Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Email Server Audit Report: What You Need to Know

What you need to know about the State Department Inspector General’s Audit of Secretary of State’s use of an email server. 

First, the conclusions of the audit report are crucial to examine. It’s on page 42 of the actual report, (which is on 45 of this PDF link).

“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. OIG recognizes that technology and Department policy have evolved considerably since Secretary Albright’s tenure began in 1997. Nevertheless, 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, particularly as those risks pertain to its most senior leadership. OIG expects that its recommendations will move the Department steps closer to meaningfully addressing these risks.”
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These technological issues with electronic record-keeping originate back to the late 1990s. 

These are systemic weaknesses that have existed and continue to be addressed. This audit report’s recommendations is the latest iteration of addressing these issues and concerns.

Secretary Clinton is in no way singled out by this audit report. In fact, her behavior is in line with previous Secretaries of State. 

Second, the way that the media and Hillary’s opponents will spin this is of course to catastrophize the findings and make this about her breaking the law.

There is not one shred of evidence within this report that alleges Secretary Clinton broke the law with the use of her email server. 
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Third, her mistake was in leaving the State Department without submitting written copies of all of her email correspondence before walking out the door. She, in fact, was the only former Secretary of State to submit any of the material to the Inspector General of the State Department, as Hillary had preserved the email server, thus preserving the record.

She has numerous times admitted this was a mistake of convenience. One, anyone can admit by now, has not been convenient in any way. 

Fourth, people will go further to say that despite her submitting 55,000+ emails to the State Department, that she destroyed the rest of her personal emails that were on the server. They state this because it makes FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests difficult.

That actually doesn’t conform with the facts, as it’s been reported that the FBI has recovered all of the emails on the email server.

  • So, Hillary Clinton did not break any laws, but she broke the rule of not submitting the 55,000 emails before she left the Office of the Secretary of State. 
  • She’s not the only Secretary of the State to have used private emails, but she is the only one to have preserved that record and submit that record to both the State Department and the FBI.
  • There has been systemic issues with compliance involving email correspondence, specifically involving senior leadership throughout government. 
  • The government has been evolving its response to technology since 1997. This report’s recommendations will bring the State Department closer to rectifying these issues and concerns.

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