I’ve been struggling with today’s blog post so I’m just going to jump in with my two cents. My background is working in a non-profit that worked very closely with government agencies from NOAA to the Navy. With over 20 years experience that included having a .gov email address I know quite a few things about the rules and email.
So for Hillary Clinton, sure in hindsight she should have used a .gov email address. My “so what” may be considered to be because I’m a Hillary supporter. It’s not.
First, set the scene. This was 2008. There were no I pad – the first one came out in 2010. IPhones were brand new. Email worked and was used differently. Unless Hillary Clinton is a very unique she did not know the in depth details of her email was set up and the details of how it worked.
What I imagine is Hillary Clinton asked to be able to use one phone for all her email. She wasn’t doing anything nefarious. She was a busy person who asked her staff to do something for convenience. They probably set it up and never told her much more. she probably knew her email was going through the server that her husband, the former president used. The general person, non IT expert would assume that the experts she asked made sure the system was secure. For both of them. For me, knowing the “generic” boss as I do, I’m quite impressed that she realized that she needed to send all official emails to a .gov email. Her assumption that all of those emails were being preserved and easily available for FOIA requests was reasonable.
From the Benghazi hearings we learned, and it is very obvious, that Hillary Clinton did the majority of her work through other mediums. Most of her communication was done by secure mechanisms. You can’t send secure information via email. So Hillary Clinton’s email had to be pretty innocuous to begin with.
Hillary Clinton depended on her assistance and IT personnel to set up her email . Think about your boss or even yourself how much do you know about your email? If your job doesn’t require it I bet you don’t know too much.
This is not a scandal. This is an email setup in 2008 for a cabinet level position. This is not someone who used email 8 hours a day.
If you have ever had the opportunity to talk to an archivist you will know that they have been and continue to struggle with maintaining records in a digital world. Have you tested about business today? Did you record it.
Generally, this is a broad problem for history. We’ve got holes. What Hilary Clinton did with email and where it went from 20080-2012 is not a problem. Its just not.