Controversy of the Day

The State Dept says Hillary Clinton was wrong to use a private email server

hillary clinton emails secretary of state

Hillary Clinton, when she was Secretary of State. (Flickr)

Hillary Clinton's private email scandal keeps haunting her in her race to the White House. Today a State Department audit faulted her for ignoring the rules and breaking federal policies for communication standards.

Explain in plain English please

Sure. This goes back to when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. She didn't only use a private email address when she had that job--she also set up and used a private email server. And there have been allegations that that wasn't OK and that it could have compromised sensitive intelligence.

And even when there were apparent hacking attempts on her private email server, she still didn't want to use official State Department email services.

Is this the first time this is coming up?

Nope. In 2010, concerns were brought up about her email practices, but the then-director of the Office of Information Resources Management brushed it off. Actually, he did more than brush it off: He directed the staff to never speak of it again.

And what does this new report say?

The thing is ... the review found zero evidence of any legal staff review or approval for Clinton's email server, and basically said if the request to have one had been made to senior officers, it would've been denied.

The report also concluded that there's been a history of communication issues, or as they called it: "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" that "go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State." In other words, other Secretaries of State have done had questionable email practices. It calls out Clinton specifically, though, for her private email server:

"By Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the department’s guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated. Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives."

Meaning that it doesn't really matter what her predecessors did--by the time she was SecState there were new rules, so she should have known better and done something different. Especially since a hacker tried to access her email.

What's Clinton's response?

In response to the whole audit thing, a Clinton spokesperson tried to play it off, basically saying, look, everyone was doing it.

Her supporters say OK, she messed up, but what she did was not illegal.

That claim may be slightly misleading, though. Only one other Secretary of State regularly communicated through email, and that was Colin Powell. While he did apparently use his personal email for official bizz, he didn't go as far as Clinton with a private server kept at home.

Could this become a big problem for Clinton's campaign? What do you think?

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The State Dept says Hillary Clinton was wrong to use a private email server

Christina Buff

Christina is a freelance writer from a tiny town in Southern Maryland who just can't seem to figure out whether others are being sarcastic or not. She has a degree in business communication, with a focus in writing, from Stevenson University, and has written things for Severna Park Voice, Maryland Film Festival, The Villager, and Hello Giggles. Follow her on twitter @tinaBUFF where she constantly overthinks her tweets, or read her medley of musings at touchinfinity.wordpress.com.

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