Hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman show a communications staffer struggling to handle questions about Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, who worked with Clinton at the State Department and is now CEO of the think tank New America, emailed New York Times columnist Tom Friedman in March 2015 to defend Clinton’s use of the private server.
“All of this ‘she should have known, she must have known’ is ridiculous,” Slaughter wrote.
She continued: “The other thing I keep remembering is how you were still using an AOL account until very recently. Even as sophisticated a tech guru as you just sticks with what you know amid the constant pressures of a busy life. We all know there is a better system out there; we should switch, but it’s such a pain and we don’t have time.”
Friedman responded: “That all seems true to me, and yet… Even I evolved. I moved to gmail, got a Mac laptop, got rid of AOL. And I am not the Secretary of State, bound by very clear government regulations. I have to say I am troubled by what I have read about what Hillary did.”
Slaughter followed up with an explanation of why State Department staffers sometimes used private email for government business.
“Honestly, [off the record], EVERYONE I knew at State used our private email (I used Princeton) when we were out of the office (except for our blackberries, which were State issued) because it was so incredibly clunky and difficult to get onto the State system when we were not in the office (it was a complicated set of steps and the system always froze or crashed),” Slaughter wrote.
Friedman responded that Clinton “needs to get out there and say it and explain it.”
“I am sure she has a case to be made and right now it is her critics who are making it,” he wrote.
Slaughter then forwarded the correspondence to several Clinton advisers, including former communications aide Philippe Reines.
“There Is Just No Good Answer,” he responded. “We need to gut through the process phase, get them all out there and let the content do the talking.”
The emails were posted on the website WikiLeaks as part of the hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails.
The FBI investigated Clinton’s use of the private email server, but ultimately declined to recommend the Justice Department move forward with charges against her.
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