In August 2014, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton received an email from her current campaign chairman, John Podesta, urging her to be more cautious about what she said in an unsecured email conversation, according to new information published by WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks released an email conversation that began with Clinton citing “Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region” as she presented Podesta, who was then counselor to President Obama, with an analysis of the strategic and tactical policy options ahead for America in the Middle East.
During her assessment, she noted at one point, “A source in Tripoli stated in confidence that when the U.S. Embassy was evacuated, the presence of two U.S. Navy jet fighters over the city brought all fighting to a halt for several hours, as Islamist forces were not certain that these aircraft would not also provide close ground support for moderate government forces.”
Podesta replied to her email by agreeing with Clinton in the comments she made about Iraq, but describing Syria as “vexing.”
Clinton then asked Podesta if he had “any idea whose fighters attacked Islamist positions in Tripoli, Libya,” which was “worth analyzing for future purposes.”
“There may be opportunities as the Iraqi piece improves,” Clinton wrote.
At that point, Podesta apparently became uncomfortable.
“Yes and interesting but not for this channel,” he warned.
Podesta himself had been warned in 2008 about using unsecured servers in a conversation that began when Denis McDonough, Obama’s first chief of staff, emailed his concerns about “a sensitive doc bumping around on public email addresses.”
“There is a very real threat to the security of our documents,” he told fellow transition team member Daniel Tarullo on Nov. 3, 2008.
Tarullo then added Podesta, also working for Obama’s transition team, to the email chain, and McDonough warned Podesta directly, “I know I’m like a broken record on this, but I think we should arrange a briefing on the cyber threat for all associated with your effort. We have a real security threat on our stuff here.”
Tarullo was a bit surprised at the fuss.
“I had never heard anything like this from either the campaign or the pre-transition effort and, in fact, have been receiving things of equal or greater sensitivity for some time from both sources,” he emailed back to McDonough.
McDonough then kicked his concerns to Podesta.
The FBI last week announced it was reviewing new evidence in its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
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