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Rules, smules, classified, smashified: Those things don’t seem to apply to Clinton

Mar 30, 20163 mins
Data and Information SecuritySecurity

Rules, smules...they don't seem to apply to Hillary Clinton.

Rules, smules…they don’t seem to apply to Hillary Clinton. The Washington Post has an excellent piece about the Clinton email scandal.

For “personal comfort” reasons, she wanted to use her personal unencrypted BlackBerry for all her email, despite warnings that it could be vulnerable. She even took it overseas, although she supposedly said she “gets it” being a security risk. Don’t be silly and expect her to use a PC; oh no, she was seemingly a CrackBerry fanboy. She also didn’t bother to tell officials that her BlackBerry was tied to her infamous private email server. That server was supposedly also for her comfort – for her “convenience.”

“Dozens” of FBI agents are investigating if a crime – the mishandling of classified material – was committed. But even that is plagued with political intrigue as the investigation picked up steam “to avoid the possibility of announcing any action too close to the election.”

At first, she flat-out denied that her server ever held anything classified. “There is no classified material,” she said on March 10, 2015. Then that morphed to there was nothing “marked classified.” Sure, there’s a serious overclassification problem, a tendency for way too many things to be considered classified when the reality is there doesn’t seem to be anything classified about it.

Yet The Post pointed out:

Twenty-two emails discovered later were deemed so highly classified that they were withheld in their entirety from public release. “They are on their face sensitive and obviously classified,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Post. “This information should have been maintained in the most secure, classified, top-secret servers.”

Despite her own previous promises about government transparency – and President Obama’s pledge for the same – The Post noted how Clinton was immediately taking steps to help circumvent that transparency and get around FOIA. Emails related to secretary of state work “are supposed to be preserved permanently.”

Classified, smashified…that applies to other people. At one point, after being told a statement was classified, she told Deputy Chief of Staff Jacob Sullivan, “It’s a public statement! Just email it.” Another time, she suggested Sullivan should take a shortcut to get her the information which should only be sent over a secure line. But hey, that didn’t stop Clinton from issuing a double-standard note to department employees to “avoid conducting official Department business from your person email accounts.”

In regards to Clinton, The Post mentioned two potential “misdemeanors’ related to removing classified information; tell that to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake who the government wanted to roast toasty for daring to have “classified” info. One document was even marked “unclassified/for official use only” but he was supposed to have ESP and just “know” it should have been classified. In total, Drake had five documents; Clinton had 2,093 emails determined as involving classified info.

Then the whole personal email server scandal. The rules – as well as smart security standards, seem to only apply to other people and not presidential hopeful Clinton.

I don’t even like politics, but I highly recommend reading The Washington Post write-up. Warning, there’s nothing “new” about the ongoing scandal, per say, but if you care about security then good luck not getting riled up as you read how Clinton seems to believe the “rules” apply only to other peons like us.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.