Email Moral Equivalence



Colin Powel was Secretary of State from January 2001 until January 2005. His successor, Condoleezza Rice was Secretary of State from January 2005 until January 2009. Both, in efforts to prevent co-mingling of their personal and professional correspondences, maintained private email accounts. Those were email “accounts” provided by third party vendors who made independent management decisions about security backup and preservation of email logs. They were not private servers under their personal control. Despite their efforts to separate the two lines of correspondence, some classified material found its way on to their personal account. The number of instances where this occurred is less than 20 for both Secretaries of State. The Blackberry was first released in 1999, the iPhone in 2007.

Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. By her own admission for the stated reason for her own convenience convenience, she set up private email with the express purpose of co-mingling her private personal and professional correspondence. She neither sent nor receive any email through the State Department account set up for her. Rather, she sent and received all of her government email using an email server under her direct control. She interacted with her email using a Blackberry, an iPhone and an iPad with unknown security features. When State Department safe guards prevented the flow of information to this server, her own email incriminate her as instructing her aids on how to circumvent those controls. When it was discovered that the State Department had no emails in her account, she was asked to turn over her emails. She refused. Before the matter could be resolved the server was backup up on to a thumb drive which was remanded to the custody of her lawyer. She then personally reviewed her emails and unilaterally decided what should be kept and deleted from the server. She admits to deleting by her account over 30,000 emails. She then ordered the server to be wiped (not with a cloth).

As it stands now, we are left “discovering” what official business HRC conducted on her private server only by review of State Department email that was either sent or received to her server. By last count, more than 3000 emails contained sensitive information. Over twenty of these contained information so sensitive that they could not be revealed even in redacted form. The FBI has embarked on a full criminal investigation (not a “Security Review”) and is attempting to recover emails from the wiped server as well as server log information that might indicate a security breach.

How on earth can anyone draw a morale equivalence between these two very different situations?