Did Clinton’s Emails Expose CIA Agents?

Even as Hillary Clinton closes in on the Democratic nomination, facts continue to emerge indicating that her sloppy email practices may have endangered secrets, including the identities of covert operatives, writes Peter Van Buren.

By Peter Van Buren

These are facts. You can look at the source documents yourself. This is not opinion, conjecture, or rumor. Hillary Clinton transmitted the names of American intelligence officials via her unclassified email.

From a series of Clinton emails, numerous names were redacted in the State Department releases with the classification code “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” a highly specialized classification that means the information, if released, would violate the Central Intelligence Act of 1949 by exposing the names of CIA officials.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Freedom of information Act (FOIA) requires the government to release all, or all parts of a document, that do not fall under a specific set of allowed exemptions. If information cannot be excluded, it must be released. If some part of a document can be redacted to allow the rest of the document to be released, then that is what must be done. Each redaction must be justified by citing a specific reason for exclusion.

But don’t believe me. Instead, look at page two of this State Department document which lists the exemptions.

Note specifically the different types of “(b)(3)” redactions, including “CIA PERS/ORG.” As common sense would dictate, the government will not release the names of CIA employees via the FOIA process. It would — literally — be against the law. What law? Depending on the nature of the individual’s job at CIA, National Security Act of 1947, the CIA Act of 1949, various laws that govern undercover/clandestine CIA officers and, potentially, the Espionage Act of 1917.

Yet Hillary’s emails contain at least three separate, specific instances where she mentioned in an unclassified email transmitted across the open Internet and wirelessly to her Blackberry the names of CIA personnel. Here they are. Look for the term “(b)(3) CIA PERS/ORG” Click on the links and see for yourself: CIA One; CIA Two; CIA Three

There are also numerous instances of exposure of the names and/or email addresses of NSA employees (“B3 NSA”); see page 23 inside this longer PDF document.

Why It Matters

— These redactions point directly to violations of specific laws. It is not a “mistake” or minor rule-breaking.

— These redactions strongly suggest that the Espionage Act’s standard of mishandling national defense information through “gross negligence” may have been met by Clinton.

— There is no ambiguity in this information, no possible claims to faux-retroactive classification, not knowing, information not being labeled, etc. Clinton and her staff know that one cannot mention CIA names in open communications. It is one of the most basic tenets taught and exercised inside the government. One protects one’s colleagues.

— Exposing these names can directly endanger the lives of the officials. It can endanger the lives of the foreigners they interacted with after a foreign government learns one of their citizens was talking with the CIA. It can blow covers and ruin sensitive clandestine operations. It can reveal to anyone listening in on this unclassified communication sources and methods. Here is a specific example of how Clinton likely compromised security.

— These redactions show complete contempt on Clinton’s part for the security process.

BONUS: There is clear precedent for others going to jail for exposing CIA names. Read the story of John Kiriakou. A Personal Aside: I just remain incredulous about these revelations seeming to mean nothing to the world. They’re treated in the media as almost gossip.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His second book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. Next up is a novel about WWII Japan, Hooper’s War. He writes about current events at www.wemeantwell.comand on Twitter @wemeantwell. [This article previously appeared at http://latest.com/2016/06/hillary-clinton-emailed-names-of-u-s-intelligence-officials-unclassified/]

31 comments for “Did Clinton’s Emails Expose CIA Agents?

  1. Orlando
    June 8, 2016 at 17:59

    Interesting theory. However there is more needed than just the presence of these redacted names. For example the Espionage Act applies to National Defense preparations. That means military bases, designs of weapons etc. Just because something is classified doesn’t mean the Espionage Act applies. This was hashed out in the courts in Gorin v. United States, 312 U.S. 19 (1941). If these people were involved in national defense prep yes it could apply.

    Another thing is that every section of the Espionage Act except (f)(1) requires WILLFUL action. And (f)(1) you say? There are strong doubts that it is Constitutional. Nobody in the 100 year history of this law has been charged under this section. Seriously doubt that the ex-Secretary of State would be the first.

    Furthermore it is an affirmative defense to this to show that the names of these agents is reported publicly in other sources, news media, government publications yadda yadda yadda.

    This article on Justia goes through these points.

    Reportage on the Espionage Act and implications of bits and pieces has been very sloppy by all concerned. Hopefully these points I made will help a bit.

    Of course that’s just this particular law. Others may apply.

  2. June 6, 2016 at 21:14

    Can you provide a different link for the data other than from breitbart?

  3. Dennis Rice
    June 6, 2016 at 14:34

    Those who would vote for Hillary even if she were indicted are a blinded bunch. All they are looking at is having a woman in the office of the presidency; “It’s her turn.” They want to eat their candy, even if it has been dropped in the sand or on the street.

    They have not noticed her hesitancy during debates to crack down on Wall Street, but rather she hides behind “[Obama took money from Wall Street and he cracked down on them]”, nor is there ever any mention of Bill Clinton’s roll in doing away with Glass-Stengall.


    And the mainstream media has been ‘very careful’ not to mention that little fact in its news reporting, nor to mention anything about it in the debates.

    I am afraid we will be stuck with Hillary – but not on my vote.

  4. Ol' Hippy
    June 6, 2016 at 14:02

    It’s now coming down to brass tacks. The criminal enterprise plutocracy known as the USA is facing a day of reckoning very soon. The ever bloated fake economy is about to crash and burn. The powers can’t borrow itself out of ever expanding govt debt. There has been no talk, at all, on the real issues facing this country. Such as; global warming that’s driving ever greater climatic events, a military that wants ever increasing budgets for advanced expensive weaponry, the buildup of forces in Eastern Europe, and finally the poverty levels at accelerating rates. You know the damn ISSUES!! All we get are childish insults hurled at each other by criminally negligent candidates, if not worse. Solving just one of these or other major problems could actually help matters to mitigate the coming calamity. The choices, such as they are, don’t really give a choice at all, a vote that could actually matter.

  5. Tobin Paz
    June 6, 2016 at 12:54

    Unbelievable, 71% of Democrats think that Hillary should continue to run even if she is indicted:


    • GM
      June 6, 2016 at 18:47

      That would probably be the case for Trump supporters as well, if he were the one under investigation by the Feds, except it would be 99%.

  6. Bill Bodden
    June 6, 2016 at 11:41

    John Deutch got in trouble for having classified information on a laptop in his home, but true to form the Bill Clinton administration made sure he wasn’t prosecuted. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_M._Deutch That’s the way in Washington. If you’re in the loop you are above the law.

  7. Dennis Rice
    June 6, 2016 at 08:41

    Granted Trump is a mess, but is this country and our (crooked) Congress so weak that it cannot survive four years of him?

    Hillary Clinton is planning to be president of this country for eight years. I personally do not think she is emotionally fit for one term.

    Additionally, if the American people ever intend to break the chain of the two party system, it is now or never. It must be either Sanders (hopefully) or Trump.

    Polls have shown that Sanders will beat Trump by a far larger margin than will Hillary Clinton, yet the Democratic National Congress continues to bow down to her. Sanders is not wrong – the fix is in.

    But members of the Democratic National Congress do not read such sites as this one, preferring instead to hid their heads in the sand and get their news from the mainstream media.

    • GM
      June 6, 2016 at 18:45

      I heard Neera Tanden recently use “Jacobin readers” as an attempt at a slur of progressive voters.
      Haha ( raises hand) guilty as charged.

  8. WeAllWin
    June 6, 2016 at 06:37

    Hillary Clinton has committed numerous felonies, this includes illegally storing Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information material and the even higher classified subset Top Secret/Special Access Program material on her unprotected private server, plus ordering backups be made onto other non-USG servers by private businesses with no Top Secret clearances. Hillary Clinton, illegally possessing, storing and copying TS/SCI and TS/SAP outside secure SCIFs and SAPFs. Hillary’s f-d! Hillary Clinton signed ironclad NDAs with the United States Government to PROTECT and SAFEGUARD classified material—marked or unmarked—and was trained in identifying unmarked classified material. Hillary Clinton’s ‘it was unmarked’ excuse is legally irrelevant and means nothing. The punishment for failing to protect and safeguard highly classified material, is prosecution. For the TS/SCI and TS/SAP felonies alone, Hillary Clinton will be indicted. There is no way the government can not indict her. Hillary’s additional server-related crimes, that we know of, include: Violating the Federal Records Act through illegal destruction of work emails which were federal records, in her self-directed 30,000+ “personal” emails purge, of which, 18 U.S.C. § 2071 (b), automatically disqualifies Hillary from holding any public office including POTUS, and, as the article above shows, Hillary sending and forwarding multiple emails with unredacted identities of CIA officers, an extremely serious espionage-level felony. Don’t believe the protestations from Hillary’s spokesperson or her ardent supporters. It’s over. Guaranteed. Hillary Clinton will be indicted.

    • GM
      June 6, 2016 at 18:43

      Given that Obama through proxies at the State Dept is refusing to release FOIAed TPP-related emails until after the election (see David Sirota’s piece today at IBT), it’s abundantly clear that he is planning on abusing his power to block any potential indictments, of which he has already publicly stated that there would be none.

  9. Hugh Beaumont
    June 5, 2016 at 21:45

    I wonder if Ms. Clinton shot someone dead in the street if she’d get arrested.

    • Dennis Rice
      June 6, 2016 at 08:50

      If Hillary Clinton shot someone on the street the report would read, as will the report on her emails, “No criminal intent was found.”

  10. Liebensluge
    June 5, 2016 at 18:24

    Snowden lives in exile for trying to expose NSA unconstitutional surveillance of US citizens and Clinton gets a pass for violating standards of her office and for revealing new of the CIA agents. Who’s the criminal here? Clinton’s arrogance will shine through the campaign as she leads the democrats to an embarrassing loss to Trump. In what should be an easy victory in November, the presumptive coronation of Clinton negates a democratically determined candidate to lead the Democrats party and ensure that victory.
    Thanks Hillary for taking us down further into the cesspool of US politics.

    • Abbybwood
      June 6, 2016 at 00:24

      Here is an excellent quote from Edward Snowden:

      “Break classification rules for the public’s benefit and you could be exiled. Do it for personal benefit and you could be President.’

  11. J'hon Doe II
    June 5, 2016 at 16:54

    J’hon Doe II
    June 5, 2016 at 4:48 pm
    That older Blacks continue to support Ms. Clinton ought to be insulting to millennials. – Those young ones have grown up under rightwing economic policies that are leading into realistic fascism. –
    This military/political economy is driving all americans into a deeper war, war with opponents which possess equal/contrasting weapons of mass destruction. Our nation is locked into Mutually Assured Destruction in their Clash of Civilizations Ideological Vision.

    Is the vote for Ms. Clinton is a vote to continue a warfare economic structure or one that turns on to ‘incorporation’ via political support?

    Are older (successful) Blacks so proud (through higher education) of their achievement they can and will to turn their backs upon the gross many that cannot overcome the structured barriers?

    Is the clash-of-civilizations a welfare program for war-mongers?

    Older minorities have a right to their pride.

    They overcame/achieved an American dream based upon their actualized vision of ‘equality’


    What shall we expect from our US government?

    • J'hon Doe II
      June 5, 2016 at 17:43
    • Bill Bodden
      June 5, 2016 at 19:41

      That older Blacks continue to support Ms. Clinton ought to be insulting to millennials.

      I can’t believe that MLK Jr would support Hillary Clinton or that he would see her support from the Congressional Black Caucus as anything but a betrayal to his cause.

      • GM
        June 6, 2016 at 18:38

        No, and furthermore, as one of America’s most famous self-described democratic socialists, I would further surmise that MLK would seize the very rare opportunity to support the Sanders candidacy.

  12. June 5, 2016 at 15:41

    One can only hope she did expose CIA agents, who are nothing but executioners and war criminals.

  13. Larry
    June 5, 2016 at 15:16

    Whether true only theoretically or literally, you do know this will not help Bernie win the nomination, right? Just making sure you know how your extreme repetitiousness on matters Hillary will help Trump.

    • peon d. rich
      June 5, 2016 at 15:45

      Good for the world if Trump is able to exploit Clinton’s imperial conceit. He may bring the wars back home and let this country fight it out over the direction of the economy and the country rather than using regime change and coercion to extend the neo-liberal, global finance domination of the world. Trump will bring us to the streets to fight fascism, Killary will lull her supporters to enjoy the fruits of empire. Trump’s rhetoric is clearly crazy and may well become the tone of his policies – policies he will face mass insurrection trying to implement. Sadly, the wretched neo-con projects do not get the same resistance in this country but are certainly more vile and destructive. Never Trump obviously, never-ever Schillary once you look past the dynastic facade.

    • Bill Bodden
      June 5, 2016 at 18:17


      It is understandable that you are concerned about Trump becoming president. His flaws are obvious to anyone with a basic sense of decency and humanity making it less imperative to attack him than Hillary. The difference is how many people are blind to aspects of Hillary’s record. (Many of Trump’s supporters are on board his mob because they have the same flaws as their leader.) Let’s just consider a couple of points regarding HRC. Take a look at those presumably ordinary citizens waving placards insinuating that Hillary is working for them. Anyone outside the plutocracy and its allies who believes that blatant piece of deception has to be a fool and advised otherwise if it is possible to penetrate their closed minds.

      Then there is the touting of her “experience” by Hillary and her accomplices. They proffer the titles that came with that part of her history but leave unsaid the disasters that should be a warning to the American people. There are two ways to lie to people. One is you say something that is untrue. The other is you tell part of the story that makes someone or something (a used car, for example) look good at the same time you deliberately withhold information about that person or object’s defects.

      What we can presume with confidence is that a Clinton or Trump presidency will be a disaster for this nation and any other that is part of its corrupt empire. The only thing we can’t tell with complete confidence is which of the two is the lesser evil. To that end the sins of both must be exposed. Trump does a good job exposing his own ominous defects. Hillary is more deceitful and needs other voices to give the people fair warning.

      • Abbybwood
        June 6, 2016 at 00:20

        A writer at “Current Affairs” magazine agrees with you. He says, “The Democrats Are Making A Suicidal Mistake”:


        If the arrogant DNC “Superdelegates” insist on nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton, EVEN IF SHE IS INDICTED!?, let them.

        Sanders supporters will NEVER vote for her.

        And as much as they will want to blame Sanders for Clinton’s loss to Trump in November, it will be an impossible thing to do, as so many thousands of loyal progressives tried as hard as they could to get the “Superdelegates” to choose Sanders.

        Time. Will. Tell.

        • GM
          June 6, 2016 at 18:48

          Thx for the link. Good analysis.

    • John Luhman
      June 6, 2016 at 08:35

      Nominating a mass-murderer facing indictments on multiple accounts will help Trump. The DNC should remember that to do this is their choice, and only their choice. If the DNC wants to have a President Trump, they will nominate Killary. They cannot honestly blame their choice in this matter on anyone but themselves.

      It is the job of independent media to report the facts. It is not their job to overlook facts that are inconvenient for Wall Street’s Chosen One.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      June 6, 2016 at 11:10

      Peter: an excellent article. You are adding to the weight of the straw that will do its work. I especially liked this summation point: “There is no ambiguity in this information, no possible claims to faux-retroactive classification, not knowing, information not being labeled, etc. Clinton and her staff know that one cannot mention CIA names in open communications. It is one of the most basic tenets taught and exercised inside the government. One protects one’s colleagues.” So… Hillary or her campaign staff cannot do the usual “lie” to sidestep proven guilt.

      To John Puma: these exposures were not for political reasons and cannot be legally vindicated.

      To Larry: this article, and other such “outings” of Hillary, undermine the credibility of Hillary as a candidate for POTUS. You say this will only help Trump. But IF THIS TRUTH-TELLING MAKES TRUMP LIKELY TO WIN IN AN ELECTION AGAINST CLINTON, then the superdelegates will have to face the fact that Hillary will bring the Democrats down in the election… and the only unifying candidate who can do the job will be Bernie. Many Bernie supporters, myself included, will never ever vote for Clinton and might not even vote for Biden. This article is one more step to insuring that Clinton will not run.

  14. Daniel
    June 5, 2016 at 15:13

    These facts won’t matter until or unless they can be mined for revenge against Hillary by someone within her circle with an axe to grind. In other words, unless evidence of lawbreaking can be used by one insider to gain favor over another, it will not be treated with any relevance by the gatekeepers of power, the corporate media. The story won’t be taken seriously unless there is some angle of infighting attached, as that is the only story they are willing to tell any more.
    We live in an era of lawlessness which I fear can never again be curtailed or reversed. Hillary know this well, as do all in her elite circles. They couldn’t care less about the documenting of their every crime by this or any site, because they will never be held accountable. Laws are for the little people.

    • June 7, 2016 at 07:09

      Bernie is very precise about everything he wants to accomplish. He’s super intelligent, has integrity, and also the foresight and fortitude to be a LEADER! His policies are for 95% of the American people- the only ones who should be against him are the upper 5%?. It’s a crying shame the American electorate fail to seize the day! They may never get another opportunity for real change post Hillary. I can assure you, the world after Clinton will not look like the world before Bushes! Some important things have been bent, many of them broken. The damage she will cause will make Robert Frost’s birches look like a few bent twigs.

      Hopefully, the powerful truth of what professor Petras writes will resonate with reason of ordinary Americans out there, if not with the political class. Electing a Foreign Spy for President?


  15. John Puma
    June 5, 2016 at 15:06

    Come now Kiriakou WAS CIA.

    The Bush-Cheney reign of terror set the precedent of obligation/expectation of “the highest levels of US government” with regard to protection of CIA agents. The outcome: there is NO obligation to protect and agents may be outed by high level officials for political purposes without consequence to those officials.

    Nice effort re Clinton but try again harder. You can be sure SHE didn’t miss this!

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