Move over Hillary Clinton. Your scandalous email headlines have competition for the front page as of Tuesday. As for Bernie Sanders, he has yet another ‘damn emails’ story to claim Americans are sick of hearing about. According to CBS News on Tuesday, the United States Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to protect United States citizens from terrorists while enforcing any immigration laws we may have, has a disturbing security scandal of its own. Beyond the scandal, there is now word that the email accounts of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson – who uses a private email account even after all the troubles Hillary Clinton has had with hers – and CIA Director John Brennan have been hacked.
After a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an effort to obtain records related to the use of personal email accounts, it has been found that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wasn’t the only one using unauthorized private accounts. The inquiry into Homeland Security accounts included Secretary Jeh Johnson. Johnson and 28 other top officials in the Department of Homeland Security used personal email accounts. It has been going on for the past year, according to Bloomberg View. Despite the private emails used on government-owned computers practice was absolutely banned in April of 2014, Johnson and the others sought waivers to use their personal email accounts – and the waivers were granted. Specifically, besides Johnson, other officials include Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell. Again, even without the dictate from the government that private emails are not to be allowed, one would think that the Hillary Clinton private email scandal would have been enough to get government officials to cooperate with the law.
Much like the lengthy delay in getting cooperation with obtaining Hillary Clinton’s emails off her private server, the same story plays out with the latest email scandal. The Judicial Watch lawsuit was filed on Oct. 21 after Homeland Security refused to comply with a simple request that was submitted nearly a year-and-a-half ago. The original FOIA request was submitted on July 21, 2014. The FOIA request sought all requests in any form submitted by senior DHS officials for waivers to use personal web-based email accounts that would be used on government computers. It also asked for copies of all waivers granted to those persons. According to the report, the waivers that were granted to these persons were in total violation of Homeland Security’s Sensitive Systems Policy Directive 4300A which was disseminated on April 30, 2014. The Policy was deemed very necessary after hackers breached the office of Personnel Management computer system. In the directive, it was clearly stated:
The use of Internet Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL) or other personal email accounts is not authorized over DHS furnished equipment or network connections.
Enter the fall guy… Yet, Luke McCormack, the chief information officer, made exceptions based on a case-by-case basis. Disturbingly, Jeh Johnson’s personal email account was recently hacked, according to a Daily Mail report on Tuesday.
According to that report, a dope-smoking hacker asserts that he hacked personal accounts of top security officials. He claims to have hacked CIA Director John Brennan and Johnson’s accounts. After obtaining private information on both of them, he pranked Brennan with a telephone call and then actually listened to Brennan’s voicemails. CNS News as well as CBS news is reporting that multiple law enforcement sources have concurred that these breaches occurred. The continuing investigation is obviously of a criminal nature and authorities are going after the suspect involved in the hackings of CIA Director Brennan and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson.