Quora Question: Does the NSA Have All of Clinton's Deleted Emails?

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan August 11. Chris Keane/Reuters

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Answer from Konstantin Toropin, Former NSA employee, currently at CNN:

The NSA almost certainly does not have all of Hillary Clinton's deleted emails.

For the NSA to be in possession of Hillary Clinton's deleted e-mails, the NSA would not only have to violate intelligence community protocols regarding surveillance on US citizens (which, without a FISA warrant, is expressly forbidden) but they would have to have been spying and collecting intelligence on the civilian government charged with overseeing them.

Since the NSA is chiefly a military agency (it's headed by a four-star officer) collecting intelligence on the elected leaders that it serves would not only hold almost no intelligence value but it would also be violating all kinds of separation of powers and coming perilously close to some form of coup-like activity.

Furthermore, as we have learned from Snowden's revelations, much of the intelligence the NSA collected from the Internet and email was done with the cooperation of the companies hosting said services (see: PRISM). However, since Secretary Clinton operated her own servers, no such back door relationship would have existed there. This isn't to say that an intelligence agency would not have been able to retrieve said emails. It just means that they would have to have taken much more proactive measures—they wouldn't be "accidentally" collected. It is also possible for the emails to have been collected on their receiving end…however, since many of those emails would be going to government accounts, the constitutional questions remain.

That all said, yes, William Binney has recently claimed that the NSA is in possession of said emails. However, as even Fox News has noted: "It is unclear whether the database Mueller referred to would in fact contain the emails of top administration officials, like Clinton, or just suspects in terror probes."

Again, because if it did, there would be some serious questions to answer about who authorized such surveillance and to what end.

His claims, unlike Snoweden's, are not backed up with any detail, specifics or evidence, making them hard to believe. Plus…this story has been in the news for months and he decides to come forward NOW? …right as the election gets into full swing? How convenient.

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