55,000 pages of emails
March 3, 2015 11:34 AM   Subscribe

The New York Times reports today that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used her personal e-mail address to conduct all business. In response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.

In January, Vice's Jason Leopold filed (pdf) a federal lawsuit against the State Department for failure to respond to his Freedom of Information Act request for “any and all records that were prepared, received, transmitted, collected and/or maintained by the Department of State (DOS) mentioning or referring to or prepared by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or any member of the Office of the Secretary (S) from January 21, 2009 to February 1, 2013.”

Hillary Clinton Not Alone in Using Private Emails to Govern

The Insiders: The Picasso that hit Hillary Clinton: Who might have been the source of the story? Which master of the craft of opposition research?

Twitter hijinks.

Vox: Hillary Clinton's personal email account looks bad now. But it was even worse at the time.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (191 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is just fucking astonishing to me. How could someone at such a high level be so stupid and, basically, lawless?
posted by jayder at 11:37 AM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Have they said what kind of account she uses? AOL? Yahoo? Gmail? Compuserve?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:38 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


*sigh*

How can someone be so good at things and yet so bad at them simultaneously...
posted by Etrigan at 11:39 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not lawless: that law the NYT is bleating about? Came into effect last year.

This is another phoney baloney scandal.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:39 AM on March 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


Yeah, I really don't understand how she didn't know that that would be a problem, or how no one around her suggested it would be a problem. If she had been using it occasionally, that would be one thing. But exclusively? Every single person she emailed in her official capacity was on her personal email and no one called her on it until now? It's bonkers.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:40 AM on March 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


The real revelation is that her official State Department Twitter account was apparently @Horse_ebooks.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2015 [68 favorites]


This is just fucking astonishing to me. How could someone at such a high level be so stupid and, basically, lawless?

This has been practice since Republicans were in charge, too. Anyone recall how Sarah Palin's accounts were hacked ? It wasn't the State of Alaska mail servers - it was her Yahoo account.

I recall that conservatives were non-plussed at Gov. Palin's use of personal email for official business. That this involves a Clinton I think is the more germane part of the story for them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


I was ready to cut her some slack until I read the Vox article linked at the bottom of the post. WTF, people?

My sister is a minor local government official (not elected); she is fierce in the way she severs her government email address from her personal one. She never uses her government address for personal use, and so far as I can tell, never uses her personal address for government use -- heck, she can't even access it from work except on the phone.

How is it that my not-very-tech-savvy sister is more on the ball on informational security/retention practices than the Secretary of State?

And if you don't want something discovered, you don't put it in email. That is what the telephone is for.
posted by suelac at 11:42 AM on March 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Absent any information, I'm going to assume that this was because Gmail (or whatever) works better with her 'phone/tablet than whatever government IT system she was supposed to use. Or "she routed round the official broken IT" as it usually goes.

Which doesn't make it right, of course.
posted by alasdair at 11:42 AM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not lawless: that law the NYT is bleating about? Came into effect last year.

That's not really true. While the law is new, Department of State regulations have always required such e-mails to be preserved. Clinton does not seem to have done that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:43 AM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


This has been practice since Republicans were in charge, too.

Which, as noted in the Vox story, was a source of some rather public controversy at the same time that Clinton was setting up shop at State.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 AM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Absent any information, I'm going to assume that this was because Gmail (or whatever) works better with her 'phone/tablet than whatever government IT system she was supposed to use.

I have some amount of sympathy. Her boss at the time probably shouldn't have.
posted by Etrigan at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Amazing to me that everyone is upset over this but have seemingly forgotten about Sarah Palin doing the exact same thing, and IIRC, gave Sarah pretty much a free pass over it and instead went after the guy who guessed her email password.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:46 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Business Insider reports , Clinton emailed from a personalized domain, clintonemail.com. Records show it was registered on the day of her confirmation hearing in January 2009. Along with State Department business, the officials said, Clinton also used the email address to communicate with friends and family.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:47 AM on March 3, 2015


Keeping in mind she's a lawyer (with a J.D. from Yale, no less), I'm inclined to think this was nefarious and deliberate rather than an "oops I was dumb" on a Sarah Palin level.
posted by naju at 11:47 AM on March 3, 2015 [14 favorites]


Obviously this is terrible and wrong, and unacceptable behaviour in any government official.

And yet, if she gets the nomination, she'll still be light-years better than whoever the Republican Clown Car spits out.

How frightening is that?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:47 AM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


What's really embarrassing is that her email address was Hillaryrulez69@aol.com
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:48 AM on March 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


President Scott Walker.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I recall that conservatives were non-plussed at Gov. Palin's use of personal email for official business. That this involves a Clinton I think is the more germane part of the story for them.

It's not just conservatives/Republicans/etc. that dislike Hillary. Can't blame only them for this story getting traction.
posted by resurrexit at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]




Amazing to me that everyone is upset over this but have seemingly forgotten about Sarah Palin doing the exact same thing, and IIRC, gave Sarah pretty much a free pass over it and instead went after the guy who guessed her email password.

Palin, defense against Putin notwithstanding, was not generally discussing issues that pertained to national security.

This is a real scandal if only for the security risk of this.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:53 AM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]




I don't really know if I care that she used her personal e-mail. That she didn't KEEP some of the government e-mails and can't or won't reproduce them is a big problem.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


> but have seemingly forgotten about Sarah Palin doing the exact same thing, and IIRC, gave Sarah pretty much a free pass over it

I didn't. I (and I assume many other people) thought it showed an amazing amount of unprofessionalism, even setting aside any violations of Alaska government-records laws and Alaska government information security rules.
posted by suelac at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


naju: "oops I was dumb" on a Sarah Palin level.

She wasn't being/playing dumb (previously). I think she has some of that Dubya "stupid like a fox" to her - discounted as an idiot, which allowed her to get away with more.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on March 3, 2015


I don't really know if I care that she used her personal e-mail. That she didn't KEEP some of the government e-mails and can't or won't reproduce them is a big problem.

Appearance of impropriety and all that. If as a government official you only use your official email for business, then all of the recordkeeping/etc is taken care of at a remove from you. That's where I end up, anyway.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:59 AM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


In the past week we've witnessed:
— A dress that plays tricks on the eyes
— A dress used to play a trick on a former president
— An e-mail address possibly used for dirty tricks

(I have no real point.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:00 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's funny how the day-to-day aspect of this is just like so many places I've worked where the big boss does whatever they want and no one can call them on it. Why didn't anyone say anything? Because her boss is the President right? Who could have said anything?
posted by bleep at 12:01 PM on March 3, 2015


In the past week we've witnessed:
— A dress that plays tricks on the eyes
— A dress used to play a trick on a former president
— An e-mail address possibly used for dirty tricks
Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money.
posted by Talez at 12:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [36 favorites]


On his way out of the corner office as Governor in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney actually had his people DESTROY all of his administration's email
posted by briank at 12:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


President Scott Walker.

Where did you pick that up from? We do not use that kind of language in this house. Go wash your mouth out with soap.
posted by Foosnark at 12:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [57 favorites]


Why didn't anyone say anything? Because her boss is the President right?

Because she was doing exactly as previous SoS have done. I don't think it's right; I believe that all governmental communications should be recorded. Go read MartinWisse's link.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is no way that Hillary Clinton didn't know she was supposed to use a government email account.

Except that the rule the Times points to did not take effect until a year after she left office. Which is a major omission from the article, and is further questionable considering the past track record of the Gray Lady regarding reporting on the Clintons.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering, every other SoS who has used their private e-mail for anything has been able to reproduce and hand over ALL of their e-mails.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:06 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


y sister is a minor local government official (not elected); she is fierce in the way she severs her government email address from her personal one. She never uses her government address for personal use, and so far as I can tell, never uses her personal address for government use -- heck, she can't even access it from work except on the phone.

In my city of Oakland, CA we have a councilmember who is hopefully going to be investigated for using her work email to conduct personal business/ask for favors from a developer. They actually have her assistant on record emailing back "I don't think we should be doing this over our work emails...". I say hopefully because this isn't the first time someone on the council has done shady shit with developers from their government emails, but yeah, this seems pretty ridiculous to me.
posted by bradbane at 12:06 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


That she didn't KEEP some of the government e-mails and can't or won't reproduce them is a big problem.

I must have missed this -- where is it alleged that she didn't keep copies and can't produce them? The NYT piece is fairly specific in alleging that she has not kept copies on federal servers, and that she's only selectively turned over copies for preservation (where 'selectively' is fifty-five thousand-plus emails), but it doesn't say anything about her not personally keeping emails or being unable to produce copies. Which is manifestly not great, but not quite the same thing as 'not keeping government e-mails.'
posted by cjelli at 12:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a real scandal if only for the security risk of this.

Protected or sensitive information should not be sent by email in the first place. Even from a government-controlled server.
posted by muddgirl at 12:08 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


every other SoS who has used their private e-mail for anything has been able to reproduce and hand over ALL of their e-mails.

Per MartinWisse's link, Powell handed over zero.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:08 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


recall that conservatives were non-plussed at Gov. Palin's use of personal email for official business. That this involves a Clinton I think is the more germane part of the story for them.

I think they're both assholes. I'm pretty sure Clinton and Palin have more in common with each other than they do with their supporters.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:10 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Protected or sensitive information should not be sent by email in the first place. Even from a government-controlled server.

You should probably let the CIA know. Preferably with a time machine scheduled to arrive in 1995.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is shady — as shady as what Palin did, if not more so, because of the sensitive nature of the responsibilities of Clinton's post. If Democrats want to lose the election, this is a great way to get to that result.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't really know if I care that she used her personal e-mail. That she didn't KEEP some of the government e-mails and can't or won't reproduce them is a big problem.

But it appears she did keep them. And is now turning them over.

Is there any "there" to this story, really? If she kept the emails, and has turned them over, then what has she done besides not using an approved email address (something I assume has been rectified already)? I mean, ok, slap her hand for that.

Security-wise, for all we know, it was as well-encrypted as her government account. It was under clintonemail.com, apparently.

But you know and I know and the chair knows, someone will call (has probably already called) for an Investigation, and we all also know that this is the next round of bullshit, now that everyone's stopped paying attention to Benghazi.

Go after her for her voting record on use of force in Iraq, by all means; go after her for her policies you dislike. But don't try to convince me this is anything but a minor snafu unless you got some sort of proof that something was covered up.

And I bet a lot of people, like me, have used personal email for business when the servers at work went down, or any number of other reasons.
posted by emjaybee at 12:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


She knew the NSA had backups of everything, anyway.
posted by uosuaq at 12:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


Amazing to me that everyone is upset over this but have seemingly forgotten about Sarah Palin doing the exact same thing, and IIRC, gave Sarah pretty much a free pass over it and instead went after the guy who guessed her email password.

I expect better from Hillary Clinton than I do from Sarah Palin.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:17 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


And I bet a lot of people, like me, have used personal email for business when the servers at work went down, or any number of other reasons

Sure, and so have I. But I was never planning to run for president, and absent getting involved in litigation (unlikely), I never expect my emails to be requested. The Secretary of State, especially Hillary Clinton, who has been subjected to an insane amount of public scrutiny over the last 20+ years, though -- she absolutely knew her email would be requested, and any anomalies would be blown up into a big thing.

Which is exactly what happened.
posted by suelac at 12:17 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Isn't it amazing just how scared the GOP is of Hilary Clinton?
posted by eriko at 12:18 PM on March 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


And yet, if she gets the nomination, she'll still be light-years better than whoever the Republican Clown Car spits out.

Repeat ad infinitum for the next 20 months, rinse, pray that she doesn't decide not to run, rinse, repeat ......
posted by blucevalo at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem with her supposedly turning over any requests for emails is that this is not her call to make. It does not matter what she turns over, if she has the ability to ignore parts of such requests. Her actions as SecState are public, and should only be barred from release under the proper exemtions, whatever they are.

It does not matter that other SecStates used personal email, or that Sarah Palin did. None of them should be using personal email.

So she had a private email host. That guarantees exactly no security. Is she hiring security people to run her email servers out of her own pocket, or is it funded by the State IT department? Does she have physical access to the servers? Were those security people, assuming it's not gov't employees, vetted by the federal government and holding a security clearance? Who was making sure that the emails were archived properly according to the FRA?

The fact that she set up a new account the day of her confirmation shows that it's not your normal misguided "i want to keep the same email because I have contacts/etc", which is not as bad. This is a wilful effort to get around the policies and practices of the federal government.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [36 favorites]


This is a real scandal if only for the security risk of this.

Honestly, not really. Sure there's a security risk in theory, but in practice if you think that whatever bozo contractors the White House has running their IT will do a better job on security than Google/Yahoo/whatever service she used, I have a very insecure bridge to sell you.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Though if it was some homespun mail server type situation, then yeah, that's a disaster).
posted by Itaxpica at 12:26 PM on March 3, 2015


Security-wise, for all we know, it was as well-encrypted as her government account. It was under clintonemail.com, apparently.


We don't know, but there are a lot of questions to be asked there. For instance what kind of background checks did the private IT staff responsible for protecting all the communication of the American Secretary of State have? How much training and experience did they have with securing a server against international spy agencies that would see it as a very high value target? Did they have tools that would allow them to view the e-mails in plain text themselves?

Ultimately though, even if she got the best of the best and gave them a more thorough check than the government standards I just don't think it's her job to decide what an adequate amount of security is for those emails. It's not her area of expertise.

This is going to drag out and be investigated, and it should be. If she broke no laws or rules and was following standard practices, this is still a scandal. Just not one it would be entirely fair to blame her for. We are post Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, we can't treat IT security like a joke.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:26 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is a wilful effort to get around the policies and practices of the federal government.

The policies that were created two years after she left office?

The only requirement is that they be accessible to the Archives people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Isn't it amazing just how scared the GOP is of Hilary Clinton?

Not as scared as Obama was, which is why she's largely been through the worst people can throw at her; that is, except for post-2008, SoS fiascoes. Again, why assume it's the GOP and not liberal Democrats driving some of this? The NYT doesn't exactly carry the Republicans' water.
posted by resurrexit at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure there's a security risk in theory

Edward Snowden had to go on the run because circumventing security is apparently traitorous. What's her excuse for getting around the same set of laws?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Raise your hand if you think she's conducting official SecState business using this channel...meaning don't they have staff for anything real?
posted by sfts2 at 12:30 PM on March 3, 2015


Amazing to me that everyone is upset over this but have seemingly forgotten about Sarah Palin doing the exact same thing, and IIRC, gave Sarah pretty much a free pass over it and instead went after the guy who guessed her email password.

Yes, but in fairness, unlike Hillary, Sarah Palin is actually stupid.
posted by Ratio at 12:30 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Edward Snowden had to go on the run because circumventing security is apparently traitorous. What's her excuse for getting around the same set of laws?

I'm no lawyer, but I think intentionally releasing classified documents to the world might be slightly different than failing to follow regulations for sending email that were passed after you left office.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:33 PM on March 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


The NYT doesn't exactly carry the Republicans' water.

Judith Miller to the white courtesy phone, please, Judith Miller.
posted by Gelatin at 12:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


But it appears she did keep them. And is now turning them over.

Would there be a way to confirm that this was actually the case? I thought the transparency issue was supposed to provide some sort of third-party confirmation that knows where the emails are, they are all accounted for, etc. What would keep someone with nefarious intent, or a desire to not be transparent, from selectively turning in emails from a private account?
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Surely the NSA has all of these emails.
posted by the jam at 12:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is a wilful effort to get around the policies and practices of the federal government.
The policies that were created two years after she left office?

The only requirement is that they be accessible to the Archives people.


So first of all, it certainly doesn't seem like they were accessible to the Archivist, at the level that they should be. Second, the thought that an email wasn't considered a government record in 2009 is incredible. Look at something like this, the Records Disposition Schedule. They clearly talk about the Secretary's correspondence - aka email - and how they should be archived. It's written in 1999.

MAYBE. MAYBE she is turning over every last email. MAYBE she is using security clearance-allowable IT staffers training in dealing with a industrialized state-level APT. MAYBE she has never deleted anything from her emails. That's a lot more maybes than I like.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:38 PM on March 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm not saying she wasn't making a mistake, as I said above. Saying, however, that it's wrong to castigate her for failing to comply with laws that weren't enacted while she was in office.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:40 PM on March 3, 2015


How could someone at such a high level be so stupid and, basically, lawless?

Yeah ... Coz historically attaining high levels of position and power has always been about being intelligent and law-abiding.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:40 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


And MAYBE we can get all the facts before we go speculating and turn this into some huge scandal.
posted by Twain Device at 12:41 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not sure why there's all this focus on Sarah Palin. There was a lot of controversy back in the day over her using a personal email address and she wasn't even Secretary of State of the United States of America. Furthermore, the personal email doesn't seem to be a Yahoo or a Gmail based one. Instead, Gawker revealed her email address to have been hdr22@clintonemail.com. Some places are reporting that the clintonemail.com domain was registered during her Senate confirmation hearings.
posted by enamon at 12:42 PM on March 3, 2015


I will admit that if we lived in the world I would like to live in, the one where the non-Clinton party hadn't actually changed its platform to "Implement Cartoon Villainy and Destroy All that Makes Life Worthwhile" I would be have more energy to be outraged.

Maybe there's a fire here? But we don't know that yet. Meanwhile, a roaring Tea Party blaze is going on outside of this situation. It's not that I don't care if something truly wrong took place. It's not that we shouldn't care about elected officials not managing their email properly.

It's just that there are only so many fires I can fight.

I'm going to disengage. I have nothing useful to say. I'm glad ya'll still have the energy for this. Keep some in reserve, because we are a long ways out from the next election still.
posted by emjaybee at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Who's ready for a new round of Benghazi hearings...
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:45 PM on March 3, 2015


The Federal Records Act amended the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Her actions were done to deliberately avoid complying with that act. The 2013 amendments were made in part because people were circumventing the act. The Bush White House email controversy happened because the Bush administration was using a private internet domain for their emails run by the RNC.

So the defense that the Federal Records Act was in 2013 might be correct. But what you have is someone knowingly, flagrantly pulling a loophole around the intent and spirit of the Presidential Records Act, in a way that has caused scandals in the past. Try to defend her all you like, this is still really dirty and a big "fuck you" to transparency, any way you slice it.
posted by naju at 12:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [32 favorites]


Maybe there's a fire here? But we don't know that yet.

What difference does it make anyway? The Republicans will treat it as such, though it has to get in line behind Benghazi!!1! And the so-called "liberal media" will trot it out to "balance" any dirty laundry they don't outright ignore -- see Romney's entire term's worth of deleted emails, above -- of whichever Republican candidate emerges from the clown car.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess I feel of two minds about this: (1) Yes, Secretaries of State (all politicians, really) want to have their own email domains for political purposes, so we can't pretend that Clinton's (or Powell's, or Palin's) actions were simple mistakes or even net good for the country, vs. net good for them. On the other hand (2) I have a hard time caring about Clinton scandals anymore, after like 20 years of them. The Clintons could go on national TV and kill someone in front of a live studio audience, and if I read about it in the NY Times I'd assume it was a hit piece. Maybe this is just rank, modern cynicism.
posted by muddgirl at 12:48 PM on March 3, 2015


What's her excuse for getting around the same set of laws?

She's rich and powerful, just like David Petraeus
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:49 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Furthermore, the personal email doesn't seem to be a Yahoo or a Gmail based one. Instead, Gawker revealed her email address to have been hdr22@clintonemail.com. Some places are reporting that the clintonemail.com domain was registered during her Senate confirmation hearings.

It could still be gmail or a similar service. I have a domain registered that gives me an @domain address that still works through gmail.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:51 PM on March 3, 2015


Actually I wonder if there's a possible Hatch Act violation in there.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the clintonemail.com domain is maintained, in part, by public servants. This is not unreasonable - it would allow the State Dept to verify the security of the Secretary's email, etc etc. Therefore it is, in part, a government-funded item. And then, if Clinton used it to solicit funds for a partisan election (which I dunno about, because she hasn't run for anything, but maybe she fundraised for the 2012 election for someone?); then she's using government-funded property for partisan purposes.

Of course we will never know, because she wouldn't release those emails.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:58 PM on March 3, 2015


The fact that she set up a new account the day of her confirmation shows that it's not your normal misguided "i want to keep the same email because I have contacts/etc", which is not as bad. This is a wilful effort to get around the policies and practices of the federal government.

My email needs are relatively light, and I'm pretty tech savvy. And still those recent couple years where I was on a bad email system, with a bad VPN, it was less of a tool, and more of an impediment. I'd imagine it's very attractive for someone so reliant on email as a secretary of state or a governor to just use the tool they already know how to use, rather than spending a bunch of time fighting some arcane technology a contractor came up with 8 years ago, and every update since then had to go through a ridiculous bureaucratic process.

I'm kind of surprised that there's talk over who "discovered" this. Every single one of those emails said on it what address she was using. She wasn't doing this in secret. She may have been wrong about this, but I very much doubt she thought this was unambiguously illegal, or that it appeared flagrantly nefarious.
posted by aubilenon at 1:04 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money.

Or candy.
posted by snofoam at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


We've known about her email address since March 2013, when one of her advisors' accounts was hacked. Presumably we would not be hearing about this at all -- or any State Department policy changes -- had this not occurred and word got out to the press. A FOIA submitted two years ago brought up nothing -- i.e., as far as the government is concerned that account does not exist, or at least is not under FOIA-able jurisdiction.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dear clickbait,

2007 called. It wants its Bush White House email controversy back.

Here's your token "but Bengazi!" for the road.
posted by Dashy at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems odd that the Secretary of State wouldn't use a government email, but it also seems weird that she could be doing something super illegal when it is so easily visible.
posted by snofoam at 1:13 PM on March 3, 2015


So the defense that the Federal Records Act was in 2013 might be correct. But what you have is someone knowingly, flagrantly pulling a loophole around the intent and spirit of the Presidential Records Act, in a way that has caused scandals in the past. Try to defend her all you like, this is still really dirty and a big "fuck you" to transparency, any way you slice it.

This. Because our fourth estate is irrevocably broken, this is being covered primarily as a Presidential horse race story rather than focusing on the actual underlying problem of a Secretary of State conducting official business off the books using insecure channels, but I actually think it'll have very little effect on the horse race, as I think most Americans are cynical enough to realize that nearly anyone in the conversation for a Presidential nomination is already so corrupted by the system that they'd do the exact same thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


What difference does it make anyway?

You would ask it that way!
posted by spitbull at 1:17 PM on March 3, 2015


I'd imagine that the reason that she did this was specifically so that her emails wouldn't be subject to a FOIA request. Scott Walker (shudder) did just this, with a "secret" email system on a separate router.

I feel dirty now.
posted by St. Hubbins at 1:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was she able to synch her smartphone with government email accounts? Is it Clinton Foundation account?
posted by discopolo at 1:35 PM on March 3, 2015


Let's see, despite this being a major fuckup from the Clinton camp, the timing is all wrong for it to be any advantage to anyone running against her. If this was October 2016, it might have traction but a year and a half from now this story will be a sunken, dusty corpse. If I was a Republican I'd be furious at the timing of this.
posted by Ber at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


What difference does it make anyway?

As Ber notes, for the real politik of 2016, probably none. Longer term, alas, we will never know. And that does make a difference.

Because historians, historians like full records and the devilish details found within them, and for her tenure at State, historians will have to deal only with what her (political?) advisers choose to release. (By the same token, I'd like to hear the missing eighteen minutes from the Nixon tapes.)

No doubt a lot of the stuff is irrelevant, trivial, and tedious. No doubt a lot of the official records will prove irrelevant, trivial, and tedious. Full records tend that way. But if you have any interest at all in history, well, it would have been nice to know that she and hers did not get to make that call.
posted by BWA at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Scott Walker (shudder) did just this, with a "secret" email system on a separate router.

Suddenly, Jeb Bush's massive release of all his e-mail as governor of Florida looks a lot better thought out (and a bit more calculated).

Come to think of it, wasn't that around the same time that Jeb's campaign coincidentally announced it was hiring the guy who runs WSJ called "one of the most prominent Republican attack machines in national politics" that's been after HRC for all this time?
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Let's see, despite this being a major fuckup from the Clinton camp, the timing is all wrong for it to be any advantage to anyone running against her. If this was October 2016, it might have traction but a year and a half from now this story will be a sunken, dusty corpse. If I was a Republican I'd be furious at the timing of this.

I'm not so sure. Most of my lefty Democrat buddies who would consider voting for HRC are sort of in the "let's see who else we can find" camp today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:00 PM on March 3, 2015


I hope she doesn't make the same mistake when she's Sec of State for President Warren!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Federal Records Act amended the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Her actions were done to deliberately avoid complying with that act. The 2013 amendments were made in part because people were circumventing the act.

Not following the spirit of the law is not the same thing as circumventing it. You're making it sound like she wasn't complying with the laws in force at the time, which hasn't been shown to be the case.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


During the Bush administration, officials routinely used NRC supplied email servers for a huge percentage of their email communication.

Yes this is done explicitly to avoid FOIA requests and I think it's pretty much become de riguer in terms of Washington politics since then and probably has leaked down to the state and local level.

This also typically why almost nothing actionable is ever discussed via email and is instead handled via the "Let me just call you" or "let's schedule a meeting" method because politicians in particular do not want to leave any evidence that can be exposed by FOIA or e-discovery requests.
posted by vuron at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2015


And MAYBE we can get all the facts before we go speculating and turn this into some huge scandal.

After all, we can count on Fox to make sure this is a huge scandal even after everyone else has all the facts.
posted by Foosnark at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure. Most of my lefty Democrat buddies who would consider voting for HRC are sort of in the "let's see who else we can find" camp today.

There doesn't seem to be an anyone else, though, which I think is a lot of why everyone's just assuming Clinton is going for it. (I don't assume she's going for it, FWIW; I think she might, but will be completely unsurprised if she doesn't.) Sure there's kind of a circular thing going on there, but apart from Warren--who IIRC has made it really clear she's uninterested--who is there who is a) well-known enough, b) experienced, c) electable?

I realize that Obama largely failed on all three of those counts, at least in crystal balls. So maybe there is someone. I doubt it though--he was bubbling up somewhat for a couple years before declaring he was running.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:16 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Most of my lefty Democrat buddies who would consider voting for HRC are sort of in the "let's see who else we can find" camp today.

Then they're morons who shouldn't be trusted around sharp objects if this, this is the line they won't cross.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


The really depressing thing about this is how routine and widespread this sort of technically legal loopholing this is for nearly anyone who is viable. I'm personally not OK with any government official manipulating and working around the law in their own favor. How can we cheer for someone like that?

I want a honest-to-god by the people for the people government, with all of the transparency into our governance that requires. All we have succeeded at doing is inverting things so our governance has a completely transparent view into all of the citizenry while being completely unaccountable. And I don't see how that will ever change at this point.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sarah Palin only conducted some official business under her Yahoo account. Hillary, on the other hand, did not even have an official email account when she served as the Head of the State Department thus she did ALL of her official business over private email.
posted by I-baLL at 2:25 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


So did Colin Powell. What's the difference?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:28 PM on March 3, 2015


This was incredibly, epically stupid of her (or whatever advisor thought it up). Especially considering she's a lawyer, which means she knows how important documentation is, a former First Lady, which means she knows how important preserving the historical record is, and a former Presidential candidate, which means she knows how bad the optics of this would be once it inevitably came out. It makes Jeb Bush's email dump look genius, PR-wise. It's so stupid it makes me think she was more afraid of whatever was in those emails becoming public than she was of this story becoming public. Oh, Hillary.
posted by sallybrown at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


So did Colin Powell. What's the difference?

Colin Powell isn't the odds on favorite to be the next President of the United States.
posted by gyc at 2:31 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The fact that there is nobody other than HRC in the public conciousness is a gigantic problem. One of the reasons that Obama was so successful was because of grass roots efforts, and an excitement and energy that is absolutely lacking in today's democratic party. Hell, the only other person MOST people know - Warren - has stated repeatedly she won't run.

Meanwhile, you have people like Rand Paul stirring up shit and building support and excitement. To add to that, he would absolutely pull over many of the newly minted libertarian voters.

If it comes down to HRC and Paul, then be prepared to welcome President Paul. Regardless, we can look forward to a lot of sexist and hate filled commentary and lots of First Lady Bill jokes.

I am NOT looking forward to this cycle. I have been a fiercely dedicated voter - and I'm so close to just not giving any fuck whatsoever this time around. Which makes me wonder how those not as politically inclined feel....
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:32 PM on March 3, 2015


It's so stupid it makes me think she was more afraid of whatever was in those emails becoming public than she was of this story becoming public.

...well, except that she did turn over a very substantial number of email from her private account when requested, and allegations that any relevant emails have been held back are just that - allegations. The NY Times article is so vaguely written to imply impropriety when none has actually been shown.
posted by muddgirl at 2:33 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


How could someone at such a high level be so stupid

I may have some bad news for you....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:36 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


well, except that she did turn over a very substantial number of email from her private account when requested, and allegations that any relevant emails have been held back are just that - allegations

I may have been poisoned by years of litigation document production, but...any pre-vetted "turn over" isn't really turn over at all. I'm a big Hillary fan and I still wouldn't trust anything less than a 100% release of the entire account. And even then I would suspect some things might have gotten deleted.

Honestly, this is such a Clinton move. Play just enough into the loony right-wing narrative about you that it starts to seem halfway believable.
posted by sallybrown at 2:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


Colin Powell isn't the odds on favorite to be the next President of the United States.

That's irrelevant to the statement "she did ALL of her official business over private email."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:37 PM on March 3, 2015


Colin Powell isn't the odds on favorite to be the next President of the United States.

That's irrelevant to the statement "she did ALL of her official business over private email."


It's certainly relevant when we're debating not just the substance of the error, but the optics of it. Unlike HRC, Colin Powell wasn't looking ahead to a future presidential run.
posted by sallybrown at 2:40 PM on March 3, 2015




We don't know that he wasn't. And Clinton may well not be.

My objection is to holding Clinton up as though she has done something uniquely wrong, when in fact she has bettered at least one of her recent predecessors. As mentioned above, not only did Powell also use a personal email account--Kerry is the first SoS to use an official government account--but he also failed to provide any emails.

I don't deny that the optics are bad. I've said more than once in this thread that communications of government officials should be on the record. But there's a whole bunch of politicking going on to drum up a scandal where there really isn't one. She contravened no laws, it seems, and did exactly what previous SoS have done.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:45 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The NY Times article is so vaguely written to imply impropriety when none has actually been shown.

How would you go about showing impropriety in this kind of case? What are the steps that you would take in order to prove that Clinton didn't turn over all of the documents that are under her sole control?
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2015


Emails have recipients. Find an email from her account that's not in the disclosure. Alternatively, journalists have gotten pretty good at email forensics over the past 10 years. Do some of that.

Like I said, I'm not trying to defend Clinton's actions on, like, moral grounds. I don't think for one second that she wasn't trying to get around FOIA requests by doing this. Of course she was. I'm just sick of manufactured controversies based on vague allegations.
posted by muddgirl at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


sunlight laws substitute a fake accountability for a politics which is actually accountable, see: Clapper's testimony to Congress. the idea that government, unlike any other business or social enterprise, can be conducted without confidential communications is destructively naive, note: this is different from problems with confidentiality wrt the national security state.

facts:

1) Clinton's using a private email address did not violate any law
2) Clinton's use of a private email address to forward emails to state department servers did not explicitly violate state department regulations and was likely similar to the conduct of previous appointees i.e. Colin Powell.
3) Like Powell, Clinton used a private email server because she was thinking about running for president.

I say this as someone who hates Hilary Clinton passionately.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Kerry is the first SoS to use an official government account"

Wait, what? Where does it say that?
posted by I-baLL at 2:58 PM on March 3, 2015


In MartinWisse's link from above, here, quoting from WaPo.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:01 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is some genius HRC trick whereby, in response to calls to disclose all the emails, the Clinton campaign releases everything from the account and there is nothing the least bit improper or even juicy (Take that, Jeb!). I just don't want this to be a "Mitt Romney's taxes" moment that drags on and on and painfully on.
posted by sallybrown at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2015


Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail address at State reinforces everything people don’t like about her

The first point — that she and her staff get caught putting her above the law — that is going to be a tough bell to unring. I have to wonder if HRC's people pushed this out to the media now, so that they can minimize the damage and get in front of whatever other skeletons are coming.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


On the one hand calling this out in her case can be a bit hypocritical depending on the person doing the calling out. On the other I just don't even... I'm a middling developer in a corporation of middling importance doing middling and mundane work and wouldn't think to ever conflate my personal and professional addresses. No good can come from that. I don't even run them off the same email client because sending "IP" out on my personal account is an actionable offense and corporate IT has no business reading my commie pinko organizing personal email.

Maybe it's different if your public and personal personae overlap to the degree someone like HRC's does? But like I said, I just don't get why one would decide it is a good idea to do this in the setting she's in.

As for it impacting her electability--I can't see it convincing HRC supports to go elsewhere and the anti-HRC crowd is already about as rabid as it can get after decades of honing the hate.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2015


(By the same token, I'd like to hear the missing eighteen minutes from the Nixon tapes.)

Not going to happen, something about a foot pedal.
posted by clavdivs at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2015


Maybe this is some genius HRC trick whereby, in response to calls to disclose all the emails, the Clinton campaign releases everything from the account and there is nothing the least bit improper or even juicy (Take that, Jeb!)

In the meantime, here's Jeb's jab:
Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released. You can see mine, here. http://t.co/wZbtwd8O2j
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 3, 2015
Looks like the Bush camp wants this to be just as memorable (and protracted) as Mitt Romney's deleted e-mails.

This isn't the story by itself—it's the groundwork for attacking HRC if she appears to be anything less than totally forthcoming on any given topic pertaining to her State Department tenure.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:17 PM on March 3, 2015


Maybe this is some genius HRC trick whereby, in response to calls to disclose all the emails, the Clinton campaign releases everything from the account and there is nothing the least bit improper or even juicy

That's part of the problem though. If she sent her copy of Clinton Murder Target List 2010 to her hitsquad and then had it erased from a private system, a full release won't tell the whole tale unless the recipient wants to step forward. For something shady, that isn't likely.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:18 PM on March 3, 2015


It wasn't against policy if she forwarded the mail to a government account to archive it within 20 days. As security risks go, it is less secure in government hands. Best to archive it after one leaves.
posted by Brian B. at 3:27 PM on March 3, 2015


And I bet a lot of people, like me, have used personal email for business when the servers at work went down, or any number of other reasons.

Really? I never have. I'm not sure how your company would feel about this. No one in my personal life (other than my spouse) even has my corporate email address. Similarly, no one in my corporate life has my personal email address. Separation of the two is good for everyone.

If I had only used my personal email account for my corporate business, my employer would have had a shit-fit. If they didn't like me they probably would have thrown lawyers at me, forcing me to give over all of my emails to them so they could pour over them.

Look, the person that pays you to do work owns your work product. It's really really simple. This is true in government or private practice.

Maybe she broke the law, maybe she didn't. The fact that she orchestrated upon getting her new job this shows that she was engaged in highly unethical behavior specifically done to avoid accountability, transparency. Maybe she wasn't using that private email address for highly unethical (and illegal) things. We'll never know since it wasn't under control of the US government.

And the arguments "oh, these republicans did the same thing" is hogwash. It's hogwash when republicans try to use an example of bad behavior from a democrat to excuse their behavior, and it's hogwash now as well.

Seriously, imagine getting a new job, and then using a newly set up email address outside of your employer to conduct all business. When your boss calls you on this BS you hand over a 'selection' of the emails... "Oh, hey, I gave you *most* of the emails, and it's a big number, what's the big deal".

I can only pray she doesn't get the Dem nomination.
posted by el io at 3:33 PM on March 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Thought this was sleazy when the Bushies were doing it, think it's sleazy that Clinton did it--and somehow worse, I expect more from her, from us, from the non-completely-awful.

P.S.
Nonplussed means you don't know whether to shit or go blind.
It doesn't mean you're indifferent--it's the opposite of that.

When George Bush said that pursuing Osama bin Laden "Doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism" and later that "I don’t know where he is. I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you," I was nonplussed. Poleaxed. Flummoxed.

That theater scene in Brook's film The Producers after "Springtime for Hitler" has finished and the camera pans over the dead-silent, gaping, slackjawed audience? Nonplussed. Didn't know whether to laugh or cry. (Decided to laugh.)

It's a GREAT word that improper usage is flipping. Oxford Dictionary link.


From that source:

Usage Note: In standard use, nonplussed means ‘surprised and confused’: the hostility of the new neighbor’s refusal left Mrs. Walker nonplussed. In North American English, a new use has developed in recent years, meaning ‘unperturbed’—more or less the opposite of its traditional meaning: hoping to disguise his confusion, he tried to appear nonplussed. This new use probably arose on the assumption that non- was the normal negative prefix and must therefore have a negative meaning. It is not considered part of standard English.
posted by ssr_of_V at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


A note on security: Those that say 'maybe her email was as secure as the government' or 'the government doesn't know how to secure email', or 'email is always insecure anyways' (or sentiments of the like) I'll say this...

The US military uses PKI, it has it's own root CA's that it owns, and has a vast smart-card deployment for it's troops. The US govt is certainly capable of email security greater than any corporation I've ever seen (yeah, I've seen PKI in corporations, but not PKI that had private keys on smart cards). I don't know if the state department uses this level of security, but given it deals with classified information, it's possible that they are required to.

It would be great if the conversation about how the government can't secure email and her (random?) private provider probably could have done as good a job as the State department... Would end.
posted by el io at 3:57 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


This drives me crazy. As a low-level government employee, I spend (it seems like) a third of my time getting online training on ethics, computer security, conflict-of-interest avoidance, anti-racism, environmental-positive purchasing, anti-harassment , proper use of purchase cards, business travel and reasonable accommodation of differences. My co-workers and I often read of a scandal higher up in government and say to each other "Uh oh, we're going to have MORE TRAINING". It's as if when Ed Meese is unethical, I get punished.

I know perfectly well that I have to use my government email for all business.
posted by acrasis at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


But it appears she did keep them. And is now turning them over.


Appearances can be deceiving. But then it comes down to "WHY?"

We all have workplace emails. We are careful about it...why would we want workplace emails (especially with a .gov or .mil address) to go to a gmail.com addy?

So that when we "turn them over", we don't have to turn ALL of them over...just the ones that we want.

USA! USA!
posted by hal_c_on at 4:16 PM on March 3, 2015


The NYT doesn't exactly carry the Republicans' water.

In the never-ending war on the Clintons? Historically, they have.

I'm not fan of the Clinton's thirdwayism but I do temper this particular transgression with an awareness that they have living under a gamergate x 1000 level of harassment since the moment they got into the white house.
posted by srboisvert at 4:18 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't buy the malice theory - it just doesn't make sense, unless you assume the most incredibly incompetent and poorly-thought-out malice ever.

It seems like the main options are that she did it for mundane reasons, like convenience, or that she did it to hide diplomatically embarrassing e-mails from the public record.

Surely there is a mechanism for her to just render certain communications top-secret, even (or especially) via government e-mail? Weren't we hearing all about how the "top secret" classification is massively overused even for routine documents a couple of years ago?

Or if there isn't such a mechanism, wouldn't she find a way to hide it anyways? For example, if she used her government account for normal things, she could just switch to gmail (or the telephone) for her super secret arms deals with North Korea or whatever, then this news story never would have happened.

I think a more likely theory is she didn't trust the government e-mail - too many IT underlings who know that they have access to high-level officials' e-mails. All it takes is one crazy tea-partier assigned to the IT department. At least in gmail, she probably has the benefit of some obscurity.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:47 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


A source alleges that at least two of Clinton's aides at State (including Huma Abedin) also used personal accounts for work-related correspondence.
posted by sallybrown at 4:49 PM on March 3, 2015


>Then they're morons who shouldn't be trusted around sharp objects if this, this is the line they won't cross.

Morons you say? Because they have reservations about voting for yet another sure to be war criminal-in-chief?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:52 PM on March 3, 2015


It seems like the main options are that she did it for mundane reasons, like convenience, or that she did it to hide diplomatically embarrassing e-mails from the public record.

Um, yeah, that's my definition of malice. That she wouldn't want to be held accountable for her actions and wanted to hide her public activities from historians and her future officeholders. It's not like sensitive diplomatic discussions would be public record when she left office; we still have stuff classified from WWII. But now future historians may *never* know what she did while in her government position.

Unacceptable.
posted by el io at 5:01 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The largest trove of documents Pfc. Manning provided to WikiLeaks was hundreds of thousands of State Department cables. WikiLeaks has released many of the documents on their website but didn’t issue a blanket release as they had with the military incident reports. Still, because some newspapers have a complete archive of the documents, the most important information in the trove has been made public.

U.S. officials have said the release of the cables was the most damaging leak by Pfc. Manning, causing diplomatic headaches around the globe as the private stances of allied nations—which sometimes differed from public comments—were laid bare. Officials have said the release of documents has made some nations more hesitant to share intelligence or work with the U.S. Defenders of Pfc. Manning said the release of the cables has provided important information about international affairs, and has helped prod democratic movements in the Middle East.

posted by Brian B. at 5:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, at first I felt like it wasn't a good comparison. But there might be some truth to it if private employees did have some form of access to unencrypted mail. It's essentially handing over very sensitive government content to a private person. We don't just want to charge Snowden for the stuff that the papers published, but also that he handed stuff over to them to begin with even if they kept it private. I'm talking some moral equivalence or at least irony here, I have no idea about any potential legal similarities.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:11 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't buy the malice theory - it just doesn't make sense, unless you assume the most incredibly incompetent and poorly-thought-out malice ever.

Unfortunately, the alternative explanation to "incompetent malice" here is just flat-out incompetence. I joined the corporate world in 1998, over ten years before Clinton became SOS, and got a work email address then. I don't recall if I was explicitly told, but it was pretty much common sense to me — in 1998 — that business email should be conducted via my work email address, not my personal email address. If Clinton wasn't acting maliciously, then it indicates a profound lack of common sense on her part, regardless of whether it was technically legal or not.

And the idea that government email might be "inconvenient" to use? In 2009? Really? 2009? Some of you must be misreading "2009" as "1989," because there's no other way that argument remotely makes sense.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:39 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have on occasion forwarded something (unclassified) from my government email address to my personal one to read at home. I have had thoughts at home about work that I emailed myself so I wouldn't forget. I've had my last-minute travel orders emailed to me at my personal address on a Sunday night.

I have never actually conducted government business with my personal email, and can't imagine why I would even want to. If I were a paygrade higher, I'd be carrying around a blackberry that can do government email anyway. The convenience excuse doesn't even really wash, unless you're trying to read Secret or TS documents that your blackberry can't access. (In which case, WTF)

It's got to be a schmoozy status thing, like movie stars have the phone the office answers for peons, and a private line you can call if you're one of the cool kids. Like "hey, you're so important, don't bother with the .gov address. Here, take my personal one. Email me anytime." (With a side of "I'm the Secretary; I do what I want" to impress the other person more.)
posted by ctmf at 5:46 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I hope Joe Biden is gassing up the Camaro. Might be time for a spring break road trip to Iowa.
posted by spilon at 5:49 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


sallybrown: A source alleges that at least two of Clinton's aides at State (including Huma Abedin) also used personal accounts for work-related correspondence.

Christ, I can't imagine what's going on over at Fox News now that the MUSLIM! aide to HILLARY CLINTON! and wife of ANTHONY WEINER! has been tied to this. If they somehow manage to connect this to BENGHAZI!, there are going to be a whole lot of Rupert Murdoch minions needing to see their doctors due to erections/ladyboners lasting more than four hours.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am an (non-government) archivist who works closely with educating my institution on records compliance issues as it pertains to state public records laws, and it's really damn depressing to see how bipartisan the issue of "transparency for thee but not me" is, and how it's readily adopted and then discarded by both parties when it's politically convenient.

Palin and Walker and the Bush WH doing this does not negate the appalling nature of HRC's actions one bit. As commenters upthread have noted, federal guidelines defining email records, and the need to store emails on recordkeeping systems has been around since (well before) HRC was SoS. Saying "oh, this isn't a big deal because NARA didn't issue a specific statement about personal email until after she left office" is being very (almost deliberately) blind to all the previous guidance related to federal records law.
posted by mostly vowels at 7:50 PM on March 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


> I'm not saying she wasn't making a mistake, as I said above.

This isn't "a mistake" - it's absolutely clear that Ms. Clinton deliberately chose to bypass regulations, deliberately did all her business on a new account she set up just for this purpose.

To claim this "just somehow happened" is an insult to our intelligence and hers. The fact that other idiots and war criminals have done this before doesn't at all make it anywhere near right. She deliberately cheated - she deliberately hid a huge amount of information from her employer - that is, We The People - for reasons which one can only speculate on but can't be good.

Shame on her. If "integrity" were something that American voters really cared about, this would be a deciding issue in the primaries. But it won't be.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:48 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am actually responsible for compliance myself - I've written and enforced policy for private organizations, including many that do business with the fed and the state. I've prided myself on treating (*edited for typo) compliance as an effective tool for maintaining organizational integrity and success (god that sounds buzzwordy, sorry) as opposed to simply "that thing that you have to do."

I advocate transparency into our systems and processes for a very simple reason - It becomes very clear who is accountable for things, and what may be going wrong -- but more importantly, it serves as an incredibly effective tool for ensuring that others trust you, and it covers your ass at the same time. The absolute worst thing that could happen from this perspective would be for me to exempt myself from my own policies. Up there with it is for anyone in the upper echelons to do so. That rot and corruption spreads rapidly.

What's hilarious is that if this was something like - say, PCI compliance for a merchant and something similar to this happened with a large merchant, the chances of losing the ability to process cards are NOT low- It's a significant business risk. But high ranking officials of the fucking country do it, and it's "totally no big deal, and technically not breaking any law."

Fucking etsy is more accountable in this regard than our own countries leadership. Fuck that. This whole thing about being accountable to nobody and hiding shit, nothing else.

While I do NOT agree with the "if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear" when it comes to the citizens and the absolute intrusiveness of our surveillance state into our lives, I ABSOLUTELY believe in it when it comes to governance. Suspicion at this level destroys the integrity and belief in the system as as whole, and once the rot sets in, it is very difficult to excise.

This is purely a nonpartisan abuse of power issue and it's absolutely sickening to me as someone who really yearns for - as I mentioned above in the thread - true transparency in governance.

I know, pipe dream....
posted by MysticMCJ at 8:56 PM on March 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


The AP is now reporting that she originally ran the email server out of her own home, configured by some guy named Eric.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:35 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not fan of the Clinton's thirdwayism but I do temper this particular transgression with an awareness that they have living under a gamergate x 1000 level of harassment since the moment they got into the white house.

They do not, however, seem to have responded by ensuring that they are squeaky-clean at every juncture, and instead seem to be quite comfortable edging close to the boundaries (and sometimes crossing them) despite the scrutiny and harassment.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:03 AM on March 4, 2015


Then, in July 2013, five months after she resigned as secretary of state, Clinton's private email server was reconfigured again

Brilliant. So that likely takes care of the incoming email logs as well, if "Eric's" server was disposed of afterwards. No way that was a coincidence.

President Barack Obama signed a bill last year that bans the use of private email accounts by government officials unless they retain copies of messages in their official account or forward copies to their government accounts within 20 days.


This is a fucking worthless law because it is entirely unenforceable. Additionally, one of the signs of a truly accountable system is that it is non-repudiable - This is the opposite. Basically, if you wanted to put out security and accounting compliance policy that was designed to look like it is accomplishing something while actually doing nothing whatsoever, this is how you do it - It becomes trivially easy to do a form of "selective voluntary compliance" to look as if you are being transparent with no actual way to see if that is the case or not.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:52 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


The more I read about this (and anything involving the upper echelons of the US government recently), the more I want to engage in what some of us have started to refer to as "head-desking"

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a head slamming on a desk, forever.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:56 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not fan of the Clinton's thirdwayism but I do temper this particular transgression with an awareness that they have living under a gamergate x 1000 level of harassment since the moment they got into the white house.

It will be extra hard for Hillary Clinton to make any inroads into the millions of people who grew up while Rush Limbaugh was the AM radio king of politics. Ordinary kids came to playgrounds and heard lurid stories of the Clinton's plotting to overthrow America (aka Canadian healthcare). The problem is that as adults they won't remember how or why they ever learned to hate the Clintons.
posted by Brian B. at 6:08 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Follow-up from the NYT this morning. It would seem that Clinton staffers turned over a selected set of her email to the State department late last year, and that State has not been including them in FOIA searches, but now says that it will.
posted by whir at 6:24 AM on March 4, 2015


This is so whatever. The Repubs have absolutely nobody who can compete with her. I can't wait for the debates. Hillary 2016!
posted by ReeMonster at 6:59 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really, really think there's a good chance Hillary does not get to the debates.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:03 AM on March 4, 2015


I really, really think there's a good chance Hillary does not get to the debates.

Perhaps, but the email controversy actually helps her because the right-wing smear machine can only frame issues in good versus evil for their purposes (government regulations tending towards evil) and the emails were not destroyed. Highlighting her concern for privacy will only underscore their disappointment as information goes. Also, Jeb Bush recently packaged his emails for public consumption and showed them off, carelessly leaving in sensitive personal details about others for fraudsters to see, and it nearly backfired. In the new climate of ultra-privacy, sanitized correspondence crafted for the public is missing the point. To be sure, Hilllary Clinton has plenty to hide, namely major diplomatic deals and sensitive secrets she was working on with shakey foreign governments. The more people claim she must be hiding something, the more competent she becomes.
posted by Brian B. at 7:32 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really, really think there's a good chance Hillary does not get to the debates.

Because of this? Or a scandal? Health issues? Warren or Biden beat her? I'd love a better candidate with a realistic chance of winning the presidency, but she's a big favorite to get the nom.
posted by chris24 at 8:03 AM on March 4, 2015


The quote from the Washington Post reads:

"The State Department said Clinton’s successor as top diplomat, John F. Kerry, is the first secretary to use a standard government e-mail address ending in “state.gov.”"

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-used-private-e-mail-for-government-business-at-state-dept/2015/03/02/275d13d8-c156-11e4-9271-610273846239_story.html

Which is a very weird phrasing.
posted by I-baLL at 8:05 AM on March 4, 2015


The only way Hillary won't get to the debates is if she chooses not to run or if some other scandal with about 100x more firepower comes along. The Democratic Party would be up shit creek if Hillary decided to drop out, in terms of planning and strategy.

That being said, the fact that she and her team created a totally unnecessary scandal here does not bode well for the general. Neither does the fact that it's been two days and they have yet to release a response.
posted by sallybrown at 8:06 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah! Got it! The confusion comes from a misunderstanding or something of this daily press briefing quote from yesterday:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/03/238132.htm

"Secretary Kerry is the first Secretary of State to rely primarily on his State.gov account."

I'm going to read more of this press briefing later as the bits and pieces that I glanced over is reminding me of Ari Fleischer.
posted by I-baLL at 8:17 AM on March 4, 2015


"The AP is now reporting that she originally ran the email server out of her own home, configured by some guy named Eric."

Holy crap, when I saw this comment above I thought it was a joke but it wasn't! So I started reading the article and noticed this interesting tidbit of information:

"n November 2012, without explanation, Clinton's private email account was reconfigured to use Google's servers as a backup in case her own personal email server failed, according to Internet records. That is significant because Clinton publicly supported Google's accusations in June 2011 that China's government had tried to break into the Google mail accounts of senior U.S. government officials. It was one of the first instances of a major American corporation openly accusing a foreign government of hacking."

So does that mean that the emails were fully backed up to Google? Or that Google would only get incoming mail when her home mail server went down?
posted by I-baLL at 8:54 AM on March 4, 2015


I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but..why/how is this only breaking now?

Why didn't someone notice in the first month of her term as SOS that all her emails were from "hillary@yahoo" or whatever? It doesn't sound like she was trying to hide that she was sending emails, period.

I'm just having a hard time viewing this as a scandalous cover up when... the very act of sending the emails, in the moment, created a trace of what she was doing. Why didn't anyone make her stop or "break" this story before now?
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:51 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


So does that mean that the emails were fully backed up to Google? Or that Google would only get incoming mail when her home mail server went down?


When I see something like "using a server as a backup in case of email failure" I tend to think it's the latter. When you set up what server gets email for a particular domain, you do this via a MX record in DNS - This is effectively a listing of servers and priorities. Any server at a higher priority (lower number) will be tried before one at a lower priority. If servers share the same priority, then they will be selected in a round-robin fashion.

It's possible that she had her personal domain set up on google at a lower priority - Meaning she'd have two places to check mail, unless she had the gmail accounts forwarding to some secondary address that would eventually come into her own server. But that seems like it wouldn't buy much, because email is designed to handle outages fairly gracefully - If a server is unavailable, it will try again later, up to some configurable amount of time. If this was the scenario, then google would only kick in when her email server wasn't available.

It's entirely possible that she simply had google as the first recipient as well, forwarding to another mail server. This would mean that google did indeed get a copy of everything - It also would mean one place to check, google. It's possible to use the home server as more of an "archival" server in this scenario if you do not retain email on google servers.

But all of this is guessing. Like everything else with this, we'll never know, because there's no longer any record of it. Which is the whole point of this.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:01 AM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why didn't someone notice in the first month of her term as SOS that all her emails were from "hillary@yahoo" or whatever?

There appears not to have been a precedent of SOSs using state.gov addresses. Anyone she was dealing with presumably just figured "Okay, this is just how State does it."

Why didn't anyone make her stop or "break" this story before now?

In re breaking the story, see above -- this wasn't really a thing that anyone in the know would think was weird enough to tell a reporter.

In re making her stop, I'm trying to think of anyone who can successfully make Clinton do anything and coming up short. Even if Obama had pressed her on it at the time (reports are that she set it up around her confirmation), what's his ultimatum? He's going to dump the second most visible person in the administration and his symbol of party unity because of her email address?
posted by Etrigan at 10:29 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




"Perhaps, but the email controversy actually helps her because the right-wing smear machine can only frame issues in good versus evil for their purposes (government regulations tending towards evil) and the emails were not destroyed. "

The emails were not destroyed? What makes you say that? Her assurances? Regardless, there are still emails that she didn't hand over to the government. So, according to her, she's just hiding the rest of the emails, she didn't destroy them.

Also, while the US public will apparently never see some of these emails (which to me are by definition the interesting ones), there is a good chance that Chinese intelligence has these.
posted by el io at 10:42 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


there is a good chance that Chinese intelligence has these.

While I don't know if I'd explicitly say Chinese, you hit upon yet ANOTHER thing we'll never know - Who all attempted to access the platform (and who succeeded.) Yet another reason to not arrogantly disregard policy.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


MysticMCJ: I picked the Chinese, because they have the most active, advanced offensive cyber-'warfare' capabilities of any nation state outside of the US, and it's known to be quite active. But yes, it's also true we don't know what other intelligence agencies (/gifted groups of reckless hackers) has access to these emails.
posted by el io at 11:06 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




> He's going to dump the second most visible person in the administration and his symbol of party unity because of her email address?

NO IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT EMAIL ADDRESS SHE USES!

She stole information from the government - information that by law belongs to the people, some of it classified information. She didn't even copy the information - she took it entirely, leaving We The People with nothing at all.

After it was pointed out to her that she'd stolen the information, she slowly and grudgingly replaced some portion of it. We will never know how much she stole, how much she deigned to give back and how much she's kept.

If you or I did this we'd go to jail for decades.

And this isn't some obscure government rule. I work for a regular sort of company. I do all my business for them on their email address. If I leave, they get to keep all the work I did, some of which is that email. If I started squirrelling away emails and using my own personal server in my basement for email records, I'd get a talking to, and then I'd be fired. All organizations do this.

Hillary Clinton stole government property - perhaps not by the strict legal definition of theft but certainly by the ethical and practical definition of "Taking something away from its owner without their permission." If ethics were a significant issue, she'd never work in government again.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:55 AM on March 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, I wasn't trying to dismiss the Chinese - They are certainly responsible for the most focused and persistent targeted threats. With someones home-grown server, if they weren't entirely on top of their security game, they could have been victimized by drive-by scripted attacks from China, Russia, Estonia, India, Romania - You name it. It's absolutely astounding to see the logs on how much shit gets thrown at you just for having a public address go live on the internet. Especially fun on an environment like Amazons EC2, where addresses are recycled often.

One particular advantage that a government email system would have is that - in theory - they would be amongst the first notified in event of a critical security flaw- well before it is released to the public, thus giving them a chance to mitigate it before it is too well known. I am not saying that it happens that way, nor am I saying that is responsible disclosure - but I would expect them to be more on top of the game than Rando McGentoo and his email server.

One particular advantage you would also have with both governmental as well as most large-scale email systems is 24 hour coverage from a support and response perspective, and ideally the ability to respond more rapidly to an event, or to patch a zero-day vulnerability.

I used to run my own email servers. A few years back, I decided that it absolutely wasn't worth it for myself personally, as well as for most small-to-medium organizations. The main driver of this was spam, but another driver is how much managed solutions have changed, and come down in price as well - and as many of them have attempted to target those who are seeking PCI, HIPPA, and other compliance objectives, they have provided very sophisticated yet simple to use controls. Many of them will automatically turn on some VERY sane defaults for you anymore.

Interestingly enough, this is something that Exchange basically hands everyone else their asses on these days - The amount of compliance tools and accounting available on the platform is staggering, and their security record has arguably been very good as of late (past the scourge of early-to-mid 2000s MS vulnerabilities).

I'd argue that you would be much more secure and resilient these days with a dedicated, hosted solution that gave you control of the encryption keys than you would trying to build your own solution as an individual. If you wished to do so as an individual, there are proven Exchange solutions, or you can pair open source solutions with commercial anti-spam solutions - but only if you REALLY know what you are doing, and at this point, it would be more expensive than a hosted solution.

There are many moving parts to email. Outside of perimeter security and spam, there is:
- authentication of sent email (via SPF and DKIM, the latter of which is not for the inexperienced)
- Authorization of sent email via relay controls - This becomes complex in a mobile or remote environment
- email encryption from sender to receiver via over the wire via TLS/SSL. So laughably few people do the latter, even fewer with verifiable certificates
- Mobile email in a secure fashion- Again, exchange DESTROYS an imap/pop solution in this regard.
- Account security, such as password and lockout policies, if your passwords are kept in a simple file, a database, or a more complex and secure system such as Kerberos
- Data encryption for the inbox and email content itself, admittedly pretty irrelevant if both sides aren't using it.
- Data-at-rest encryption if you are attempting to prevent someone from simply stealing the server/drives and gaining access to the data that way - and almost nobody does this right, because they usually load keys automatically from the server itself or some other trivial method.

And this is just off of the top of my head, without even getting into things like write-only offsite logging, secure backups, more detailed audit trail, etc.

If you are trying to build your own mail server, and you are not taking at least these items into account, you are gaining nothing over many of the hosted solutions. I can also guarantee that unless you are over a few hundred people, it will be MUCH more expensive if you do try to address all of these items.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:59 AM on March 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


He's going to dump the second most visible person in the administration and his symbol of party unity because of her email address?

NO IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT EMAIL ADDRESS SHE USES!


I was answering the question (which I quoted) "Why didn't anyone make her stop or "break" this story before now?" The reason that no one made her stop was, as I said, A) she's Hillary Goddamn Clinton, and B) her being SoS was pretty important to the Obama administration. In the light of apparently every other Secretary of State in history not having used their @state.gov addresses, this doubtless didn't seem like a big deal to anyone.

Note that I am not saying that I agree with this. I am merely pointing out, as asked, why I believe that no one made her stop.
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Even if Obama had pressed her on it at the time (reports are that she set it up around her confirmation), what's his ultimatum? He's going to dump the second most visible person in the administration and his symbol of party unity because of her email address?

Well, yeah. Otherwise he gets dragged down with her for not putting a stop to it. It might have actually made him more appealing to some people if he was willing to dump her and wave it as a sign of his transparency.

I'm not trying to say she's not culpable in some way, just that I find it hard to believe that "no one knew" or knew she shouldn't do it or did ANYTHING about it, which means it was kind of a failure on a pretty grand scale that out-magnifies her moral failing.

You mean to tell me the freaking NSA/CIA/whatever can't figure out when the fourth in line to the presidency is using a proper email address, but we're supposed to trust them??
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:15 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


just that I find it hard to believe that "no one knew" or knew she shouldn't do it or did ANYTHING about it

Betting that the majority of people who could have done something about this didn't want to give up their own privilege to do the same.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The correct response to all of this would be an acknowledgement that while it was technically complying with the spirit of the law, it is also a widespread practice that we need to change - and a proposal of a requirement with some actual teeth in it.

Of course, that's a political non-starter because facts don't apply to modern political discourse, you can't make it a partisan issue, and you can't count on the people in power to voluntarily restrict their communication.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:23 PM on March 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just to add some levity to this whole story:

So I was talking to a friend about this last night, and I just realized a wonderfully droll troll that her e-mail sysadmin could have done. 55,000 pages of emails? That's what, 3 maybe 4 days of SPAM if you are following standard procedure to quarantine (rather than reject) those messages.

Wouldn't it be amusing to just send the SPAM file first. I have a feeling any archivist would rather shoot themselves than have to try and sort through that nightmare of garbled nonsense.

Anyway. I have a feeling the Clinton's did not hire the BOFH as their sysadmin. If they had, none of this would have ever come to light...
posted by daq at 12:34 PM on March 4, 2015




She stole information from the government

No she didn't. She has provided access to the emails as required by regulations. Personal email accounts are not forbidden, but work related emails must be copied either electronically or on paper to federal archives. That is what occurred. Only work related emails must be turned over, not personal email.

The emails were not destroyed? What makes you say that? Her assurances?

Those assurances are always the case. When a court subpoenas documents from a defendant, the defendant surrenders those documents. Nobody is allowed to go searching through your home or business for the subpoenaed documents. The subpoenaed entity is responsible for providing the required documents. (See for example the Microsoft and Goldman Sachs cases.)
posted by JackFlash at 3:07 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Those assurances are always the case. When a court subpoenas documents from a defendant, the defendant surrenders those documents.

I don't think that the Fourth Amendment should be the bedrock principle of government transparency.
posted by Etrigan at 3:37 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


You mean to tell me the freaking NSA/CIA/whatever can't figure out when the fourth in line to the presidency is using a proper email address, but we're supposed to trust them??

Perhaps this how they vet candidates. If you make it past the NSA without getting all your dirty laundry leaked to the press, perhaps means they trust you enough to hold the job, or at least run for the position.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:04 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been reading about the situation with the Nixon tapes to perhaps get a comparing or contrasting situation about this. Basically I've just come to the conclusion that I give no fucks anymore.

The best only option for 2016 Democrats had to go out of her way to hide her e-mail communication. A Republican President incriminated himself even when he was the one who ordered the damn taping.

If we actually recorded everything our elected officials said and e-mailed, the top levels would incriminate themselves faster than an unsuspecting mob boss who doesn't even know the wire is there. I'm done with pretending this kind of system can be worked with. I might vote third party, or I might just not vote this time. I'm done. I'm just done. Clinton is not getting my vote.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:48 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Vote third party. Always vote third party. Hopefully enough people will vote for a common third party that the third party will get federal matching funds for the following election.
posted by I-baLL at 7:05 PM on March 4, 2015


And in the meantime the Republicans will laugh all the way to control of Senate, House, and Presidency. There might be enough of a backlash four years later, but imagine--if you can do so without ending up in the corner a quivering mess--exactly what those four years would look like: constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. And, probably, abortions. Dismantling of EPA, education, separation of church and state. Defunding of anything science-related. Tax cuts to benefit the wealthy and bankrupt the nation. Repealing of the Affordable Care Act. Putting dinosaurs like that asshat in Alabama (Moore?) on the Supreme Court.

I get where you're coming from, I really do, and at the same time splitting the vote on the left is exactly the same as voting for whoever the Republican candidates are. Voting your conscience is all well and good if you look honestly at what the likely outcome is. Relatively speaking, not a lot of space vote-wise between Obama and Romney in 2012. And the Republicans have lurched even further into outright nation-screwing since then. Is it really such a great idea to hand the keys to the entire government over to them, in the hope that maybe next time around you might get funding for your third-party candidate?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and on reflection... wanna bet they'd write federal matching funds right out of law if it looked like a third party could actually make a go of it?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:08 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Annnd Naderism! Bingo!
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:49 PM on March 4, 2015


> No she didn't. She has provided access to the emails as required by regulations.

I think you missed the bit where I said that what she did might not be technically illegal, but simply deeply unethical.

I also think you're missing the bit where she didn't "provide access" until she was caught - rather like being caught shoplifting and then offering to put the item back.

As Secretary of State she has no ethical business sending emails from some personal account - none whatsoever. Again, if you or I did this in our job, we'd be fired instantly.

There's absolutely no accountability here. We have no possible way to know if what she's sending us is complete or if what she chooses to "provide access" to is only 10% of a much greater mass. It's deeply unethical and I can't see how anyone, Republic, Democrat or Martian, can possibly defend this as a good idea or the right thing to do.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:20 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Annnd Naderism! Bingo!

I'm sure you meant that as some kind of really sick burn, but come on. Am I wrong about a Republican-dominated government? Am I wrong that this hypothetical third party that would appeal to notionally Democrat voters would necessarily have to be somewhere to the left of Clinton? Am I wrong in thinking that splitting the left could have serious repercussions for the USA?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:28 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


If it comes down to Clinton vs. Jeb, Paul, or Walker, I will likely vote defensively for her for all of the reasons you mention FFF. But I can't say I'll be excited about it, or sleep well, or feel like we are on the cusp of change.

The thing about fighting a purely defensive battle is that it typically means you are losing. What I'd love to see is for the frustrated democratic populace take to storming the meetings of the local democratic parties and DEMAND change. Grass-roots action not for a candidate, but for beliefs. For the people.

Right now there is a ton of energy on the Republican side. Some of it is directed towards infighting, but thats good for them! Competition amongst potential candidates should ensure that whoever comes out of it will be stronger than they would have been otherwise - it may not seem that way on the other side of the fence, but think of how much energy there was in the democratic party 2008 vs now.

There is no competition on the Democratic side - and essentially no energy. How the hell can you expect anyone to come out in droves and vote if they feel like the choice was pre-ordained? Most people don't give a shit because they have little reason or initiative to engage anymore.

The more problematic source of energy is the anger that is driven by racism and fear that drives much of the voting within the Republican and tea party camps - many fed by blatant lies about what Obama is going to do to the internet/healthcare/gun rights/you name it. I see much of our on my feeds, having made the concious decision to observe those who post politically inflammatory things.

The only time I see a show of force of democratic voters is in the wake of something like Ferguson. We need to not just fight after we have already been beat down... we need to actively fight until there is no longer a need to.

Until the people come out in force, willing to fight for what they want, everyone in play will simply be pawns - get enough energy out there, and they can at least be pawns that act more in accordance with what the people want.

Barring that miracle, I have to vote for who will do the least damage. Do not forget the thin margins for Bush... your vote matters.

Veto power and supreme court appointments are NOT to be trifled with.

Full disclosure- Being a progressive in the middle of KY might be informing my opinions about the willingness to fight...
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:30 PM on March 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Veto power and supreme court appointments are NOT to be trifled with.

Yeah. That's kind of what I was trying to get at, you said it much better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:57 PM on March 4, 2015


The midnight tweeter strikes!

"I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible."— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 5, 2015
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:25 AM on March 5, 2015


(Technically, HRC seems to have posted this capitulation at 11:35 p.m, but Twitter's approach to time stamps has always been a bit loose.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:29 AM on March 5, 2015


Clinton email system violated clear State Department policy.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:52 PM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


By the same token, therefore, so did Powell. And yet, for some reason, utter silence from Republicans there. Yeah, okay, Clinton is the presumed nominee for President. But she hasn't declared, so right now she is in exactly the same spot as Powell: a former SoS who apparently broke policy.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:09 PM on March 5, 2015


By the same token, therefore, so did Powell.

The first line of TFA:
The State Department has had a policy in place since 2005
Date on implementation of the policy as linked in TFA: November 4th, 2005.

Date of Powell's departure from the State Department: January 26th, 2005.
posted by Etrigan at 5:22 PM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whoops, missed the specific dates.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:37 PM on March 5, 2015


Apparently the scandal doesn't even exist. From Lemurrhea's link above, which includes an update.

Spokespeople for the State Department and Clinton stressed earlier this week that the agency had “no prohibition” on the use of private email for work purposes.

Clinton said in a tweet Wednesday night that she wants the public to be able to see the emails she turned over to the State Department in December. But the agency said that a review process that includes seeing if the documents contain sensitive information could take some time to complete.

The 2005 policy says approved “telework solutions” satisfy the rule, which appears in a section of State Department regulations discussing “sensitive but unclassified” information — an extremely broad category of data. Former officials said a large volume of State Department paperwork and email falls into the swath of information known internally as “SBU.”

State Department rules say almost any information that could be withheld from a Freedom of Information Act request can be considered sensitive.

After this story was first published, a State Department official acknowledged the 2005 policy but emphasized that it is limited to records containing such sensitive information.

“Under State Department policy in the FAM referenced in news reports tonight, sensitive but unclassified information should be handled on a system with certain security requirements except in certain circumstances. That FAM policy pertains solely to SBU information,” the official said. “Reports claiming that by using personal email she is automatically out of step of that FAM are inaccurate.”

posted by Brian B. at 6:03 AM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


When people say she didn't even have an email account at State, are they just talking about the unclassified email?

I mean, I was just thinking, I have two navy.mil addresses. One of those is unclassified general email. I use both, but I can see how if almost everything I did belonged on the other system, I might wonder why I even needed the unclassified one.

Seems like a Secretary of State would have a pretty high proportion of business that was sensitive or classified. Maybe I'm over-rationalizing, but was she really sending cabinet level business through her personal email account? Or just stuff like hey, I'm going to need you to work Saturday?
posted by ctmf at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2015


"Spokespeople for the State Department and Clinton stressed earlier this week that the agency had “no prohibition” on the use of private email for work purposes."

Yeah, that was a total Ari Fleischer move:



QUESTION: Okay. So just to address one of the things you said. You said there was no prohibition on using --

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: Yeah, but on – in June 2011, Jay Carney said from the podium, quote: “We are definitely instructed that we need to conduct all of our work on government accounts as part of the Presidential Records Act.” So how do you square those --

MS. HARF: Well, those are different things. That’s the instruction, but there is no prohibition on using a non-state.gov account for official business as long as it’s preserved. That’s in – yes. Let me finish, Justin, and then you can, I’m sure, disagree with what I’m saying and ask more questions. So there was – I mean, the fact is there was no prohibition on this happening as long as it was preserved. I would point out that she has sent in those 55,000 pages. Those are now all part of the permanent record, a vast majority of which already was, given most of it was to and from state.gov addresses.

QUESTION: I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying. I’m saying Jay Carney --

MS. HARF: I don’t think Jay Carney is disagreeing.

QUESTION: It – well --

MS. HARF: He didn’t say there is prohibition; he said we are instructed to.

QUESTION: He said we’re instructed to conduct all of work --

MS. HARF: Right. He didn’t say there was a prohibition.



From:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/03/238132.htm
posted by I-baLL at 6:51 PM on March 7, 2015


So there was no prohibition on using her own email, and being the boss and all, she can pretty much determine the rules for herself on this one. If her boss, President Obama, actually cared, he could pick up the phone and instruct her directly, as her supervisor (like other supervisors apparently do to other employees, according to Jay Carney). I guess since Obama likely didn't do that (or fire her for ignoring it) and since it was pretty much public knowledge being published with each email, we have a dead issue here unrelated to actual performance of duties, and badly misused for political purposes.
posted by Brian B. at 7:47 PM on March 7, 2015


The Clinton emails: politics, governance, and the limits of transparency
The real problem here is that we expect the electoral process to do work for which it was not designed and is not well suited. The focus on accountability and transparency as mechanisms to prevent the abuse of power has developed over time. Presidents themselves have cultivated this emphasis on the people as the ultimate governing arbiter, which alone should arouse suspicion. My research on mandate claims illustrates how presidents have stressed the accountability and transparency implied by invoking election results precisely when they want to defend expansion of their authority. As a result of these efforts, a sense has developed over time that the main check on the executive branch is the people, instead of the other branches. After Watergate, a variety of “sunshine” policies went into effect for Congress as well as the executive branch, but it’s not clear that the important work of either institution has actually become more transparent or subject to meaningful public scrutiny.

For transparency to be effective at controlling government officials, someone has to be paying attention. The whole idea is that information should be available to the public, who can then use it to punish or reward at the ballot box. In this sense, the relationship between the governance and politics implications of the Clinton emails is actually the reverse of how we’ve been conceptualizing it. It’s not that the electoral process is impervious to transparency issues. It’s the lack of electoral repercussions that undermines the meaning of transparency laws in the first place.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:04 PM on March 8, 2015


According to Dan Metcalfe, who ran the DOJ's Office of Information and Privacy from 1981-2007, Clinton's defence of her actions were laughable.

note: the CBC article says he annotated a copy of her transcript. I can't seem to find it. Am I blind? Because it would be delightfully ironic if the CBC was withholding information on the topic.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:35 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The news conference at the UN went something like this.

I ran the server. The server was secure because it was physically secure. I decided to use one e-mail so I wouldn't have to have two phones, (What?). My counsel decided which e-mails were personal. Then after my lawyer decided which e-mails to turn over, I deleted the personal ones.

Wow. On the other hand she's the only the game in town.
posted by rdr at 1:15 AM on March 15, 2015


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