July 14, 2016

It’s a ‘Bigot List’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:33 am

Clinton 100OpacityFox News is hyperventilating over what it calls a ‘gag order’ on the FBI agents involved in the Clinton email server investigation.  Some of the FBI employees involved in the investigation were required to sign a ‘Case Briefing Acknowledgement’ form, essentially a non-disclosure form.

This is, in fact, a practice dating back at least to World War II when it was little more than a list of persons who had been granted access to special compartments of extremely sensitive information.  It was first referred to as a ‘Bigot List’.  ‘Bigot’ was reportedly the codeword used to identify one particular compartment.  It has come to refer more broadly to a counterintelligence tool to simply keep track of who had authorized access to particularly sensitive national security information.

In his letter of July 6, 2016, to FBI Director James Comey,  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley suggests the requirement for FBI employees to sign the acknowledgement form was done to thwart statutorily-permitted whistleblowing to Congress.  No, Chuck, it was intended to protect very sensitive national security information from unauthorized disclosure.   It was intended to remind those given access of their duty to protect that information.  Almost anyone who has been ‘read on’ for authorized access to certain types of sensitive compartmented information has signed a similar form.   That, by the way, almost certainly includes Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State.

It is no surprise that some FBI employees were required to sign the acknowledgement.  For us on the outside who care to pay attention, it may partially reveal the reasons the FBI Director recommended to the Attorney General that Clinton not be prosecuted criminally for the various criminal violations that may have been associated with her private email server.

In its investigation of Clinton’s private email server, the FBI is between the dog and the fire hydrant.  It has two distinct roles:  criminal investigation and foreign counterintelligence.  Of the two, the latter affects our national security; the former affects Clinton’s liberty.

On criminal charges relating to the compromise of national security information, it would be horrendously challenging to secure a meaningful criminal conviction of Hillary Clinton without risking further compromise of our national security, including our ability to investigate and counteract future threats against it.

On the other hand,  removing the foreign counterintelligence violations by declining to prosecute them does not automatically preclude using evidence of non-national security crimes (e.g., perjury, bribery, lying to Congress, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, racketeering, wire and mail frauds, etc.) uncovered in the server investigation from being used in subsequent federal criminal prosecutions.  It would, however, make it more difficult for Hillary Clinton and her defense lawyers to use ‘graymail’ to impede her prosecution on federal crimes not requiring sensitive national security information or procedures as evidence.

Hillary Clinton’s continued access to national security information represents an exceptionally grave threat to the national security of the United States.  The threat it poses is in her utter indifference to her responsibilities to safeguard national security information entrusted to her.  It appears she considers national security information to be little more than another token to be exchanged to further her own attainment of political power and personal wealth.     President Obama who nominated her to be his Secretary of State and the 94 US Senators who for their own political purposes voted to confirm her share the responsibility for the damage she has done to the national security.

While many people want the satisfaction of seeing Hillary Clinton indicted, convicted, and imprisoned, the real power to forever prevent her from being able to continue further harm to the national security rests with the voters in November.  The voters can peacefully and lawfully deny her the presidency.  I’d argue that would also be a far more fitting and beneficial punishment for the harm she has done to the national security.


  1. Criminal, she should be in jail. I am sure that many of the people that signed that paper dont sleep very well

    Comment by Sharon Culbreth — July 14, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

  2. Sharon,

    Maybe she, Bill, and Chelsea will be charged, tried, and convicted on some criminal charges related to the Foundation. Or maybe Hillary Clinton alone will be charged, tried, and convicted on lying to Congress. But these are straight criminal charges that would be uncomplicated by graymail. When the Attorney General declined to charge her based on the FBI’s recommendation, AG Lynch partitioned off the national security information that would have benefitted Hillary Clinton’s defense.

    Even if the AG had decided to charge her, it is very likely that she would have been more than half way through her first term as President before her case ever came to trial. And unlike the Republican and Democrat members of Congress who went together to Nixon and told him to resign or be impeached by the House and tried by the Senate, I don’t believe either the Democrats or Republicans in our present Congress have the moral courage to deliver that message to Hillary Clinton.

    Comey has given the voters enough to convict her in the court of public opinion by not electing her. The voters have the power of both judge and jury at the ballot box. If the voters are too stupid to not reject Hillary Clinton because she represents a grave threat to the national security, then we have only ourselves to blame for the consequences of her presidency.

    Comment by Bill — July 14, 2016 @ 2:46 pm

  3. I really liked this post, it highlights reasons why we are not charging Hillary, however the trade off is even scarier, especially if the people do not ‘get it.’ I fear that staunch Democrats and weak minds will refuse to see the truth and folks will just carry on and vote her in … or the fix really is in, so this “graymail” stuff does not threaten us even more. We will give her what she wants. Votes get fixed, that is a fact. This “graymail”was an entirely new term that shed a new light on my perspective concerning the FBI and Lynch’s behavior. We were also watching FOX news as well about the “gag order” and it is news to me at least, that this has been a standard policy to sign this kind of paperwork. Thus, this counter intelligence “case briefing form” is really akin to a double agent James Bond movie, so to speak. In other words, I had no idea and it does not sit well with me that there are so many “secrets’ out there and the media is obviously spoon feeding us because the real issue is more than they want us to know. If it is that bad and the people elect Hillary, I guess we can really watch her but I am not sure it is worth the chance so, I side with transparency … lay it all out on the table and we will take what is coming to us. You cannot barter with a terrorist and if in fact Crooked Hillary is using “graymail” as her weapon, there is no negotiation. The people cannot be blamed if she is elected because we have a corrupt government.

    Comment by Stebbijo — July 14, 2016 @ 5:21 pm

  4. Stebbijo,

    Thank you.

    What I offered is one plausible reason for the DoJ’s decision to not charge her, but it’s not the only one. The key is that we have not seen the collated evidence gathered and analyzed by the FBI. Without that, my speculation is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, including the skews media’s.

    That the FBI employees were required to sign the Case Briefing Acknowledgement does emphasize the gravity of both the investigation and the information uncovered by it. That, in turn, emphasizes the damage that Clinton’s careless and illegal use of the private server may have done to the national security.

    To give a purely hypothetical example of what a hostile intelligence service might desperately want to know, consider the comment made by Director Comey or others in a position to know that the FBI found no evidence of foreign hacking into Hillary’s private email server. That sounds plausible, but what if it was untrue? If whoever spoke those words was credible in the eyes of a hostile intelligence service had instead been fully transparent and truthful and said that there was evidence of foreign intel intrusion, what would that tell the adversary? One of the fundamental and important functions of counterintelligence is to avoid revealing information to your adversary. Revealing that the FBI had in fact determined that such-and-such a government had successfully hacked into Clinton’s server would give the adversary insight into our capabilities and would likely cause them to upgrade their’s. In terms of technological espionage, adversaries tend to use the lowest level of successful technology. When that level is discovered, they/we upgrade.

    The gravity of the threat posed by Clinton’s private email server is increased because of who she was — the Secretary of State. The value of every detail of her and her family’s lives, including her yoga and Chelsea’s wedding, Hillary’s personal health, her personal fears and foibles, etc., is magnified because of her position. That stuff would not likely have been classified (her specific medical and psychological details would, however), but in the aggregate it can have a significant effect on how other governments interact with her in negotiations.

    On the other hand, saying there was no evidence of penetration neither fully confirms nor denies the adversary’s concerns. In other words, keep the enemy guessing about what we can and can’t do to counter him.

    If we have a corrupt government and take no action to root out and destroy the corruption, we become complicit in the corruption. That’s true from the lowest levels of government up through the White House and Capitol Hill in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac.

    Comment by Bill — July 14, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

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