Hillary Clinton’s email controversy reached a new level today when new reports “surfaced that the former secretary of State relied on her own “homebrew” computer server to send and receive messages, despite apparent security warnings from government officials.” The National Journal,
The decision for a high-ranking government official to create a separate email service is something usually reserved for computer geeks and hackers worried about privacy and surveillance. But Clinton’s decision to forgo either a government or commercial email account is further stoking concerns that the nation’s former top diplomat may have been reckless about securing her communications…
So far, Clinton has been mum on the controversy, although her aides and the State Department have attempted to downplay the furor by saying no classified information was ever transmitted over email and instead always communicated in person, over phone or secure videolink—an assertion her critics have found highly improbable…
Barton Gellman, a reporter for The Washington Post who has access to the Snowden files, tweeted Wednesday that “it is not possible for a high-value target to secure a home-managed email server.”
Adding to Clinton’s email woes are new reports that Clinton was warned by State Department technology experts about the potential security vulnerabilities of using a private email service. But that “those fears fell on deaf ears,” according to Al Jazeera America, which cited an unnamed State employee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell advised states opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants not to implement the new bureaucratic rules in a new op-ed piece. Via the Daily Caller,
“The regulation is unfair. It’s probably illegal. And state officials can do something about it; in fact, many are already fighting back,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, wrote in an op-ed in the Lexington Herald.
McConnell is calling for states to hold off on implementing the EPA’s carbon dioxide rule until the courts have weighed in — a process which could take years. But a delay could be in hopes that a Republican is elected president in 2016 after President Barack Obama is term-limited out of office.
“Don’t be complicit in the administration’s attack on the middle class,” McConnell wrote. “Think twice before submitting a state plan — which could lock you in to federal enforcement and expose you to lawsuits — when the administration is standing on shaky legal ground and when, without your support, it won’t be able to demonstrate the capacity to carry out such political extremism.”
“Refusing to go along at this time with such an extreme proposed regulation would give the courts time to figure out if it is even legal, and it would give Congress more time to fight back. We’re devising strategies now to do just that,” he added.
According to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press, “the computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York.” The AP,
The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives…
Clinton has not described her motivation for using a private email account — [email protected], which traced back to her own private email server registered under an apparent pseudonym — for official State Department business.
Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.
But homemade email servers are generally not as reliable, secure from hackers or protected from fires or floods as those in commercial data centers. Those professional facilities provide monitoring for viruses or hacking attempts, regulated temperatures, off-site backups, generators in case of power outages, fire-suppression systems and redundant communications lines.
Hillary Rodham Clinton “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.” The New York Times,
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that 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. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013…
Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.