National Security Administration director Mike Rogers confirmed Thursday that Hillary Clinton’s email correspondence would have been a top priority for foreign spies and hackers, the Associated Press reported.
"Are the communications of the senior-most advisors to the president of the United States—even those that may be unclassified—a top priority for foreign intelligence services, in your opinion?" Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) asked in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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"Yes," Rogers said.
Rogers said that if another country’s foreign minister used a private server for email, U.S. spies would see that as an "opportunity" to exploit a security lapse.
"If an NSA employee came to you and said, ‘Hey boss, we have reason to believe that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov or Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif is conducting official business on a private server,’ how would you respond?" Cotton asked.
"From a foreign intelligence perspective, that represents opportunity," Rogers said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) questioned whether Cotton’s inquiries were relevant to the Foreign Intelligence Committee.
"I don’t know the relevance of that to this committee, although that’s just my opinion," Feinstein said.
Rogers is not the first security expert to state that Clinton’s private email server was a target for foreign intelligence services.
Former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Flynn said in April that it was "likely" Clinton's emails were compromised by spies.
Because Clinton used a private server for official business, her email correspondence was not protected by government cyber-security programs. Her server also lacked basic safeguards often found on non-government servers.
Clinton’s irregular email arrangement is currently under investigation by the FBI, which recently seized her private server. Investigators have determined that Clinton sent and received classified information from her private account.