GOP Senate bill aims to revoke Clinton's security clearance over email scandal

Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The security clearances of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several U.S. State Department colleagues would be canceled under a new bill introduced by two U.S. Senate Republicans and supported by more than a dozen other GOP congressional members.

Specifically, the wording of the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies Act of 2016 (TRUST Act, S. 3135) said it would revoke these security clearances for the “extreme carelessness” Clinton and her State Department colleagues exhibited in handling classified information. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the bill.

The TRUST Act also stipulates that Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, should not have access to classified information until she earns the legal right to such access.

“Hillary Clinton’s security clearance definitely needs to be revoked," Doug Truax, a health care executive and former U.S. Army Ranger who now heads up the Restoration PAC, told American Security News. "She put her personal and political needs ahead of our country's national security and thus has forfeited the right to handle sensitive information in the future."

Coming on the heels of an FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email server in her capacity as secretary of state, the proposed bill seeks justice for what the FBI found to be careless, but for which Clinton was not held accountable.

“The FBI’s investigation into Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail server confirmed what Americans across the country already know: Secretary Clinton recklessly accessed classified information on an insecure system – establishing a vulnerable and highly desirable target for foreign hackers," Gardner said during the bill's introduction. "If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will. At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it."

FBI Director James Comey said the agency’s investigation initially focused on whether classified information was transmitted on Clinton’s personal e-mail system. Comey said the investigation evolved to determine whether there was evidence that classified information was not properly transmitted or stored on that personal e-mail system and whether evidence existed that showed the system was hacked by foreign or hostile hackers.

While Comey confirmed that classified information was transmitted and stored improperly and that the personal email system may have been hacked, he formally recommended that no charges be filed against Clinton.

Comey also said the agency did uncover several thousand more emails related to Clinton’s position, some of which contained classified material, that were not included in the 30,000 emails Clinton handed over to the State Department.

“Following the FBI’s investigation, it is clear that Secretary Clinton cannot be trusted with classified information," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), one of the bill’s 15 co-sponsors thus far, all of whom are Republicans.

"Despite the many assertions in defense of her email practices, the FBI found that Secretary Clinton did email classified information, she did use multiple devices, and her email may have been subject to a possible breach. The TRUST Act (is)… a necessary step in light of the FBI’s findings."

Because access to classified information is a tremendous responsibility, it should only be entrusted to those who will treat that information with the care it deserves, Cornyn said.

“When individuals mishandle our country’s most sensitive information, they jeopardize national security and shouldn’t be trusted with such an important responsibility,” Cornyn said.

The TRUST Act has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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