VP Pence used his personal AOL account for State Business
IndyStar, per FOIA request, obtained 29 emails originating from a personal AOL account the Vice President used during his incumbency as Governor of Indiana for state business.
“Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.”
Before you all blurt “FAKE NEWS,” hear me out. The emails were released to the Indianapolis paper by Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb after a four-month delay by the outgoing administration. No one denies the validity of the legally obtained emails, their contents or from whose AOL account they were derived.
The office of the Vice President issued a written statement late yesterday.
“Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account. As Governor, Mr. Pence fully complied with Indiana law regarding email use and retention. Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state consistent with Indiana law, and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”
Why choose Thursday to publicize the emails? What’s so special about this week? They are fair questions.
“The emails were obtained after a series of public records requests that the Pence administration did not fulfill for nearly four months before Pence left office.
The administration of Pence’s successor, Gov. Eric Holcomb, released 29 pages of emails late this past week. But it withheld others, saying they are deliberative or advisory, confidential under rules adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court or the work product of an attorney.
Holcomb’s office declined to disclose how many emails were withheld.”
A fair point as well is, Pence rightly called out Crooked Hillary routinely so that comparison will abound.
“Cybersecurity experts say Pence’s emails were likely just as insecure as Clinton’s. While there has been speculation about whether Clinton’s emails were hacked, Pence’s account was actually compromised last summer by a scammer who sent an email to his contacts claiming Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and in urgent need of money.”
Well, that’s not good. AOL is notorious for spam, scams and security failures.
“Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at computer security company WatchGuard Technologies, said the email accounts of Pence and Clinton were probably about equally vulnerable to attacks.
‘In this case, you know the email address has been hacked,’ he said. ‘It would be hypocritical to consider this issue any different than a private email server.'”
The Trump administration will likely argue the Vice President followed the law. They’ll assert that after the VP left office, his attorney’s transferred any public business emails from his AOL account to the government server to preserve for public record.
The other side will contend that Pence gave power to private attorneys to determine which of his AOL emails were government business and which were private – like yoga classes, perhaps. Plus, there are emails Governor Holcomb has identified as too sensitive for public disclosure. If too sensitive for the public to review, doesn’t that make them classified by some definition?
I honestly believe the Vice President did nothing illegal. Nonetheless, he will need to explain why using a private email account for public business is not irresponsible and negligent regardless of laws observed or good intentions.
Hey, RedStaters! Welcome to the WaterCooler. It’s RedState’s only Daily open thread. I know the Trumps are itching to tell me why I’m wrong. Enjoy!