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Emails Show NSA Rejected Hillary Clinton's Request For Secure Smartphone (cbsnews.com) 229

An anonymous reader writes from an article on CBSNews: Newly released emails show a 2009 request to issue a secure government smartphone to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was denied by the National Security Agency. Clinton's desire for a secure "BlackBerry-like" device, like the one provided to President Barack Obama, is recounted in a series of February 2009 exchanges between high-level officials at the State Department and NSA. Clinton was sworn in as secretary the prior month, and had become "hooked" on reading and answering emails on a BlackBerry she used during the 2008 presidential race. "We began examining options for (Secretary Clinton) with respect to secure 'BlackBerry-like' communications," wrote Donald R. Reid, the department's assistant director for security infrastructure. "The current state of the art is not too user friendly, has no infrastructure, and is very expensive." Reid wrote that each time they asked the NSA what solution they had worked up to provide a mobile device to Obama, "we were politely told to shut up and color."
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Emails Show NSA Rejected Hillary Clinton's Request For Secure Smartphone

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  • Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @08:45PM (#51719345)

    Few people know this, but Hillary Clinton is the final boss of the Democratic party. Also called the Queen of Corruption, she is currently a level 100 Democrat. All level 100 Democrats have the the Corrupt Soul ability, which allows them to corrupt anybody 10 levels below them. If you want proof of this, Obama was a level 90 Democrat when he was elected. He's currently level 100, but because Hillary is a raid boss, her stats count as 3 levels above him, thus making her the final boss.

    Bernie of course stands no chance against her, because he's only a level 34 Democrat with quest greens. Hillary's ass is so big, she can literally one shot him.

    • Hillary's ass is so big, she can literally one shot him.

      OMG, almost pissed myself.

    • Re:Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:24PM (#51719499)

      Ah, to be 14 again. Sigh.

    • This is what happens when RPG players learn about politics.
    • Re:Yep. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @11:34PM (#51720015)

      Leeeeeerooooy Jeeeeeenkins... for President!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2016 @08:47PM (#51719351)

    If you ask me. She was going out of her way to do the right thing and getting cockblocked by our friends at NSA. I have to wonder in light of these revelations, whether perhaps Obama's phone is not susceptible to NSA tampering/eavesdropping after all, and they would absolutely not give such a thing to someone else.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2016 @08:56PM (#51719405)

      Of course it does.

      Any time someone in IT thwarts your desires, you should immediately expose information that could get people in other countries killed.

      And you absolutely be given a free pass for that, because reasons.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:05PM (#51719441)

      The facts behind this news item actually explains very little, other than she wanted a Blackberry-type device. If (as seems likely) she intended to use a Blackberry to read email from her personally run server - how does that change anything?

      ThIs smells like a bizarre attempt at trying to somehow spin her request for a Blackberry-type device into "hey we tried to get Hillary a secure email solution and got turned down, so the personal server thing shouldn't be an issue".

      • by Ken Hansen ( 3612047 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:29PM (#51719525)

        ThIs smells like a bizarre attempt at trying to somehow spin her request for a Blackberry-type device into "hey we tried to get Hillary a secure email solution and got turned down, so the personal server thing shouldn't be an issue".

        Exactly. What I see is the NSA telling Hillary that what passes as a 'secure' blackberry-type solution was in fact a very custom, labor-intensive, manual process that was deemed too expensive/hard to offer to anyone other than POTUS. Let's not forget the timeline: 1) confirmed as Secretary of State 2) hired consultant to establish private server 3) never asks for gov't email account 4) starts working as Secretary of State 5) requests Presidential-level secure device 6) request denied 7) goes rest of her career at State using private email server, keeping all emails private & out of reach for FOIA requests 8) a year after leaving state, amid public outcry, turns over 55,000 pages of printed (on paper) emails 9) declares herself most transparent Secretary of State...

        • by Falconhell ( 1289630 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:49PM (#51719639) Journal

          Perhaps then you can link to the 55k emails released by other Secretary of state office holders? The ones who were more transparent?
          Just because you dream up a fantasy from right wing bizzaro world.

          • by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Friday March 18, 2016 @01:20AM (#51720383)

            The other Secretaries of State didn't need to release emails because the State Department already had them.

            She was trying to escape FOIA requests and got caught with other crap as well. She was also skirting federal records keeping laws.

            What other Secretary of State kept their own personal email server and then, only after being ordered to do so, decided which emails were actually government records that she should then return to the agency for which she was employed.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Funny how it's OK for Palin but not Hillary.
          However I think we are being distracted by trivialities.
          The Manning leak exposed a pile of things that were far worse than this.
          • by DaHat ( 247651 )

            How many classified emails were found in Palin's personal inbox again?

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          It doesn't seem like it's such a big deal to run SRTP on a phone and mix in some other crypto goodness. They (the NSA) presented the design in public in 2012.

      • This article is wrong. She requested to be allowed to use her own blackberry as well as her aides in SCIF facilities. As far as I can tell she never requested a secure bb.

      • Well there's an unanswered question in all of this. How did classified information get from SCIF to hrc's email server? She requested secure blackberries for herself and her staff and was denied. Hrc doesn't like being denied. It doesn't take a leap of the imagination to suppose that she and her staff brought their personal bb's into SCIF and used them to take pictures of classified info on SCIF displays, or copied classified info right off the screen.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why the shit would you need an NSA-modded Blackberry to connect to a personal server? Nothing on State Department email is supposed to be classified, period. The small number of questionable emails turned up are exactly what you'd expect in that volume of communications--the presence of those communications on email would not be permitted EVEN IF it had been an official state.gov account.

        In order for the conspiracy claims to hold any water, you have to string so many conditions together that it just doesn

    • Quite the opposite (Score:3, Informative)

      by Albinoman ( 584294 )
      It seems more like this would indicate that she knew full well she was dealing with sensitive information that she knew had to pass through a secured device. So, ignoring the law, she sent that sensitive information through a server that she knew she shouldn't. We know she knew she shouldn't because she told her own staff they couldn't do the same.
    • Nonsense, if anything this demonstrates that she's willing to do whatever she has to do, to get what she wants.
    • If you ask me. She was going out of her way to do the right thing and getting cockblocked by our friends at NSA

      Absolutely. If you ask for something and you don't get it for any reason, then you are completely justified in risking the national security by setting up your own insecure email sever, using your own insecure mobile device, and even putting classified information on thumb drives and giving them to people without security clearance. Everything she did is the NSA's fault. Hell, the NSA must have

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Back in Nixon's time the joint chiefs of staff had a spy in his office so it's not unexpected that the toy soldiers in the NSA would be up to similar games with Obama.
  • The only way I could vote for Bill's wife is if she is opposed by a candidate one lab accident away from a supervillain... [gizmodo.com]
  • Totally justified (Score:5, Informative)

    by 31415926535897 ( 702314 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @08:52PM (#51719385) Journal

    Ah yes, when you can't get your own way and get what you want, that totally makes it okay to break the law.

    That's why a police officer who can't get his confession can keep bashing the suspect's head in.

    That's why politicians can sell votes.

    Following the law is for chumps who have no leadership potential.

    • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @08:57PM (#51719413) Homepage
      I see you are finally starting to understand how it really works.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arthurh3535 ( 447288 )

      Ah yes, when you can't get your own way and get what you want, that totally makes it okay to break the law.

      That's why a police officer who can't get his confession can keep bashing the suspect's head in.

      That's why politicians can sell votes.

      Following the law is for chumps who have no leadership potential.

      You missed the point. She tried to play by the US security apparatuses rules and basically got told to go away, so she did what many people do when your IT department is being stupid and figured out a way to do what she needed so she could do her job.

      • by colin_faber ( 1083673 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @10:46PM (#51719847)
        No... She was told "No, you can't have a secure blackberry, Your boss (The President) won't authorize it" so she ``conspired'' with others to break the law to get what she wanted.
      • Do not attempt to convince us that it's okay for her to break the law because she could not get what she _WANTED_. I really hope that you and the people up modding you are sock puppets and not really that foolish.

  • Bitch, get your own fucking phone.

    Alright, probably not but I can pretend...

  • by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:27PM (#51719507) Journal
    Isn't it a little weird how they demanded a secure smartphone for President Obama when he took office, and he got it. And then Apple made one even more secure that even the government can't hack, and they raise hell? Kind of a double standard there, eh?
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      We don't really know what the NSA can or can't do, just that the FBI can't do it on their own.

      I would also guess maybe the FBI didn't ask for help (or say "pretty please with sugar on top") on purpose because they wanted to leverage it into their PR campaign for unlimited surveillance.

      Given that part of the FBI's mandate is domestic counterintelligence, if there was some kind of real threat to national security, they wouldn't be running a PR campaign and the NSA would be asking if they wanted the data on US

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        Ummmm....just that the FBI *claims* they can't do it on their own. They may be telling the truth, but that's not the only possibility.

    • No double standards that I can see considering the device issued to Obama no doubt came with back doors for the NSA, the FBI, and maybe some others built in already. That's exactly what they want Apple to provide for them as well.

  • Two of Three (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:28PM (#51719513)
    So the only two options were (1) get a secure phone from the NSA, (2) cowboy? There was no (3) don't read government mail on a mobile device?
    • Considering the job I can imagine that (3) is not an option to them.

    • From my sporadic reading it seems to go like this:
      1 - The request was made, NSA determined that she didn't need one... so was told to pound sand
      2 - Of course, this was what was done. That classic tradeoff between security and convenience.
      3 - Is what the law says... but we have someone that is old enough to remember when dirt was young, and is not technologically savvy. It seems that she was just complaining that she got used to a blackberry and couldn't be bothered to A) sit still at a desk and B) learn
  • You can call any other secure mobile phone from your blackberry. But you have the only secure phone in existence. Now he knows how Bell felt.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:42PM (#51719595) Homepage

    This is a sympathetic article designed to sow confusion about this stuff. The article made the true but irrelevant statement that of a recent batch of emails not many were classified and those not Top Secret; it repeated Hillary Clinton's assertion that nothing she sent or received was marked classified, without discussing what is questionable about that assertion; it didn't mention how many Top Secret emails were found, didn't mention the satellite data or the discussion of the names of spies, and didn't mention that about 7% of all the emails were classified at some level. It also didn't mention that the State Department offered a Blackberry and Huma Abedin said that idea "doesn't make a whole lot of sense." But the article did spend several paragraphs talking about how well she is doing in the primaries.

    Problems with Hillary Clinton's claims that no material was marked classified:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/28/1416309/-Hillary-Clinton-s-Felony-The-federal-laws-violated-by-the-private-server [dailykos.com]
    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/02/09/judicial-watch-hillary-e-mailed-classified-info-to-get-printout-without-any-identifiers/ [hotair.com]
    http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/19/politics/hillary-clinton-emails-server-classified-ig-report/ [cnn.com]
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-on-her-private-server-wrote-104-emails-the-government-says-are-classified/2016/03/05/11e2ee06-dbd6-11e5-81ae-7491b9b9e7df_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

    Names of spies discussed in insecure email, lives probably lost:
    http://observer.com/2016/02/breaking-hillary-clinton-put-spies-lives-at-risk/ [observer.com]
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3413033/Hillary-s-emails-contained-classified-information-HUMAN-SPYING-State-Department-says-won-t-meet-deadline-publish-emails.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    Satellite data discussed in emails:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3196774/Hillary-s-emails-contained-secret-CIA-intelligence-satellite-info-panic-hits-Democrats-campaign-issues-4-000-word-explanation-s-innocent.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    7% of emails classified... 2079 out of about 30,000:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/02/new-email-release-brings-final-total-of-classified-clinton-emails-to-2079.php [powerlineblog.com]

    "doesn't make a whole lot of sense":
    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/01/18/state-to-huma-in-2011-your-boss-better-get-an-official-e-mail-account/ [hotair.com]

    P.S. So Hillary Clinton wanted a mobile device that could be used for secure communications, and was told "nope, that's not secure, you can visit the SCIF just like everyone else has to do." So naturally she just used her own insecure server to send and receive classified information, so she could use her mobile device. Great.

    If President Obama doesn't pardon Hillary Clinton, she will have problems fr

    • It only takes one (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      classified document to jail the non-elite.

      I recall an incident upon a ship I served upon where the officer in charge of the radio room went to jail because a single TS document went into the trash instead of the burn bag.

      One. Single. Page.


      I seriously tire of the elites getting a free pass on the laws everyone else is forced to abide by.

  • Clippy, Jr. (Score:4, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @09:58PM (#51719671) Journal

    The best part of this story is that the device the NSA wanted to give Hillary uses Windows CE.

    I am not shitting you.

    http://arstechnica.com/informa... [arstechnica.com]

    Despite $18 million in development contracts for each of the vendors selected to build the competing SME PED phones (or perhaps because of it), the resulting devices were far from user-friendly. The phones—General Dynamics' Sectéra Edge and L3 Communications' Guardian—were not technically "smart phones," but instead were handheld personal digital assistants with phone capability, derived from late 1990s and early 2000s technology that had been hardened for security purposes—specifically, Windows CE technology.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      As a bonus if this huge thing is carried in a handbag it makes an effective club for personal protection.
    • In 2008 Windows CE had 27% of the smartphone marketshare, believe it or not.
      • And who had the rest? Symbian and iOS?

        It's not that hard to believe considering there was nothing decent out there at the time. iOS was pretty much the first purpose built, user friendly smart phone OS out there - and it was pretty new in 2008.

    • The best part of this story is that the device the NSA wanted to give Hillary uses Windows CE.

      I am not shitting you.

      As opposed to what? You'd do well to remember what life was like in 2009. The iPhone was a second gen toy for nerds that would never take off and was laughably late to the 3G party, Android was just released and no one noticed, and the most advanced devices of the time ran Windows CE where the alternative was a toy based on SymbianOS with even less development than the appstore or a device where the most advanced feature was T9 predictive text.

      This is like saying back in 1996 someone tried to sell me a comp

      • As opposed to what?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • I'm still struggling to see what it is you think that makes a specific model of phone magically superior to a generic embedded OS.

          Also I actually had a Blackberry back then. Was thoroughly unimpressed. I remember the bitter sweet feeling of using a device that to me felt not much progress had been made since the R380 was released 7 years earlier.

    • That phone is a very special phone.

      The PDA capabilities were hardened from the phone, and the phone has encrypted voice communications (not GSM crypto... actual crypto). Notice the "trusted display" and the classified and non-classified sides of the phone... even multiple USB ports.

      How *did* she handle secret and top-secret classified information without it?

      http://www.ruggedpcreview.com/3_handhelds_gd_sectera_edge.html [ruggedpcreview.com]

  • Therefore I reject it. / why isn't she rotting in jail instead of running for prez?
    • Soft corruption, resulting in slow walking everything in this investigation. To be honest, I'm very surprised she hasn't been indicted yet.
      • by DaHat ( 247651 )

        There are multiple layers of political appointees who will need to approve such a thing... no doubt that has slowed things down a bit.

  • From the first Stagefright issue.

    I have MMS disabled. I'll never buy another Motorola phone again. I'll never buy another phone from Verizon again.


  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Thursday March 17, 2016 @11:13PM (#51719933) Homepage Journal
    NSA is gonna fry.
  • Well, the person being investigated by the FBI is now finger pointing at the FBI. Her problems are always the fault of someone else. But how do we know it is the NSA this time and not the vast right wing conspiracy?
    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      Sounds rather like the guy whose job she's trying to take at the end of the contract.

      Never is it his fault, it's always the weather, republicans, ATMs, or foreign leaders who don't recognize his greatness.

  • Sidney Poitier- "...they [The NSA] don't want to share with the other children"

  • Why didn't she just get an iPhone? The government has openly admitted that they're so secure that even they can't crack them.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      That was then this is now. Back in 2009 Nokia had better phones than Apple.
    • Why didn't she just get an iPhone? The government has openly admitted that they're so secure that even they can't crack them.

      You really are gullible and naive, aren't you.

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        So it's true what they say - Aspie kids can't recognize sarcasm.
        • Actually, it's just that poor attempts at sarcasm are often indistinguishable from stupidity. Try doing better next time.
  • Maybe you should have done what you were told. Dumb ass.

  • by Trachman ( 3499895 ) on Friday March 18, 2016 @06:01AM (#51721025) Journal

    I have never understood simple aspect of this email scandal: why did the secretary did not use her own official email account?

    Had she used official email account, then you might play ignorance, saying that those techies did not get it right.Getting your own server in the basement of your home immediately transfers all responsibility to ms Secretary.

    I still do not understand, why there is a debate on the issue? 99.9% of us would be disciplined for using personal accounts for work purposes.

    Last attempt to externalize the mistake is just another attempt to rationalize. First there were no private emails, then there were no secret emails, then there were no top secret emails, then there were no attempts to destroy the evidence, now HRC is saying that it is somebody's else fault.

    I understand HRC need for convenience and technological ignorance, but decisions and consequences need to be owned up.

  • I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton by any means, but I find it very disturbing that the NSA apparently outranks the Secretary of State. WTF?

  • So maybe this is not about anything more than intergovernmental agency bullshit politics? The Pres can have one, but the State Dept can't because the NSA don't like them this week? I mean the last 16 years have been a buffet of petty bullshit politics from the enormous hogs at the public tax trough. So it would figure that cooperation between agencies might not be high on the priority list.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents