WASHINGTON — In the wake of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, State Department officials are returning to a tried-and-true method for sending sensitive messages securely: audiotapes that self-destruct!
“Emails are just too easy to hack, whether they’re stored on a private server or a government one,” revealed a State Dept. insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We’ve decided to go old school.”
Fans of TV’s Mission: Impossible will remember how spy master Jim Phelps received each assignment on an audiotape, followed by the warning, “As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”
The insider explained, “Unlike the emails of today, back then no one could dig up proof that a Secretary of State or the President authorized the overthrow of a brutal dictator.”
While Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server got her in hot water, hackers believed to be working for the Russian government subsequently hacked the State Department’s own email system, in what intelligence officials called the “worst ever” cyberattack intrusion against a federal agency.
“That forced us to think outside the box and take a fresh look at older forms of communication such as telephone calls,” said the insider. “We developing a system that operates on an entirely different frequency from cell networks, to prevent signals from being intercepted. The technical details are classified, but it’s not unlike those pen phone communicators used by the agents on Man From U.N.C.L.E.“
To foil enemy agents, State Department officials may even resort to the most low-tech form of communication imaginable: meeting face to face on a park bench and trading information while sipping Starbucks coffee.
However, not everyone in the agency is excited about the throwback to antiquated technology.
Said one disgruntled official, “What’s next, shoe phones?”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth