Reauthorizing And Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (H.R.
6304, Roll Call Vote #168: Passed 69-28, 7/9/08, Clinton Voted Nay)
Clinton Voted Against The Protect America Act. (S. 1927, Roll Call Vote #309: Passed 60-28: R 43-0; D 16-27; I 1-1,
8/3/07, Clinton Voted Nay)
In July 2008, Clinton Voted Against A Bill That “Would Allow For Retroactive Liability Immunity For Telecommunications Companies That Have Participated In The National Security Agency's Warrantless Surveillance Program.” (H.R. 6304, CQ Vote #168: Passed 69-28: R 47-0; D 2127; I 1-1, 7/9/08, Clinton Voted Nay)
Since 2008, Clinton Emerged As An Influential Advisor Clinton Was An Influential Player In Obama’s National Security Team Early On, Clinton “Emerged As An Influential Voice” In Policy Debates On The Middle East. “She and President Obama have developed a respectful rapport, several officials said, and she has emerged as an influential voice in the great policy debates of the day, notably Afghanistan and Pakistan.” (Mark Landler, “Her Rival Now Her Boss, Clinton Settles Into New Role,” The New York Times, 5/1/09) Clinton And Obama “Proved A More Compatible Team Than Either Might Have Imagined When Mrs. Clinton First Accepted His Invitation To Join The Cabinet.” (Peter
Baker, “For Obama And Clinton, Their Final Tour In Asia As Partners,” The New York Times, 11/20/12)
Clinton Enjoyed Tremendous Access To The President And White House Clinton “Has No Shortage Of Access” To Obama Including A Regular Weekly Meeting And Several Meetings A Week In The White House. “At home, Mrs. Clinton has no shortage of access to Mr. Obama. In addition to their regular weekly meeting on Thursday afternoons, aides say, she sees him several times a week at the White House.” (Mark Landler, “Lower Profile For Clinton, But Her Influence Rises,”
The New York Times, 4/1/09)
Clinton “Spends Significant Periods Of Time At The White House” And Is “Among The Most Of Any Of Obama's Cabinet Members Noted On His Public Schedule.” (Jeff Mason,
“Clinton's Influence In Team Obama: A Nuanced Role,” Reuters, 10/24/09)
Reports Indicate Clinton Was Aware Of Size And Scope Of NSA Surveillance In 2012, While Clinton Was Still Secretary Of State, The NSA Was Spying On Diplomats At The United Nations, Dramatically Increasing Its Data “Documents It Obtained From American Leaker Edward Snowden Show The NSA Decoded The System At The U.N.'S Headquarters In New York Last Summer.” (“German
Magazine: NSA Spied On United Nations,” The Associated Press, 8/25/13)
The Spying “Dramatically Increased The Data From Video Phone Conferences And The Ability To Decode The Data Traffic.” “Quoting leaked NSA documents, the article said the decryption ‘dramatically increased the data from video phone conferences and the ability to decode the data traffic.’” (“German Magazine: NSA Spied On United Nations,” The Associated Press, 8/25/13)
As Secretary Of State, Clinton Likely Received The President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing Traditionally, The Secretary Of State Is Given A Copy Of The Daily Presidential Briefing. “The document is handed to President Bush in the Oval Office around 8 a.m. each day by a C.I.A. briefer and the agency's director, George J. Tenet. Usually three other people are present: Vice President Dick Cheney; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff. The three get their own copies of the briefing, as do Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.” (Elisabeth Bumiller, “Black And White And Read By Precious
Few,” The New York Times, 11/10/13)
The State Department’s Bureau Of Intelligence And Research Focuses Enhancing U.S. Diplomacy And National Security By Analyzing Intelligence From All Source The State Department’s Bureau Of Intelligence And Research Mission Is To Enhance U.S. Diplomacy And National Security Through “All-Source Intelligence.” “INR’s primary mission is to harness intelligence to serve U.S. diplomacy. Drawing on all-source intelligence, INR provides value-added independent analysis of events to U.S. State Department policymakers; ensures that intelligence activities support foreign policy and national security purposes; and serves as the focal point in the State Department for ensuring policy review of sensitive counterintelligence and law enforcement activities around the world.” (U.S. State Department, Accessed 8/30/13) “The Bureau Of Intelligence And Research Is A Member Of The U.S. Intelligence Community.” (U.S. State Department, Accessed 8/30/13)
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