Government

Official: Hillary campaign threatened me and my family

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A government watchdog who was among the very few investigators privileged to take a look at Hillary Clinton’s most sensitive emails from her unauthorized server is speaking out after months of silence.

Former Intelligence Community Inspector General (IG) Charles McCullough III told Fox News that he, his family, and his staffers were threatened after he pointed out the “Top Secret” information found on Clinton’s makeshift personal email server.

According to McCullough, the Clinton campaign made it known that they planned to fire the inspector general once Hillary ascended to the White House — which, we now know, Team Clinton arrogantly considered a certainty.  “There was personal blowback,” he said. “Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office.”

Spilling the beans

McCullough was appointed by the Barack Obama administration and earned his esteemed position as IG after more than two decades of exceptional experience with the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community.

As IG, McCullough was responsible for overseeing 17 intelligence agencies and conducting “audits, investigations, inspections, and reviews that identify and address systemic risks, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies that cut across IC [intelligence community] agency missions…”

The trouble began for McCullough after January 2016, when he told Senate Republicans on the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees that emails exceeding the “Top Secret” clearance level were found on the former-Secretary of State’s personal email server. McCullough said that things changed following his testimony:

All of a sudden I became a shill of the right. And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’

The senior intelligence officer was one of a tiny subset of investigators that were privy to 22 emails containing Top Secret information that was considered so sensitive that all but a few analysts were forbidden from viewing them. Yet, as McCullough related, there they were on Clinton’s unsecured email server, Top Secret data that revealed “sources and methods, lives and operations” vital to America’s national security interests.

“There was a very good reason to withhold those emails … there would have been harm to national security,” McCullough said, explaining why the emails cannot be released to the public. Some of the emails contained data so sensitive that they were designated as Special Access Program (SAP) information referred to as “above top secret.”

Of course, Clinton risked compromising national security by keeping the files on her unsecured server in the first place — especially given her propensity for email leaks.

Stay away from Clapper

McCullough wasn’t the only senior-level investigator to be disturbed by the conclusions of the Clinton email probe. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who personally recommended McCullough for the IG position, had his own concerns.

“[Clapper] said, ‘This is extremely reckless.’ And he mentioned something about — the campaign … will have heartburn about that,” McCullough said.

McCullough said that he discussed the findings from Clinton’s shady server with Clapper a year before the presidential election, sometime in late 2015. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were,” McCullough noted, intimating that there was a faction within the investigation that thought Clinton’s subterfuge warranted prosecution.

After this meeting, however, McCullough was told to stay away from his supervisor. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” the career federal investigator admitted, although he said that he ignored this instruction and kept Clapper notified of the investigation.

The Clinton Campaign response

As Election Day approached, McCullough said that the pressure on him and his office intensified. Clinton’s handlers were formulating a response to the charges before the investigation was even complete.

Leaked emails from the campaign show that Clinton attempted to get ahead of the email scandals before it could derail her presidential aspirations. An August 2015 statement from the Democratic Party front-runner stated:

Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.

McCullough felt that the Clinton campaign response was deceptive, especially given the early stage of the email probe. “There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign, to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here,” McCullough said.

Before long, democratic lawmakers began singling out the IG for criticizing the campaign’s response to the scandal. Seven senior Democrats drafted a letter addressed to McCullough and his counterpart at the State Department, questioning the impartiality of the investigation. However, as McCullough noted, his job at the time was to simply pass along the investigatory findings from each intelligence agency, and he had no say about the classification level of Clinton’s emails.

Part of this “coordinated effort” from progressive Congress members included a letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). The senior Democrat’s letter came just six weeks before the election, and McCullough recalled being pressured to respond.

“I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” the veteran intelligence agent said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

Jeopardizing his future

McCullough sacrificed his future with the federal government by taking a stand against the Democratic political machine. He said that he and another investigator who reached similar conclusions about the email probe were told that their jobs were in jeopardy:

I was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired — with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen.

The State Department, which even today remains stacked with Obama partisans, worked in concert with the Clinton campaign to silence and marginalize any investigators who exposed Clinton’s reckless actions. McCullough related how the bureaucracy formerly headed by Clinton worked to undermine the investigations.

“State Department management didn’t want us there,” McCullough said. “We knew we had had a security problem at this point. We had a possible compromise.”

More than a year after the FBI’s investigation prematurely concluded, McCullough is certain he did the right thing as an independent, impartial investigator. “I was, in this context, a whistleblower … I was doing exactly what they had expected me to do. Exactly what I promised them I would do during my confirmation hearing,” he said. “… This was a political matter, and all of a sudden I was the enemy.”

Watch here:

Of the 30,000 emails scrutinized by the intelligence community, 2,100 of them were considered classified and purely related to government business. McCullough was merely doing his job by pointing to the massive security breach which Clinton’s desire for secrecy precipitated.

Clearly, the email probe was highly politicized — former FBI director James Comey determined the outcome months before interviewing key witnesses. McCullough’s testimony only confirms what Americans already knew: the fix was in before the investigation began.

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