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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Secretary Clinton finally receiving overdue press support about email

Although I strongly support Secretary Clinton for president, the non-resolution about "forget the damn emails" should've been handled long ago. Finally, an article to support this truth.

In my opinion, the news media only reported on the Clinton email story to counter 24/7 (stupid) Trump coverage. 

As far as I know, there was no journalist who tried to print the truth about the emal story. In fact, the NBC reporter Kristen Welker seemed to create a personal cottage industry by reporting about Secretary Clinton's emails, without regard for the bottom line issue being "harm". There was none.
Secretary Clinton ideally should've put this email issue to rest long ago, but the news media were like the junk yard dog in persuit of a non-story.

In fact, the emails on Mrs. Clinton's server did no harm, contained nothing of importance and virtually no one was incrimiated. Obviously, the email server shouldn't have been in Mrs. Clinton's home but having it there did not break any law or violate any policy she was working under at the time it was installed.  Otherwise, if there were anything of substance to the email story, this news would have been revealed by now.  Kristen Welker needs to find another obsession. My advice to Welker is this, "If you're going to persue a person about one issue, then find out what harm was done before stalking your subject."
USA Today opinion column:
Given longstanding weaknesses in the State Department system, she made a rational decision.
NBC and MSNBC television journalist Kristen Welker was like the proverbial "junk yard dog" in her relentless pursuit of the non-email story and Secretary Clinton's home computer server. In fact, Ms. Welker rarely reported on what was found in the emails, because there was no "there there".

The pseudo-scandal over Hillary Clinton’s emails bubbled up again with the recent release of the State Department Inspector General’s report. Notwithstanding the usual hype, a close reading of the 42-page report (plus timely recommendations and appendices) reveals that the State Department system was susceptible to cyberattacks both before and after Secretary Clinton’s tenure. Some experts have suggested that Clinton’s server was as secure, and maybe even more secure, than the department’s system.

The subject of the investigation was Secretary Clinton’s personal email system, which she elected to utilize rather than the State Department’s existing unclassified system. The State Department system has a decades long history of failures, includingsuccessful intrusions by unauthorized personnel. Across our government, foreign hackers have gained access to millions of U.S. private records and pieces of sensitive information in recent years. It is no wonder that Secretary Clinton was not the first to choose to use a personal email account instead of the sub-optimal State Department option.

The report notes that former Secretary of State Colin Powell used a personal email, and staff of both Secretaries Powell and Condoleezza Rice periodically used personal accounts. Tellingly, the report makes no recommendation that Secretary Clinton or any other former Secretaries be investigated or punished.

Moreover, as a senior State Department official admitted, the department did not do a good job of making sure employees understood or implemented proper regulations. In fact, some of the most useful guidance was not issued until 2013, four years after Clinton became secretary.

What is clear from the IG report is that the department as a whole, and the Office of the Secretary in particular, not only have outstanding flaws related to their servers and cybersecurity, but they also have been slow to make the necessary changes.

The office tasked with ensuring compliance of the rules was underfunded, understaffed and ineffective for several years, beginning long before Clinton assumed her role.

Also clear is that the secretary’s use of her private email account and server was no secret to department officials. To the contrary, there were extensive communications, documented by the IG, between operations officials at State and the technicians in charge of maintaining security on the secretary’s private server. And when there was a perceived threat of a hacker probing her system, the security folks shut it down until the threat was addressed.

The IG reported that “longstanding, systemic weaknesses related to electronic records and communications have existed within the Office of the Secretary that go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.” Given that finding, can it be considered anything other than a rational decision by Secretary Clinton to continue the use of a system for unclassified emails that had proved secure and functionally sound during her service as a United States senator, rather than risk using the State Department system?

The popular appetite for branding every controversy or disagreement as a scandal — and accepting the notion of “equivalency” as precept of objective journalism — enables partisan mischief-makers to ply their trade. Those interested in truth and fairness will take the time to examine the facts. 

Or, as Bernie Sanders succinctly put it eight long months ago, “Enough of the emails!”

Richard Ben-Veniste was a member of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. The views expressed reflect his personal opinion.

(Although Mrs. Clinton should've put this email issue into the "trash" folder long ago, the news media was responsible for preventing it from being permanently deleted.)

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns, go to the Opinion front page, follow us on Twitter @USATOpinion and sign up for our daily Opinion newsletter.

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