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2016 Postmortem

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(69,994 posts)
Mon May 30, 2016, 05:09 PM May 2016

NewsWeek==> New Hillary email report- Another monthly Nothing Burger [View all]

Puesto Loco

New Hillary email report- Another monthly Nothing Burger

........................Here’s what this new inspector general’s report shows: When senior State Department officials swam in the deep pool of email rules, there were basically no lifeguards on duty. The office for ensuring compliance with the federal rules on communications—staffed by the people who were supposed to be reading all the Federal Register procedures and policy statements—has been a horrifically underfunded, understaffed and ineffective group for many years, starting long before Clinton arrived at the State Department. As the report says, “Longstanding systemic weaknesses related to electronic messages and communications have existed within the Office of the Secretary that go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.… The Department generally and the Office of the Secretary in particular have been slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks associated with electronic data communications.’’

That means there were problems—lots of them. Many employees at the State Department not only used personal email accounts, they refused to use their government-issued laptops because they were lousy. A 2011 email cited by the report underscored this point. Written by the department’s former policy planning director and sent to Clinton, it said, “State’s technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”

With out-of-date equipment and poor support, plenty of mistakes were made. A good example is when Powell had a private internet line installed in his office so he could use his personal email account on his home laptop. Under the rules, the new line shouldn’t have been put in, but it was. Powell, like every other secretary of state, never read the entire Foreign Affairs Manual; he dealt with foreign crises, wars and international diplomacy while depending on the relevant staff to determine whether it was appropriate to put a jack in his wall.

Clinton’s personal email process was a far less clear-cut as a potential violation—and may not have been at all. The Foreign Affairs Manual allowed for the use of personal email accounts under certain conditions, but never described what those conditions were. (That is why one of the recommendations from the inspector general’s report is for the State Department to issue “enhanced and more frequent guidance on the permissible use of personal email accounts to conduct official business.”)

If Clinton’s account arrangement for nonclassified emails did not fit within the confines of that rule, none of the experts told her so. Clinton had groups of people responsible for overseeing her email operations, including one specifically dedicated to the job with the title "Special Adviser to the Deputy Chief Information Officer." He worked for Clinton throughout her entire term as secretary of state. In addition, the chief operations officer knew about the account, as did the deputy chief of staff for operations...............
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