In the midst of a book tour that has not gone according to plan, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley is facing fresh criticism over her alleged failure to safeguard confidential government information during her tenure in New York City.
According to editor Christopher Dickey of The Daily Beast, Haley “lost her password for classified communications” during the peak of the North Korean nuclear crisis in 2017. As a result, she sent numerous sensitive emails over a “less secure” network.
Sound familiar? It should … in more ways than one.
First, from Dickey’s report …
… on that fraught July 4, 2017, she was typing away on her BlackBerry 10 smartphone, sending “confidential” information over a system meant only for unclassified material.
Haley was in a rush as she headed to her office – “On my way in” – shooting emails back and forth with top aides who’d been with her since she was governor of South Carolina. She needed to make a statement, and they were drafting it for her. “Let’s clean this up,” she writes after looking at some of the copy. “Pretty this up for me,” she says.
The next day we discover what the problem is with her communications. “Can’t find my password for the high side,” she writes.
The messages exposing this potential national security lapse were obtained in documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by American Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group. Of interest? Most of the documents are heavily redacted, making references to “classified national defense and foreign relations information.”
Um … Hillary Clinton, anyone?
“For an administration obsessed with security lapses others have committed, and for a still-rising star in the Republican Party, this could be more than a little embarrassing,” Dickey reported.
Perhaps … but the real danger to Haley in this instance is the attention the scandal could invite on her previous password problem – which leads directly into a discussion of Haley’s formerly disastrous personal finances and the host of ethical issues that dogged her tenure as a South Carolina state representative from 2004 to 2010.
To recap: In August of 2008 – while still a member of the S.C. General Assembly – Haley submitted an online employment application to a regional hospital which wound up employing her for twenty months as a vastly-overpaid “fundraiser.”
Haley’s online application included a 2007 income estimate which vastly exceeded the amount of money she reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that year. Specifically, the application stated that she made $125,000 from her family clothing business in 2007 – however she reported only $22,000 in income to the government.
Haley later claimed she did not provide the hospital with the $125,000 figure, and that she did not know who did. However, hospital officials confirmed they did not modify the document and a “forger” would have had to know Haley’s personal phone number, private email address, user name, security question and password.
(Click to view)
(Via: Travis Bell Photography)
Questioned about the extreme unlikelihood of anyone being in possession of all that information, Haley made one of her most infamous gaffes.
“There was no password. The password was where I graduated from high school,” she told a local television station.
Wait … what?
So there was no password … but there was a password.
In addition to the password issue, Haley was also busted lying about the circumstances surrounding her unceremonious departure from the hospital in 2010 – one of many questionable employment arrangements in which she was entangled during her tenure in the S.C. General Assembly.
Accordingly, while we will be very interested in seeing how the latest Haley password scandal unfolds, we remain convinced the real damage here is the attention the situation will draw on her past … particularly as national opposition research organizations begin ramping up their efforts in response to Haley’s latest machinations in pursuit of the American presidency.
Speaking of which, Haley has been losing many of her establishment allies in the aftermath of a recent pivot toward U.S. president Donald Trump, who appointed her to the United Nations post as a sop to one of his South Carolina supporters – Henry McMaster, who coveted the office Haley occupied in the Palmetto State.
In addition to getting excoriated by her erstwhile cheerleader Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post writers group (who referred to the former ambassador as “a cartoonish fussbudget” who “bought her own myth and sold it cheap”), Haley was the focus of an incisive piece earlier this week by reporter Meg Kinnard of The Associated Press.
“Even though the former South Carolina governor left the Trump administration on her own terms, a rarity in a White House that has seen its share of turmoil, some strategists say that in a post-Trump era, she could struggle to win back GOP traditionalists who aren’t fans of the polarizing president,” Kinnard noted.
We concur … although at this point we have seen nothing to suggest Haley has harmed her standing as a potential replacement for U.S. vice president Mike Pence on the national ticket next fall or a bona fide 2024 GOP presidential hopeful.
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