Attempting to defend her use of a private email server, Hillary Clinton has sought to minimize the obvious security risk that doing so posed. She describes her system as “effective and secure,” and notes that it was “on property guarded by the Secret Service.”
Her campaign website proclaims:
The security and integrity of her family’s electronic communications was taken seriously from the onset when it was first set up for President Clinton’s team…
[R]obust protections were put in place and additional upgrades and techniques employed over time as they became available, including consulting and employing third party experts.
But Jeryl Bier, writing for the Weekly Standard, points out that following the WikiLeaks affair, then-Secretary of State Clinton was less sanguine about the security of personal email accounts. In remarks delivered at George Washington University in February 2011, she warned that “[h]ackers break into financial institutions, cell phone networks, and personal email accounts.”
Yes, they do. And the “upgrades, techniques, and third party experts” utilized by financial institutions are sometimes insufficient to thwart hackers.
Previously, in November 2010, Clinton had boasted that she “directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere, to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.”
An obvious action to protect State Department information would have been for Clinton to stop using a private email server. This would have ruled one important source of state secrets as a target for hackers. Yet Clinton kept right on using her own private server.
In May 2011, Clinton again expressed her understanding of threat inherent in communicating electronically and its national security implication. Asked by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie about her use of the BlackBerry, Clinton replied, “I have a lot of security restraints on what I can and can’t do, but I do try to stay in touch as much as possible, and electronically is by far the easiest way to do that.”
Sadly, “security restraints” did not restrain Clinton from transmitting classified material through an unsecured system.
In sum, even after WikiLeaks, personal “convenience” (actually, Hillary’s obsession with preventing her domestic adversaries from ever finding out how she operated) trumped protecting the nation from a security threat of which Clinton was well aware.