Yes, that’s right. Another Clinton scandal.
On Super Tuesday, it was a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would win the primaries—and she did. But instead of being thrilled with the results, Ms. Clinton stormed out of a press conference after reporters questioned her about her use of private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. A visibly exasperated Clinton tossed her hands in the air while proclaiming, “Nobody talks to me about it, other than you guys.”
As Secretary of State, Clinton used a private email account for four years for government business. This was her personal account, hosted on her personal server. While the State Department was aware of it, the issue was not addressed until the summer of 2015, when State Department officials were unable to find any email to and from Clinton’s official government account to hand over to congressional investigators.
The public first became aware of Clinton using her personal email account for official purposes only after the New York Times reported about it (no right wing conspiracy here) in March of 2015. Furthermore, this led to a major controversy that is still pursuing Clinton.
It made people wonder whether Washington, which is always passing laws to keep the nation safe from foreign and domestic threats, takes the high-tech threat seriously.
Clinton justified saying she used her personal server and email account for sheer convenience, because she didn’t want to carry two smartphones, which she would have had to carry since the State Department did not allow her to have multiple email accounts on the government-issued smartphone. So rather than directing her personal emails to her government ID, she decided to use her personal email for government-related business.
This justification was skeptically received by critics, as Clinton herself said she travels with a Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and an iPad Mini, something that everyone noticed during a State Department event in 2011. Plus, she purchased her own web domain in 2009, on the first day of her confirmation hearing, a techie set up and maintained her personal server in her home when she started preparing to work for the State Department.
Was What Clinton Did Illegal?
Actually, there was no question of illegality based on the prevailing law at the time when Clinton was Secretary of State. However, her actions did not conform to the best practices promoted by the Obama administration, and what she did is discouraged quite vehemently by the State Department itself.
Why the Brouhaha?
U.S. government rules have been very clear regarding electronic communications since 2009. The National Archives and Records Administration has the responsibility for keeping detailed and accurate records any decision-making communication. Should the need arise, the agency has to make the records available to the courts, government officials and the American public.
So the question here is since the officials from the State Department knew of this rule, why did they allow Hillary Clinton to circumvent them? And what role did Clinton play in overriding the rules?
Since the government and the national record keeping agency had no copies of her government-relation communication (as they were stored in her personal server), Hillary Clinton is shielded from requests made through the Freedom of Information Act, congressional subpoenas, and other similar searches. Wow!
Adding Fuel to the Fire
Two years after Hillary left her position at the State Department, she was asked to hand over the official emails and communications on her personal server. Instead of handing over these electronic communications to the State Department, Hillary Clinton and her advisers pored through tens of thousands of her emails before handing over 30,490 messages to the agency. They also destroyed 31,830 messages because they decided the messages were personal. Thereafter, the server was wiped clean.
There is no mention of who vetted the messages and decided which ones were personal. But more than that the question is: Why was it allowed in the first place? Also, there are questions about emails being erased, as over a dozen of messages related to Benghazi were missing from the ones that Ms. Clinton handed over to the government.
These messages were exchanged between Clinton and her former aide, Sidney Blumenthal, who has already handed over his copies to the congressional panel investigating the Benghazi incident, which was a disaster in which a U.S. ambassador was killed and occurred when she was Secretary of State but that is another topic as well.
The Big Concern – Our Safety
When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, the Obama administration said they were making cyber security a top priority (this is debatable and another topic as well). So the biggest concern is the security of Hillary Clinton’s personal server. Tests conducted by experts on Clinton’s server showed it did not have a high-tech and sophisticated security shield.
What was done to protect this server from being hacked? Were these vulnerabilities addressed? While Clinton had sensitive information stored on her personal server, were state secrets at risk? How could they not be?