Marc A. Thiessen | An ominous precedent for Hillary Clinton

<p>Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded Tuesday that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)</p>

Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton likes to point out that she is not the first senior national security official to conduct official business on a home computer system. She’s right about that, but the precedent should not give the Democratic presidential front-runner much comfort.

Former CIA director John Deutch was also found to have stored classified documents — including top-secret intelligence — on computers in his homes in Bethesda and Belmont, Mass., leading to an investigation by the CIA inspector general and a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Deutch was stripped of his security clearance and ended up reaching a plea agreement admitting to his crimes — but was saved by a last-minute pardon from none other than .?.?. President Bill Clinton.

The parallels between the Deutch and Clinton cases suggest that come January 2017, instead of planning her presidential transition, Clinton may find herself lobbying for a last-minute pardon of her own.

On Feb. 18, 2000, the CIA inspector general issued a scathing report in which he found that throughout his tenure as director, Deutch had processed “large volumes of highly classified information” on unprotected home computers. After the computers were seized, he wrote, “a technical exploitation team, consisting of personnel expert in data recovery, retrieved the data from Deutch’s unclassified magnetic media and computers” and found “classified information .?.?. related to covert action, Top Secret communications intelligence and the National Reconnaissance Program budget.”

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