clinton-bioThe political left may want the media to let the Clinton email server story die but I think it highlights some of the more troubling aspects of our experience with the Clinton legacy.

While the most obvious reason Hillary Clinton would run her own email would be to gain control over archiving and public disclosure requests such as FOIAs and subpoenas, another possibility is that she wished to avoid snooping by right wing conservative activists within the NSA, such as a right wing Edward Snowden type.

Since there was nothing super secret about her use of the domain name, why not just use a discrete gmail account as others have done? It’s very possible Clinton’s team knew of NSA’s ability to snoop gmail. If true, it would mean that Clinton wanted to opt out of the domestic spying for which the Obama administration has continued to subject all of us to.

The best technical reporting I’ve seen thus far is, Clinton’s E-Mail Built for Privacy Though Not Security (Bloomberg), which seems to indicate that she may have used Microsoft products. Some expect that Microsoft’s products are also susceptible to NSA snooping – so it may be that the Clintons understandably wanted to minimize fallout from future right wing witch-hunts.

Yet, running her email privately shows arrogance for transparency and the public’s right to know the government’s business. Her team’s arrogance is clear in this week’s emails between her longtime aide Phillip Reines and journalists.

Her tweet that she wants the state department to release her emails is disingenuous at best and an attempt to deliberately mislead the public at worst:

Clearly, by running its own email server, the Clinton team had full control over which emails to turn over for public disclosure to the State Department.

Her tweet is so intellectually dishonest that it brings back to mind President Clinton’s famous, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Further, her decision to run state department business over private email servers shows a lack of sensitivity and political judgment to how Americans might perceive this action. It’s mind-boggling to me that anyone in the Clinton team would ever have thought this could be a good idea.

Worse yet, it shows a lack of technical acumen on her team. They thought they had the technical capacity to easily secure her server better than the U.S. government, which apparently they clearly didn’t. Political leaders like Clinton remain weak at grappling with the challenges and intricacy of technology – and it weakens their leadership and hurts all of us. Ultimately, there’s no way to know if she put state secrets at risk – this from a leader who advocated for prosecuting Chelsea Manning for leaking state department cables.

This story invokes many of the worst aspects of the Clintons and that’s why it has legs.

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Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest.


  1. Good summary, Jeff. One has to wonder what other serious lapses in judgement are waiting for exposure.


  2. fwiw the server identifies as exchange 2010 sp3 update rollup 7
    I removed the .tld to prevent creating links

    Received: from p02c12m011.mxlogic net ( by
    mail.clintonemail com ( with Microsoft SMTP Server (TLS) id
    14.2.347.0; Thu, 5 Mar 2015 14:29:59 -0500


  3. Recent interview,on Hugh Hewitt show, of retired NSA guy who wrote some book,was asked about the likelyhood of Clinton’s server having been hacked,and his respones was ‘anyone with the technical means would likely have it all’ (paraphrased) so Hewitt said “that’s a yes?” And guest said “Yes” so Russians,Chinese and every other state player would have the full contents of her server. ALL OF IT! It goes way beyond stupid and foolish. Treasonous is the word I have in mind.


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