Stunning news broke over the weekend that an Iranian nuclear scientist who worked for the CIA—and was discussed in emails hosted on then Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email server back in 2010—was executed by Iran for treason.
Via Fox News:
Iran confirmed Sunday that Shahram Amiri was hanged last week – years after he defected to the U.S.; later returned home, where he was heralded as a hero; and then was tried and convicted of spying for the U.S.
While there are conflicting accounts of Amiri’s odyssey from Iran to the U.S. and back, he did appear in a video in 2010 while living in the U.S. claiming to have been kidnapped by American and Saudi agents. He walked into the Iranian-interests section at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington later that year and demanded to be sent home.
But there are reports going back years that Amiri, despite his claims to the contrary, was being paid to provide the CIA with information about Iran’s nuclear program.
And, un-redacted Clinton server emails released last year appear to refer to Amiri as “our friend” – though it’s unclear whether those references put him at any additional risk.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said on Sunday that Clinton’s “reckless and careless” decision to allow those emails on her private server may have put scientist Shahram Amiri’s life at risk:
“I’m not going to comment on what he may or may not have done for the United States government, but in the emails that were on Hillary Clinton’s private server, there were conversations among her senior advisors about this gentleman,” he said on “Face the Nation.” Cotton was speaking about Shahram Amiri, who gave information to the U.S. about Iran’s nuclear program.
The senator said this lapse proves she is not capable of keeping the country safe.
“That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information on a private server. And I think her judgment is not suited to keep this country safe,” he said.
The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, meanwhile, reported today that the Iranian execution of Amiri was not caused by Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. He claims that the scientist had outed himself and that his exposure was not her fault.
Regardless, the issue is creating renewed problems for the Clinton campaign, which was surely hoping that EmailGate had been finally put in the rearview mirror.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t yet responded to media requests for comment on the story, but her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, said in her defense Sunday that he has oft heard her say with respect to the emails, “I have made a mistake, and I’ve learned something and I wouldn’t do it again.” And he also pointed out that she has apologized.
The Obama administration recently revealed in legal filings before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Clinton completed no security briefings or courses on the proper handling of classified materials while at the Department of State.