By now, many have heard the news that the Clintons filched a tidy amount of valuables from the White House to the tune of $50,000 when they vacated the premises in 2001 according to Snopes, (while rumour has it at circa $200,000, much of which they claimed were gifts but returned for 'appearances sake'!) but it appears they weren't the only ones who left the White House in a mess.
During the transition of 2001, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and General Services Administration (GSA) discovered a host of other shocking activities by Clinton staff that would make you cringe. However, before I get into a typing tirade about how the White House offices were treated worse than rented rooms in a tenement building, Hillary Clinton and her staff committed the most unbelievable blunder as First Lady before she left the building in 2001. Wait for it...
A “2stu3phone”, a secure telephone, was left open in the First Lady's office ~ with the key still in it!
I'm not making this up. In addition to all the other acts of theft, vandalism and petty juvenile pranks committed by the Clinton staff before they left, this strange lapse in security was reported in an official government report sent from the United States General Accounting Office to Bob Barr of the House of Representatives, document number “GAO-32-360”, page 57 n. 41. (Available for download here; www.gao.gov/new.items/d02360.pdf),
Now, to be fair, a small footnote in the report does state that the former manager of the office reported the phone hadn't been in use in for four years, (evidence that it was in use during Bill Clinton's first term before then), but it is apparent throughout the whole report the Clinton staffers tried to downplay the level of damage caused in the White House, even attempting to make excuses for the graffiti and pranks they left behind, so how can we trust this strange case of a supposedly out-of-service secured phone in the First Lady's office with no follow up other than a footnote, especially as the key was left in it? Why are we not hearing more about this supposedly “unused” secure phone? Was it really active or not? Could that phone have still have been a security risk of being tampered with even in its allegedly “out of service” condition? Who knows?
What dufus of a First Lady, or her staff for that matter, would leave any type of secure phone unlocked with the key still in it, in-service or out of service?
Hillary of course!
She is woefully wanting where it comes to the knowledge of communications security. We have seen in the last few months that either she simply doesn't care with devil-may-care flippancy, or she is so ignorant of protocol that she borders on being declared brain-dead. “Umm, I didn't know what the 'C' on my Secretary of State e-mails meant, or had no idea that it was such a big boo-boo to have a private server at my house...” D'uh! Then, we see 30,000 e-mails were purposefully deleted using a high-tech scrubber, (then, she tried to blame her e-mail server mistake on Colin Powell when she got caught, like any mature adult would do.)
It makes you wonder how loose she or her staff were on security with that phone while it was still active when she was First Lady, assuming it really was out of service by the time the next administration found the key still in it.
Maybe in the end it's just nothing, a key in a dead secure-line phone, but this isn't the only oddity, there are also a few other strange security “anomalies” in the report on page 79:
“The (Office of Administration) associate director for facilities management said that he found a secure employee identification and two-way radios that were left in an office and not turned into (the White House Communications Agency). (…) A (General Services Administration) employee said that she observed a few classified documents left unsecured in closets and the telephone service director said that he found classified documents in an unlocked safe.”
The odd bit is, where did the radios come from? Apparently, they weren't official government equipment: the director of operations support at the White House Communications Agency, which handles such equipment, said that the agency had no record of having provided two-way radios to the office where they were observed. The official said that this type of equipment is typically collected from offices by the WHCA at the end of an administration, but because the agency had no record of having provided equipment to that office, it was apparently just left there.
Very strange. Apparently, back then quite a few in the White House don't have a clue what's going on in the White House.
Of course, the most worrying piece of information mentioned in this account is that classified and sensitive documents were allegedly left around in unsecure locations. True, the report states the director of records management said that he went into every office on two floors of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building during the night of January 19, 2001 checking for documents and did not find any classified documents, but that appears rather convenient, doesn't it? Sounds similar to the office director saying that leaving the key in a secured phone is okay because it was 'out of service'.
Are they this slipshod, or doing a bad job of covering how unprofessional and inept the Clintons and their staff were?
If there are reports of a secure employee ID laying around, suspicious two way radios not checked back in, (in fact, no one knows where they came from), and classified documents left unsecured, but there's hardly much a follow up, only a footnote saying 'well, shucks, I didn't see anything', can we trust these people at all? Am I the only one seeing red flags here regarding security issues?
Now, who wants to put Hillary back in the White House as president along with her motley crew after hearing this?
Hillary we can't even trust you around a secure phone line or to install a properly secured government issue server, and you certainly didn't do a good job when you got the bright idea to present a dummy button to Russia as a present of goodwill when Secretary of State, yet you have the gall to spout that Trump should not have his finger on the nuclear button? (Yeah, I've ranted about that too, "Hillary, About Those Nuclear Codes".)
UPDATE!!! (Sept. 26, 2016) ~ Apparently my questions above about security in the White House during the Clinton Administration have been vindicated. Hillary and her staff simply cannot be trusted with sensitive information. The FBI has released a report stating that one of Hillary's aides left behind a classified briefing in a Russian hotel while Hillary was Secretary of State! (Click here fore more info.) The error was due to lack of training, according to the FBI report. REALLY? The Secretary of State's aides are NOT TRAINED on how to handle CLASSIFIED INFORMATION? This is telling indeed. Considering the troubled times we are in with war on ISIS in the Middle East an similar upheavals, do we want to put someone back in who has NO CLUE about security issues, or have untrained staff leaving sensitive documents around willy-nilly?
Here's the kicker: this is how the Clinton staff treated the White House before they vacated in 2001. I'm appalled to see the first House of the nation, a historic building paid for and maintained by the taxpayers, treated with such little respect, yet Hillary calls the Trump supporters 'deplorable'.
Just read the list below, (which is a short version I've pretty much copied from the report with a few personal observations). Let's keep the White Trash Staffers out of the White House!
Six Executive Office of the President (EOP) staff told us they observed that a total of 5 to 11 office signs, which are affixed with medallions (presidential seals about 2 inches in diameter) were missing. One of those six EOP staff also said he observed that six medallions were missing from office signs. These observations included an office sign that an EOP employee said that she saw a volunteer remove on January 19 2001 outside an office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB). The EOP employee said that the person who removed the sign said that he planned to take a photograph with it, and that she reported the incident to an OA employee. Further, the EOP employee said that the person attempted to put the sign back on the wall, but it was loose. Two other EOP staff said they noticed that the sign outside that office was missing during the transition. Four EOP staff said they saw that a total of 10 to 11 doorknobs, which may have been historic originals, were missing in different locations. A EOP staff told us about additional missing items that were not contained in the June 2001 list. Two EOP staff told us that a total of 9 to 11 television remote control devices were missing from two offices. In addition, two EOP officials said that about 20 cellular telephones could not be located in the office where they belonged. (WOW! Missing cell phones, what manner of sensitive information may have been on them?)
According to a GSA (General Service Administration) planner/estimator, it would cost $400 to replace an historic doorknob set (doorknobs on both sides of a door) with a solid brass replica, or $300 for a single historic doorknob replica; $125 for a new office sign with a medallion; and $75 to replace a medallion. Using those per-unit costs, if all of the items observed missing were replaced, it would have cost $2,100 to $2,200 for 9 to 10 doorknobs; $625 to $1,375 to replace 5 to 11 missing office signs with medallions; and $675 to $750 to replace 9 to 10 missing medallions. However, because specific locations were not provided regarding some of the observations of missing items, we were unable to determine whether all of the missing items had been replaced. In addition, the estimated cost of replacing missing doorknobs assumes that all of the doorknobs that were observed missing will be replaced with historic replicas, which was unknown. It was also unknown how many of the doorknobs that were discovered missing were historic originals. We also did not obtain any information on the value of the original historic doorknobs.
(So basically, they did't have a clue about what's going on: in the end, the White House may have lost quite a few presidential medallions and original historic doorknobs that may have been replaced with replicas to keep the costs down, but d'uh, nobody knows.)
The EOP provided purchase records indicating that it spent $2,040 for 26 cellular telephones on January 26, 2001; $729 for two (missing) cameras (including a digital camera costing $685) on March 16, 2001, and April 4, 2001; and $221 for 15 television remote controls on March 6 and15; June 5; and July 10, 2001.
The Office of Administration (OA) associate director for facilities management estimated it will cost about $350 to make a replica of the presidential seal that was reported stolen which, as of March 2002, had not been replaced. Although we did not obtain a dollar value regarding the possible historic value of the seal that was stolen, according to the OA associate director for facilities management, the $350 purchase price would not purchase an exact replica of the brass seal that was stolen; the seal was purchased in the mid-1970s, and is no longer available; and the $350 would purchase a plastic-type casting.
(On top of spending thousands to replace lost cell phones, $2,040, an irreplaceable Presidential seal is gone, and a cheapo-repro plastic thing has to do: and plastic is going for $350? We the taxpayers got ripped off.)
DAMAGED COMPUTER KEYBORDS: 62 keyboards had to be replaced because the “W” key was destroyed in a variety of ways (no doubt to vex incoming President George W. Bush's staff). Other estimates on the report list over 100 keyboards had to be replaced due to damage or were inoperable. Estimates to replace total damaged keyboards range between, $4,800 and $11,250. (Clinton staff of course try to downplay the number of damaged keyboards.)
SHABBY TREATMENT and LACK OF REPAIR on FURNITURE: The June 2001 list indicated that the damage included “[f]urniture that was damaged severely enough to require complete refurbishment or destruction--6 offices. ” It also indicated that a glass desk top was smashed and on the floor, and that desks and other furniture were overturned in six offices. (...) Ten EOP staff observed a total of 16 to 21 pieces of broken furniture, including 5 to 7 chairs with broken legs or backs; 5 to 7 broken glass desk tops, including one on the floor; 1 to 2 chairs with missing or broken arms; a desk with the drawer fronts removed; a sofa with broken legs; a credenza with broken door glass; a broken mirror; and a cabinet with its doors hanging with only one hinge. Six EOP staff also said that the locks on four desks or cabinet drawers were damaged or the keys were missing or broken off in the locks.
Other damage reported: fabric torn on three chairs although material looked to be new meaning the damage appeared deliberate, five desks with deliberate knife cuts in them as well as graffiti inside. One desk had cigar burns. Six EOP staff also said that the locks on four desks or cabinet drawers were damaged or the keys were missing or broken off in the locks. Five EOP staff told us that they saw a total of 11 to 13 pieces of furniture that were on their sides or overturned in specific rooms or offices. Further, five EOP staff also said they saw pieces of furniture that appeared to have been moved to areas where they did not belong, such as desks moved up against doors. (No doubt to make it miserable for the next administration to try and occupy their new offices.)
TELEPHONES: (Damaged or tampered with to cause deliberate vexation to the new administration?) The June 2001 list indicated that:
• The phones [sic] lines had been cut in the (Eisenhower Executive Office Building) --pulled from the wall.
• 50-75 phone instruments had been tampered with requiring more work than the standard reset. Of those, most had the identifying templates removed.
• Voice mail announcements had been changed to answer the line with obscene messages. After finding 10 – 15, workers stopped resetting them individually and reset the entire system.
Telephone labels / templates were also removed from a number of phones, and several that weren't removed rang through to the wrong number.
According to the White House, based on what it said was extremely conservative estimates and straightforward documentation, the government (TAXPAYERS!) incurred costs of at least $6,020 to replace missing telephone labels and reroute forwarded telephones.
OFFICES LEFT IN A STATE OF DELIBERATE “TRASHING” or DISREPAIR:
The June 2001 list indicated that [o]ffices were left in a state of general trashing, including contents of drawers dumped on the floor, desk top glass smashed and on the floor, and refrigerators unplugged with spoiled food. In addition, the list indicated that only 20 percent of the offices could be made available to incoming staff late in the afternoon of January 20, 2001. (Basically, the place was too bad to let the new administration set up until the offices were cleaned out and made fit for purpose again!) Included among these observations were EOP staff who described the office space as being “extremely filthy” or “trashed out,” and that a certain room contained “a malodorous stench” or looked like there had been a party. One office had three to four holes punched in the walls. Trash and personal items were left discarded in some offices, (and lo and behold!) some of the missing “W” computer keys were found glued to a wall. (Come on, really? That is so mature of you.) Other complaints included a broken safe lock that didn't work for some time, offices in dire need of a fix up and paint job, and one office had a dampness problem every time it rained.
GRAFFITI and PRANKS: found on the walls in six offices, in addition to other pranks / signs and derogatory comments / messages against George W. Bush purposely left around.
(You can tell this was particularly vicious of the vacating staff as Clinton had served his full two terms and couldn't run again, eight years is a good run, and they knew the jobs wouldn't last forever. It was a temporary arrangement. So why be so viciously destructive unless you simply COULD be that petty?)
You're in the White House!
GROW UP, YOU GAGGLE OF IDIOTIC STAFFERS!
I don't care what you think about the incoming President, I'm certainly no big fan of George W. Bush, but you just don't do that to the White House.
Can we honestly afford to allow trashy occupants move back again into the White House and ill use one of our national treasures?
The report goes on and on, but I think I'll just leave it there.