Documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian indicate that the NSA tapped the phones of 35 foreign leaders without their knowledge or permission. The revelation comes on top of the existing controversy surrounding taps placed on the phones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
But these disclosures beg the question: Who knew about the taps? Who got the intercepts? Obviously, the Secretary of State knew, approved, and authorized the taps. At the very least, she obviously got the intercept texts and/or intelligence reports based on them.
Domestic NSA spying is President Obama's scandal.
Foreign NSA spying is Hillary Clinton's scandal.
As a potential candidate for president, Hillary owes us an explanation of her role in the decision to wiretap and why she authorized it or, at the very least, let it continue.
We know that Hillary frequently is prone to demanding extensive investigation of personal information. Early in her term as secretary of state, she ordered her staff to prepare memos on the personal habits of foreign diplomats and to provide any information they happened upon to the agency so as to develop a profile on these officials.
Snowden's revelations also suggest that "a U.S. official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders ... Despite the fact that the majority is probably available via open source, the PCs [intelligence production centers] have noted 43 previously unknown phone numbers. These numbers plus several others have been tasked."
The document continues by saying the new phone numbers had helped the agency discover still more new contact details to add to their monitoring: "These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers that have subsequently been tasked."
Question: Was the official in question an employee or contractor with the State Department? Did Hillary materially aid in the eavesdropping?
Hillary must come out of hiding to answer these questions. Having resigned, she will not be at the G-8 summit when the foreign leaders grill Obama and John Kerry on the taps. But she should be, and she must answer these questions.
More to the point, the media must insist that she answer them.
This is Hillary's scandal. Let her answer for it.