Old NFO tells a story about a young Marine captain who inadvertently violated the rules concerning the handling of classified material. One could argue that the young officer's indiscretion was forgivable and could make the argument that no information was compromised. That's not the point.
On the day our ships were leaving the Mediterranean, we met the new amphibious squadron near Gibraltar and made preparations to transfer security codes and other sensitive material to the incoming Marine battalion. The young captain was on duty and went to the operations office to pick up the code book. He was alone in the office. He removed the code book and placed it on the desk while closing the safe. In a rushed moment, he stepped across the passageway to retrieve something he needed from his quarters. Seconds later, he stepped back into the operations office and found the operations sergeant having just entered, looking down at the code book.
Against all regulations, the code book had been out of the safe and unattended. It mattered not that it was unattended for only seconds, that the ship was 5 miles at sea, or that it was certain no one unauthorized had seen the code.The young captain, to his credit, reported the incident to his commanders, and the commanders, to their credit, did what was necessary to protect those codes.
The results went by the book. The amphibious squadron stood down. Military couriers flew in from NATO. The codes were changed all over Europe. The battalion was a day late in leaving the Mediterranean. The captain, Leonard F. Chapman III, received a letter of reprimand, damaging his career. He stayed in the corps and died in a tragic accident aboard another ship.Integrity matters, and when you're dealing with nuclear codes, or other classified material, it matters especially. People's lives and the secrets of the United States depend on it.
Hillary Clinton's actions as Secretary of State violated the security protocols set in place to secure the secrets of the nation. After a long, detailed investigation, the FBI concluded that she was "extemely careless" with our nation's secrets. The repercussions are two-fold, and may reverberate across our security networks for a decade or longer.
First, she has proven that she is not capable of handling classified material. By extension, she has also proven that she is unfit to be the Commander in Chief. At this point, she could not pass a standard security background check. Yet, if she is elected, she will have access to every secret that the United States possesses.
Second, FBI Director Comey has furthered the perception that there is a two-track system for judging the activities of citizens. The rich, powerful and connected get a pass, while the lesser mortals face prosecution. Comey stressed that people who violate the regulations are subject to administartive disciplinary processes, but those processes could not be weighed on Clinton. All that was left was criminal prosecution, and Comey demonstrated that he had neither the will nor the integrity to make that recommendation.
So now it's left to the voters.