Nikki Haley Used Insecure Email System To Discuss Classified Information
Lock her up?
A new report from The Daily Beast alleges that former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley used an unsecured email system to discuss classified information during her time in office:
North Korea had just tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska, and the Trump administration was scrambling to react. But it seems Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, had lost her password for classified communications.
That’s why on that fraught July 4, 2017, she was typing away on her BlackBerry 10 smartphone, sending “confidential” information over a system meant only for unclassified material.
Haley was in a rush as she headed to her office—“On my way in”—shooting emails back and forth with top aides who’d been with her since she was governor of South Carolina. She needed to make a statement, and they were drafting it for her. “Let’s clean this up,” she writes after looking at some of the copy. “Pretty this up for me,” she says.
The next day we discover what the problem is with her communications. “Can’t find my password for the high side,” she writes.
The stylistic suggestions and the apparent explanation for using less secure messages was in a trove of emails recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the watchdog organization American Oversight.
But most of the content is blacked out—and the redactions note various classification criteria as exempt from FOIA requests, including the B1 category: “classified national defense and foreign relations information”; 1.4(B) “foreign government information”; and 1.4(D) “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.”
For an administration obsessed with security lapses others have committed, and for a still-rising star in the Republican Party, this could be more than a little embarrassing.
“The American public has heard for years what the standard is for senior State Department officials mishandling classified information in their emails,” says Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight, a self-described “nonpartisan, nonprofit ethics watchdog… investigating the Trump administration.”
“Ambassador Haley may have found it inconvenient to update her password,” Evers told The Daily Beast, “but, as we all know, ‘convenience’ is not an acceptable reason to skirt information security rules. She should be held to the same standard as everyone else.
What Halley did, of course, isn’t all that different from the manner in which Hillary Clinton handled classified information on her private email server while she was Secretary of State. This led, of course, to a rebuke from the Justice Department that characterized Clinton’s handling of classified information as “extremely careless,” although it did not result in the filing of any criminal charges. It’s also the same issue that led crowds at Trump rallies to chant “Lock Her Up!!” at the mere mention of Clinton’s name, something that continues to happen to this day even though the election is three years in the past and Clinton is not a candidate in 2020.
Will we see Haley treated the same way by Republicans?
Does anyone actually want to place a bet on that one?