By: Maj Ed Coet, USA (Ret)
My name is Ed Coet. I am a retired US Army Intelligence Officer. In my last job in the army I was the Chief of the Human Intelligence Branch for the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. In that capacity I was also the Designated Program Manager for a Special Access Program (SAP) like the SAP that Hillary Clinton is alleged to have compromised in the most recent State Department Inspector General report to congress and which has been widely reported in the news. Here is what I personally know about SAP’s and what I can attest to in an unclassified forum:
1. The names of each SAP are themselves classified Top Secret because the information within the SAP are far and above Top Secret.
2. SAP’s are so sensitive that even people who have security clearances giving them access to Top Secret Sensitive Compartment Information (TS SCI), an enormously high security clearance level, cannot have accesses to a SAP’s unless they receive a special indoctrination into the SAP based on an operational “must know” that exceeds all other “need to know” standards.
3. Being “read on” for a SAP is far more then acknowledging in writing that you have been briefed on the SAP. It is an in-depth “indoctrination” into the given SAP, and each SAP is itself compartmented separately from other SAPS. Having access to one SAP does not give you access to another SAP, and in fact rarely does. Only a tiny handful of people have knowledge of all SAP’s. SAP’s are the most stringently compartmented and protected information in the entire US government.
4. Unlike Top Secret SCI which is maintained in highly secure Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilitates (SCIF’s) managed by specially trained Special Security Officers (SSO’s) at various levels of command, every single SAP is managed by an individually designated Program Manager for each individual SAP covering an entire theater of operations. In other words, SAP Program Managers are far fewer in number than there is SSO’s. SSO’s are not cleared to even know about SAP’s or to maintain information about them in their already enormously secure SCIF’s. How SAP’s are secured cannot be discussed because of the sensitive beyond Top Secret nature in which it is done.
5. Unlike individuals with the highest Top Secret SCI access security clearances, who must undergo a special background information with periodic “bring-up” background investigation, those tiny few who have access to SAP’s must also endure periodic polygraph tests in addition to the most comprehensive of special background investigations. I used to have to schedule four-star generals and admirals to be polygraphed in order for them to maintain their access to my SAP. Many generals and admirals who obviously have the highest security clearances still did not rate being indoctrinated into my SAP. In fact, they didn’t even know the SAP existed.
6. Compromise of a SAP is the single most dangerous security violation that can ever happen to the USA. Even the enormously damaging revelations of the Edward Snowden’s TOP Secret SCI security compromise does not reach the level of a SAP compromise.
7. To put SAP information in to an unsecure sever like Hillary Clinton’s unsecure server is a class one felony that could, in some cases, result in life in prison. That is because such a compromise is so dangerous that it could and likely will result in the death of people protected by and within the scope of the SAP.
As a former SAP Program Manager I believe it is inconceivable that if it is verified that Hillary Clinton’s server actually had SAP information on it that she could possibly escape indictment and criminal prosecution. As hard as it is to imagine, that would even be worse than electing to not prosecute a mass murdering serial killer because even they could not inflict as much damage on our country as the compromise of a SAP. Compromise of a SAP not only could — but without doubt would — cause serious damage to our national security.
If it is true that Hillary Clinton had SAP information on her unsecure server, whether it was marked or not, you can be sure that the FBI will strongly recommend that charges be brought against Hillary Clinton and continue in an exhaustive investigation to trace back to every single person that had even the tiniest role in this unbelievable security compromise.
If the Attorney General, through “prosecutorial discretion,” elected not to prosecute this crime, I believe congress would have no alternative but to impeach her, and the FBI would then have no choice but to conduct a criminal investigation of her for a deliberate cover up –- so grave is this security violation.
If President Obama were to pardon Hillary Clinton for a compromise of this magnitude he would render himself in the historical record as an “enemy of the state,” and could himself face criminal prosecution –- so grave is such a security compromise. Nobody, not even the POTUS could get away with something like this in our system of government. If anyone could escape persecution for compromising a SAP, we are deep trouble as a nation. No president who loves this country and is true to his oath would ever allow anyone, not even his or her closest and most loved relative, to get away with a SAP compromise. It is simply unimaginable that this could ever happen.
If the ongoing investigation finds that Hillary Clinton compromised a SAP, then we all should know with certainty, regardless of political persuasion, that she is entirely unfit to hold public office of any kind let alone President of the USA — and ALL Americans should never tolerate it. Compromising a SAP is an absolute “disqualifier” for public office and access to our nation’s most sensitive information – period.
Major, US Army (Retired)