(Cyberwar.news) In what appears to be a direct affront to former Secretary of State and current Democrat presidential contender Hillary Clinton, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that if a rival nation’s foreign minister kept a private email server, it would be a great “opportunity” for U.S. intelligence services.
Rogers, who was named to the top NSA post by President Obama in April 2014, did show some reluctance to identify Clinton personally, but the line of questioning made it obvious whom the senators were referencing. Clinton’s admitted use of a private email server while Secretary of State – an unprecedented violation of State Department and intelligence community rules, and a potential legal problem as well – is under investigation by the FBI, The Blaze reported.
During the hearing last week, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, asked, “If an NSA employee came to you and said, ‘Hey, boss, we have reason to believe that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is conducting official business on a private server,’ how would you respond?”
“From a foreign intelligence perspective, that represents opportunity,” Rogers answered.
However, the NSA director was not eager to discuss details. After Cotton pressed, asking what Rogers’ response would be if a Cabinet member said, “Adm. Rogers, I’d like to set up a private, non-governmental server and use that to conduct official business,” he responded, “You really want to drag me into this one?”
Rogers, who is also the commander of U.S. Cyber Command, then said he would tell that person to “make sure you are complying with the applicable recommendations and structures for your department,” adding he was not familiar with every agency’s guidelines.
Here is the full exchange, as reported by The Blaze:
Cotton: “The NSA is in charge of information assurance operations for the federal government, meaning that the NSA is in charge of ensuring our national security system. Am I correct the NSA from time to time will also help federal agencies protect their own classified systems?”
Rogers: “Yes, when they request assistance.”
Cotton: “I realize this was before your time, but to your knowledge, did the State Department ever ask the NSA about the wisdom of setting up a private server so Secretary Clinton could conduct official State Department business.”
Rogers: “I’m not aware of whether they did or didn’t sir.”
Cotton: “What would be your response if the current secretary of state or another cabinet member came to you and said Adm. Rogers, I’d like to set up a private non-governmental server and use that to conduct official business?”
Rogers: “You really want to drag me into this one?”
Cotton: “I’d simply like your professional opinion.”
Rogers: “My comment would be: You need to make sure you are complying with the applicable recommendations and structures of your department. I’d be the first to admit I’m not smart about what the rules and regulations are for every element across the federal government.”
Cotton: “Are the communications of the senior most advisors to the president of the United States, even those that may be unclassified, a top priority for foreign intelligence service in your opinion?”
Cotton: “If an NSA employee came to you and said, hey boss, we have reason to believe that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is conducting official business on a private server, how would you respond?”
Rogers: “From a foreign intelligence perspective, that represents opportunity.”
Cotton: “Are you aware of any NSA officials who emailed Secretary Clinton at her private account?”
Rogers: “No, I have no knowledge. I apologize.”
Cotton: “Are you aware of any NSA officials who were aware that Secretary Clinton had a private email account and server?”
Rogers: “Now you are talking about something before my time senator. I apologize. I just don’t know the answer.”
Cotton: “Could I ask you to check the records and get back to us in writing please?”
Clinton has said that none of the emails she sent or received on her private server were classified, but government investigations have revealed otherwise. Also, as NationalSecurity.news has reported, intelligence experts have said her breach of security protocols is extremely serious.
Many have said it is very likely that Clinton’s unprotected server was hacked by foreign governments and the classified information in her emails compromised.
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