What exactly did Hillary Clinton do that was so bad with the email scandal?

Did she do anything illegal? Was she not supposed to have a private email server? Sounds to me like she kept classified information under the cusp as much as possible. Isn’t that was she was supposed to do in the interest of national security?

I understand the GOP wants to tear her down as much as possible and this is more a political ploy than anything else, but why are they choosing this particular subject to get riled up about? Is there any evidence that she peddled classified information to the press or to US enemies?

The entirety of the Benghazi investigation has been nothing more than a Republican smear campaign. Multiple investigations by stakeholders have already cleared her of any wrongdoing, and yet the notion that Hillary is somehow responsible for or lied about Benghazi has entered Republican canon as an article of faith, independent of any actual evidence. The latest committee testimony session in particular was a total farce thanks to the idiotic and utterly misinformed questions the Republicans asked.

So far, I haven’t mentioned the email servers but its important nonetheless because this is the lens through which the Republicans view the emails.

There isn’t any law that says a public servant isn’t allowed to have a private server, but the Republicans were convinced that she was using it to somehow conceal her evil schemes from the rest of the government. There was a lot of confusing information going back and forth in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks (as any sane person might expect). The Republicans claim that the confusion was in fact a malicious conspiracy to deceive the American public, that Hillary and/or Obama deliberately allowed the ambassador to die, and that they wanted to blame the attacks on a hateful video rather than admit Islamic terrorists were active in Libya. None of this has been substantiated, but the course of the investigation required a detailed analysis of who said what and when, so it’s reasonable to assume that Hillary’s emails might have details pertinent to the investigation.

One of the big problems is that there is much confusion over whether Hillary deliberately deleted incriminating emails, or lied under oath about when or in what capacity she used the email server, etc. Another question is the extent to which she did or did not communicate with the Ambassadors… The Republicans claim that the lack of emails to the Ambassador indicates Hillary deliberately ignored the Libyan embassy, whereas anyone familiar with the State Department knows that their business is handled through diplomatic cables and therefore would not produce an email trail. Then the Republicans claimed that the presence of emails to personal friends and subject matter experts indicates… Something???

But the most recent chapter is debate over whether her emails contained classified information. This is a much trickier question than it appears. Unless a document is actually marked with a classification heading, it can be very difficult to identify whether or not the data is, in fact, classified. Questions that would have to be answered include: Was the information classified at the time the email was written? Did Hillary cite a source document that she knew was classified? Which parts of the data are her personal ideas and opinions, and which parts are from classified intelligence estimates? Without knowing these details, it’s impossible to guess whether there was actual misconduct.

(And even if there was misconduct, is it really such a great idea for the pot to call the kettle black?)

Here is a back-and-forth on the classification issue.

Running and using your own private email server for government business is legal. However, if you do so, you need to:

  • Maintain archival records of all emails pertaining to government business.
  • Ensure you do not send or receive classified information through your private server, since your private server is not considered a secure communication channel.

Did anything illegal occur? Who knows.

  • Some emails were found to have been deleted and not archived. Clinton’s response was that those particular emails were private and not related to government business, and thus there was no requirement to archive them. Since they were deleted, there’s no easy way to determine the contents of those deleted emails.
  • Some emails were found to contain now-classified information. The open question is whether or not the information was considered classified at the time it was sent/received.

All in all, it has not yet been proven that anything illegal occurred. But really, using your own private email for government business is just bad practice in general. Using government-managed email systems avoids issues, since the emails are automatically archived, and the government email servers are hardened to appropriate security standards.

(post shortened)

You forgot to mention that the Democrats are willing to excuse any and all accusations against Hillary, which would have been a more non-partisan approach.

The FBI is investigating Hillary, Hillary’s emails, and Hillary’s keeping of government documents on her own personal server. The pundits talk, the media outlets talk, the internet talks, and politicians from all parties talk, but the only one who’s words and indictments matter are those of the FBI and they aren’t talking.

Sufficient to say, there is a FBI investigation into Hillary’s emails and when they announce the close of their investigation, or announce the indictment of Hillary and friends, we the voters will have a clearer understanding of just what they’re looking at.

Moderator Note

doorhinge, political potshots like this are not permitted in GQ. No warning issued, but don’t do this again.

General Questions Moderator

Moderator Note

Likewise, keep this kind of political commentary out of GQ. No warning issued.

General Questions Moderator

Since this has strong political implications, let’s move this to GD.

General Questions Moderator

I can understand making sure you don’t send anything classified, but how can you ensure you don’t receive classified information? I don’t know about Clinton, but my email doesn’t have a setting for “block classified information.” If someone sends me some, I’ll receive it even if I’d rather not. And god help her if she would delete anything…

You can’t. And that’s one of reasons you may not wish to use a private email system for any business communications that could possibly involve sensitive information. That’s not to say that hardened government email servers are 100% secure; no mail system is ever 100% secure. But at least if you use a government mail server, you aren’t potentially risking a policy violation.

What if you use your AOL.com email?

You might be right, and I look forward to the FBI’s disclosing what they have found about this. That said, I also have to note that this trait is not isolated to members of the Democratic party, the Republics were just as willing to excuse any and all accusations against our former president and their staff.

Bush White House Email Controversy

There are three very different ways to read this sentence - that the information was not classified at the time the emails were sent, that the information was classified at the time the emails were sent, but not through the channels that they were sent by, or that the information was classified but the markings were stripped out before being sent.

And there is an important difference between Bush and Obama that makes any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton far worse: Obama’s attacks on whistleblowers. If the Bush administration had a casual approach to information security but it also did not abuse its power to persecute those who violate information security for good reason, that is far more forgiveable than if the guy who used the Espionage Act of 1917 more than all his predecessors put together doesn’t hold his buddy Clinton to the same standard.

While you have little control over what is sent to your email account, what you do with it once you receive it just might be an important factor.

If John Q. Public receives an email containing legally questionable content AND he then notifies the relevant legal authorities in a prompt manner then that is very different than if he makes no notifications and uses said material.

Well, I’m sure Congress will be happy to set up ten permanent subcommittees to investigate if then-Secretary Clinton did anything improper with information she might have received.

I am not an email security expert, but there is an obvious question that I think people should ask themselves when considering if what Clinton did was a security risk. If all these e-mails were so unsecured and easy for people to get at, why has all the might of the Republican establishment been unable to do so?

THere is a second aspect to this - on a private mail server - you may (or may not) have all the needed security mechanisms in place - the use of SSL/TLS, FIPS compliance, physical safegaurds, etc - on a controlled machine (one provided) - those things should be better maintained by people that are actively protecting the potential data there.

So, even if Clinton did not knowingly have or allow access to the mail - if the other safeguards are not in place - then its much easier to attack a ‘personal’ server.

I doubt that Mrs. Clinton did anything intentional with the information (sending or receiving) - she may have taken security for granted, it may have actually been in place, etc - but she should not have been in the business of running her own server.

To my knowledge, during the time of this issue - personal servers were allowed and that those rules have now been changed.

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Identical thread ongoing in Elections. Current at 5 pages.

Does the OP really think it’s ok to have highly classified documents at home as long as you keep it kinda hidden in your house somewhere? Really?

According to the news she had Top Secret SCI emails. That is as high a classification as it gets. I’m a military Officer. I’m 100% certain that if I had TS SCI at my house the following would happen:

-My clearance would instantly be suspended and ultimately removed
-I’d be be Court Martial and be convicted
-This could be one of the rare times when I could loose my pension
-I’d spend time in jail
-When released I’d never have a clearance again, never have a government job again and I’d have a felony conviction and God know what type of job I’d ever have again

Within the government where I work, it’s beyond belief that people think it’s OK to have Secret, let alone TS or TS SCI material at once house. Mind boggling.