When the story first broke about an unsecured email server being used by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton almost a year ago, we outlined the probable areas of damage in our article entitled Former Intelligence Officer: The Utter Stupidity of Hillary’s Actions. At that point, we made the specific point that operatives from Al Quaida were certainly reading the emails from her, in fact, it is almost axiomatic.
On September 11, 2012 Ambassador Chris Stevens and others were killed in a terrorist attack on the Consulate in Benghazi. We speculated if Mrs. Clinton had talked about details of the movements of the people on the ground in Benghazi in her unsecure email system, the terrorists would have used this for targeting and may have enabled the terrorist to bring about their attack.
While we do not yet have access to all of her emails, Breitbart has published some excerpts from emails regarding the movements of Christopher Stevens.
This was devastating. Let me explain:
Put yourself in the shoes of a terrorist who is planning an attack. The usual things, weapons, logistics, etc. are already taken care of, since you are operating on home turf. To complete the plan you need information about where the target will be, when and for how long he will be there, and what are his security arrangements. Thanks to Hillary’s emails, you now have access. Make your plan, execute your plan, your targets are dead, all your people are alive and free. Yes, the right intelligence is that valuable.
If Consulate security is run competently, terrorist attacks and/or ambushes are very difficult, because the target (in this case Ambassador Stevens) moves quickly, vulnerabilities are hardened and security assets have the advantage of knowing their methods and where they are going, and the terrorists do not.
The emails provided advanced information on where the Ambassador would be and his plans and intentions. Not only does this provide specific targeting information in the short term, but it also enables the terrorists to watch security arrangements being made before the Ambassador arrives, to study the security preparations and to devise attacks to circumvent them.
Equally important, it allows terrorist surveillance to be more secure. It is a huge advantage for terrorist team to dig in and establish static surveillance before security is in place. Static surveillance (i.e. an observation post so well camouflaged it can’t be detected) ahead of time means security assets arriving on the scene and looking for movement or suspicious activity will not see it.
In short, the information from these emails is the exact information one would need to plan an attack. It provided so much insight into the operations in Benghazi, the terrorists would not have been able to resist the temptation.
In a “denied” environment like Benghazi, the Ambassador’s movements are highly classified for this very reason. The compromise was a devastating failure.
Want to see what information was leaked? It may seem innocuous and was certainly treated so by Secretary Clinton, but again, think of the utility in the eyes of a terrorist.
“The situation in Ajdabiyah has worsened to the point where Stevens is considering departure from Benghazi. The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout (paying the hotel bills, moving some comms to the boat, etc). He will monitor the situation to see if it deteriorates further, but no decision has been made on departure. He will wait 2-3 more hours, then revisit the decision on departure.
“The current game plan is for Mr. Stevens to move no later than Wednesday from Malta to Benghazi. He will stage offshore initially for a one day visit during which he will have meetings with TNC interlocutors and get a sense of the situation on the ground. The goal of this one day trip is for him to lay the groundwork for a stay of up to 30 days”
An April 8, 2011 email was forwarded to Clinton revealing the “security situation in Benghazi remains quiet. Chris Stevens & team are in the hotel, moving only for meetings as required.”
An April 22, 2011 email revealed Stevens was on the road: “I want to let you know about a temporary rotation in Benghazi. TNC Envoy Chris Stevens has been on the road since March 13, when he began his outreach mission, and has been in Benghazi since April 5.”
An April 24, 2011 email has the exact time of a Stevens meeting: “”Stevens will be meeting with MFA in one hour and will make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination. He still feels comfortable in the hotel. They are looking into the idea of moving into a villa, but that is some way off.”
Author’s note: As mentioned in last year’s article, the writer is a former intelligence officer with many years supporting counterterrorist operations.