A retired senior State Department military adviser claims that Hillary Clinton’s “sloppy communications with her senior staff” when she was secretary of state may have compromised at least two counterterrorism operations.
Bill Johnson, who was the State Department’s political adviser to the special operations section of the U.S. Pacific Command, or PACOM, in 2010 and 2011, says secret plans to eliminate the leader of a Filipino Islamist separatist group and intercept Chinese-made weapons components being smuggled into Iraq were repeatedly foiled.
Johnson says he and his team eliminated the possibility of other security leaks before settling on the unprotected telephone calls of the secretary of state and her aides as the likely source.
Johnson's target in the Philippines was Umbra Jumdail, also known as Dr. Abu, the founder of the Muslim militant group Abu Sayyaf, which the State Department officially designated a terrorist organization in 1997. U.S. advisers were assisting Filipino military units.
“We had good intel. We knew where he was,” says Johnson, who worked in U.S. Air Force special operations with Army Green Beret and Navy SEAL units for more than 25 years before joining the State Department in 1999. “He would be gone three hours before, sometimes as little as a half-hour before” the counterterrorism teams moved in. “We knew he was getting tipped off somehow. We just didn’t know why.”
They began to investigate. The U.S. team advising the Filipino forces swapped out one local counterterrorism unit it was working with for another in an effort to locate the source of the leaks, Johnson says. But Dr. Abu still managed to elude them. The reason, he believes: unsecure chatter between Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
“Anyone can just sit outside the embassy and listen,” with off-the-shelf eavesdropping devices, he says. “We suspected the leaks [came from] somewhere at State at the time.”
As a dramatic solution, the Special Operations Command stopped giving advance warning to senior State Department officials about raids, Johnson says. Whatever the cause, the leaks stopped. In February 2012, Dr. Abu and two other senior militants were eventually killed in what was described as “a U.S.-backed airstrike.”
Read the article for the second, even worse example of high level security leaks by politicians who do know better compromising our efforts to stop the bad guys.
Some folk need to spend serious time behind bars for this.