From Washington Examiner
Hillary Clinton’s private emails discussing the case of an Iranian scientist who was allegedly working with the U.S. could make it more difficult for the intelligence community to gain the trust of sources in the future, according to experts.
Shahram Amiri was an Iranian scientist who is believed to have given the U.S. information about Iran’s nuclear program. After entering the Pakistan embassy and declaring he wanted to go home, Amiri left America in 2010 to return to Iran, where he was recently executed for treason.
Amiri appears twice in Clinton’s emails, which were sent on her personal, unclassified server and released by the State Department, but never by name. The first on July 5, 2010, states that “our friend” needs to be given a way to leave the U.S. The second, a week later, says that the “gentleman” was still trying to get home and could “lead to problematic news stories.”
Amiri’s relationship had been reported publicly before the release of the emails. A 2010 New York Times story quoted U.S. officials who said Amiri was paid $5 million for giving information about the country’s nuclear program to the CIA.
Still, Matthew McInnis, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said he expects this revelation to have some impact on the intelligence community’s ability to recruit sources, noting that doing so is already difficult and risky enough because of the vulnerabilities of electronic communication.
“I think if people know that senior U.S. officials are frequently talking about certain sensitive issues like this in unclassified emails, I think that would send a signal of how risky it is,” he said.
Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department spokeswoman, dodged questions Monday about whether the emails discussing Amiri may have played a role in his execution at the hands of the Iranian judiciary.
“We’re not going to comment on what may have led to this event,” Trudeau said.
“I couldn’t speak to Iranian judicial procedures related to this specific case,” she added. “We’ve made our concerns known writ large around Iranian due process.”
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