Will Hillary’s Emails Also Burn the White House Too?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel,Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her arrival at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel,Pool)

Counterintelligence specialists suspect that the former Secretary of State wasn’t the only member of the Obama administration emailing secrets around.

Hillary Clinton’s email problems are already causing headaches for her presidential campaign. But within American counterintelligence circles, there’s a mounting sense that the former Secretary of State may not be the only Obama administration official in trouble. This is a scandal that has the potential to spread to the White House, as well.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation can be expected to be tight-lipped, especially because this highly sensitive case is being handled by counterintelligence experts from Bureau headquarters a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, not by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. That will ensure this investigation gets the needed “big picture” view, since even senior FBI agents at any given field office may only have a partial look at complex counterintelligence cases.

And this most certainly is a counterintelligence matter. There’s a widely held belief among American counterspies that foreign intelligence agencies had to be reading the emails on Hillary’s private server, particularly since it was wholly unencrypted for months. “I’d fire my staff if they weren’t getting all this,” explained one veteran Department of Defense counterintelligence official, adding: “I’d hate to be the guy in Moscow or Beijing right now who had to explain why they didn’t have all of Hillary’s email.” Given the widespread hacking that has plagued the State Department, the Pentagon, and even the White House during Obama’s presidency, senior counterintelligence officials are assuming the worst about what the Russians and Chinese know.

EmailGate has barely touched the White House directly, although it’s clear that some senior administration officials beyond the State Department were aware of Hillary’s unorthodox email and server habits, given how widely some of the emails from Clinton and her staff were forwarded around the Beltway. Obama’s inner circle may not be off-limits to the FBI for long, however, particularly since the slipshod security practices of certain senior White House officials have been a topic of discussion in the Intelligence Community for years.

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