EXCLUSIVE: Two State Department contractors, with decades of experience protecting the United States' most sensitive secrets, are speaking out for the first time about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and how the rules for government security clearance holders did not seem to apply to Clinton and her team.
“The State Department was her oyster and it was great for the [Clinton] foundation and great for the Clintons to be able to have such a great position," Dave Whitnah told Fox News.
Whitnah said he worked within the State Department's Office of Security Technology which is responsible for cameras and alarms and sweeping for bugs. Whitnah said everyone understood the secretary of state is the primary target of foreign intelligence services.
“The number one person would be the secretary of state and their communications," Whitnah explained. "You can think of the Iran negotiations, nuclear negotiation, negotiations with Russia, talks with Russia. You know, anything to do with foreign policy."
Whitnah emphasized that tens of millions of dollars were spent on technical security for Clinton that apparently was disregarded as her team traveled around the world on official U.S. government business.
"It was unfathomable that [her BlackBerry] would be used for anything other than just unclassified communication," Whitnah said. Clinton’s devices were not certified as secure by the State Department. As for her use of a non-secure BlackBerry, Whitnah stressed that email can be intercepted and, “Even if turned off, it’s still a listening device so that’s why you take out the batteries.”
As Clinton was sworn in as secretary in January 2009, government contractor Amel Smith said he was also working at the department and: "State Department rules are clear. I helped write those rules."
Smith says his 30 years of experience includes serving in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne, before becoming a counter-intelligence and counter-espionage investigator at State tracking down breaches of classified materials. He reviewed some of the FBI witness interviews from the Clinton email investigation with Fox News, and questioned those who claimed not to have the proper training in handling sensitive information.
"I hear things like, well, I forgot, um, I don't know that I was trained, I don't know this. You know -- every single person that had access to that information when it was sent is in violation," Smith emphasized.
The FBI witness interviews also show secure facilities for classified information -- known as SCIFs -- were specially built for Clinton in her in Washington, D.C., and Chappaqua, N.Y., homes. Doors that were supposed to be locked were left open.
"If you've got an uncleared person in there, it's automatically a compromise," Smith said.
Another FBI interview summary said there were personally owned desktop computers in the secure facilities at Clinton's homes, yet she told the FBI that she did not have a computer of any kind in these facilities.
"If somebody said they're there, then they probably were there, and you know, the reason you would deny it was because you probably didn't have approval," Smith said.
Having unapproved computers in a SCIF would automatically call for a security investigation.
Asked for his reaction to Clinton's claim that nothing she sent or received was marked classified, Whitnah called that assertion a “misrepresentation.” Fox News was first to report in June that at least one of the emails contained a classified information portion marking for "c" which is confidential. FBI Director James Comey later said in July when he recommended against criminal charges that a handful of Clinton emails contained classified markings.
But more than 2,100 emails with classified information, and at least 22 at the “top secret” level, passed through Clinton's unsecured private server. Asked how it happened, Smith said, "Personally, there had to have been somebody moving classified information from C-LAN, C-LAN again is Secret, Confidential only, and JWICS. JWICS is where all top secret information is."
After new emails were found in the Anthony Weiner sexting case belonging to his estranged wife Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation. On Sunday, Comey said the emails did not change his recommendation against criminal charges because his investigators did not find intent to move classified materials outside secure government channels
"Whether it's the private email server, whether it's this private laptop. If there's classified -- one document on there -- that's classified, it's a violation. Somebody violated [the] law," Smith said. "Throw all the politics out the window, what we're talking about is the defense of this nation."
Asked about Smith and Whitnah, who filed a complaint against the State Department, a department spokesman said they were not direct hires -- adding that the head of diplomatic security told the FBI that Clinton was "very responsive to security issues."
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”