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Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that he was very surprised Hillary Clinton exclusively used her private email for government business as secretary of state, especially considering how easy a private server is to hack into.
“I’m very surprised [that she exclusively used private email],” Gates said. “I never used email when I was Secretary of Defense or head of CIA, first of all. The issues were such that any important decisions or discussions that I wanted to have, I wanted to have face-to-face.”
Gates said that while he was not aware of the content of the emails, a recently released letter from the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which stated that Clinton transmitted Special Access Program (SAP) information on her private server, worried him.
“I haven’t read those e-mails, so I don’t know what the substance is. … I think it really depends on the substance of what was in those emails. I’m concerned that the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General has expressed concern,” Gates said.
In addition, Gates said that Mike Morell, the former Deputy Director of the CIA, has said that foreign intelligence services most likely had access to Clinton’s server.
“Mike Morell, the former Deputy Director of the CIA, has expressed the opinion that he thought it likely that the Iranians or the Russians or Chinese might have hacked into that server,” Gates said.
Gates then drew on his own experience and said that the CIA, which has extensive cyber-security measures in place, faces thousands of attempted intrusions a day. Considering the sheer quantity of these attacks, he said, there is a high probability that Clinton’s email was tapped.
“I think given the fact that CIA is attacked by hackers 100,000 times a day, the odds are pretty good that that may have happened. And so I just hope there’s nothing particularly sensitive in those e-mails,” Gates said.