Monday, February 29, 2016

Calling on the STU

Last night, I had a bit of a flashback.  This was circulating online:

It is one of the emails that Hillary Clinton had on her unclassified server at home or wherever she kept it.  Folks note that while the question is not really a classfied type secret, any email answer would probably:  "Um, he wants to talk about x, Madame Secretary." 

It was a flashback to me as I had one classified phone call in my year in the Pentagon in 2001-2002: to clarify some stuff with the NATO Stabilization Force (the mission in Bosnia that was originally IFOR but renamed to meet the promise of being done in a year). In every other communication that was not in person, the classified matters were discussed via SIPRINET--the secret internet that links classified computers around the world.  And the info on this net was swapped in a couple of ways, but mostly by using Outlook to send email attachments of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint around the world and around the DC area.  Indeed, that policy by Microsoft documents was one of my biggest surprises.

Anyhow, talking on the secure phone, or STU, was a bit of a pain, since you had to arrange a time via email or phone that both parties would be next to their STU.  Most offices had a STU--it was a special phone--and not more than one.  Some places had a STU to share among offices.  

So, in 2001 or 2002, I had to call the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of SFOR who turned out to be ... General David Petraeus.  I forget the substance of the conversation, nor could I discuss it now if I could.  But I did remember the name when he became visible as a commander of the 101st Airborne Division as it fought in 2003 in iraq.

I tweeted online that Petraeus just loves talking on the STU since he talked with both me and HRC.... but really he was doing his job then and later.  He just forgot about taking classified matters seriously when he was sleeping with Paula Broadwell. 

I do wish that HRC had never gotten into the business of  doing classified work on on unclassified computer networks.  Oy.

Of course, the appropriate song for all of this is:

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