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Hillary Clinton's "Email-Gate"

March 23, 2015

If you’re not a news junky and somehow missed the latest news cycle coverage of “Emailgate,” there have been a number of recent discoveries about Hillary Clinton’s actions while serving as Secretary of State.  It started when it was uncovered she used a personal email address exclusively while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.  As members of the press and Congressional committees delved deeper, it was learned she also had a personal email server set up in her home the week prior to assuming office and she used it to conduct all her official State Department business.

This means is that all her emails weren’t being backed up and archived by the State Department, as is required by federal law.  It also means the person who decides what is released, held, and/or deleted is the same person whose actions are being questioned.

When it became evident that being quiet was not keeping the story out of the press, Clinton held a news conference and defended her actions by saying  (1) it wasn’t against department policy and (2) it was more convenient for her to have one mobile device instead of two (e.g., one for each email account). The problem is that this defense doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  One smart phone can receive email from multiple email accounts.  So she could have easily had both her personal and government email accounts on one device.

Also troubling -- although the server was protected physically because it was in her home under Secret Service protection – it didn’t have hardened Internet security to protect it from cyber attacks.  “Hackers” were hired by a news service to remotely test the protection on her server and discovered it was highly vulnerable to attacks.  Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea could have had access to it and sensitive information.  In a State Department briefing a reporter asked “why Russian hackers had more access to State Department records than the American public and Congress?”  Excellent question!

A reporter from TIME commented “The Clintons play by their own rules. In this case, the former Secretary of State explained, those rules bless her decision to erase some 30,000 emails from the family server despite knowing that the emails had become a subject of intense interest to congressional investigators."

Mrs. Clinton was aware of the requirement that official emails be archived and retained by the government.  When questioned about her failure to do so she said “The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they [the emails] were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.”    What she seems to be saying is “This is the responsibility of the addressees, not mine!”  When we were growing up we were taught that it’s the job of the leader to set the standard.  Apparently she never learned that lesson.

If she really wants to be forthcoming, why not turn the server over to the Department of State/the Congressional Committee investigating Benghazi?  Computer forensic experts tell us they can retrieve even deleted files.  Perhaps that’s the reason there is resistance to letting the server out of her control. 

Until Mrs. Clinton comes clean, this story will continue to have legs and be news!

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius, and John Gay