The Washington Post’s editorial board slammed Hillary Clinton
in an op-ed over her “inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules” when she chose to use a personal email account to conduct government business while at the State Department.
“The department’s email technology was archaic. Other staffers also used personal email, as did Secretary Colin Powell (2001-2005), without preserving the records,” the Post wrote. “But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications.”
The editors were referring to concerns raised by Clinton staffers and department officials over her use of a personal email account to send and receive work-related emails while she was secretary of state.
“On March 11, 2011, an assistant secretary sent a memorandum on cybersecurity threats directly to Ms. Clinton, noting a ‘dramatic increase’ in attempts to compromise personal email accounts of senior department officials, possibly for spying or blackmail,” the Post writes. “That didn’t stop Ms. Clinton either.”
Those warnings were revealed in a 78-page report released by the State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday, which faulted Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information and responding slowly to new cybersecurity risks.
The State Department investigation found “no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server.”
The report noted that “normal day-to-day operations [at State] should be conducted on an authorised Automated Information System (AIS), which has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information.”
The report also found that Clinton’s setup “did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” which requires that that anything relating to agency activity be captured on the department’s server.
The Post slammed Clinton for that, as well.
“There were also numerous notifications that some emails (but not all) are considered federal records under the law and that she should print and file those in her office and, before leaving office, surrender all emails dealing with department business. She did so only about two years later, in December 2014,” the editorial read.
Still, as Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon was quick to point out Wednesday, Clinton’s use of a personal email account as neither illegal nor unprecedented at the State Department.
Even so, the federal government has standards for how servers are built, how they are secured, and how their data is stored, and it is still unclear how much classified information was shared on the server or what particular safeguards were taken to protect it.
The Post, too, noted that while Clinton’s behaviour was “not illegal,” it was “disturbingly unmindful of the rules.”
“In the middle of the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters,” the Post wrote.
Clinton handed over her personal server to the FBI in August 2015, five months after she first admitted to exclusively using a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while she served as secretary of state. The FBI investigation is ongoing.
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