Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a soupcon of regret at a news conference Tuesday for having used private e-mail exclusively during her nearly four years as secretary of state. “Looking back, it would’ve been better” if she had not used a private e-mail account for official business, she conceded. Clinton said she decided to do so for “convenience” because “I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two.”
By Clinton’s account Tuesday, the sorting of more than 60,000 e-mail messages from her time at the U.S. State Department — to separate the personal and the work-related — was carried out entirely by her and her lawyer. She claims that all the work messages have been turned over to the department, but there is no way to check. She disclosed Tuesday that the remainder, the personal e-mails, were deleted. Why did she not provide the work-related e-mails when she left the department? Had she used government e-mail in the first place, it is possible that the messages would have been preserved there, and there might have been fewer doubts today.
Clinton also confirmed that she used a mail server at her home in New York, which was also for former president Bill Clinton, “on property guarded by the Secret Service” — as if the primary risk was not cyber theft but rather burglars sneaking in to steal floppy disks. She said she did not discuss classified material in e-mail, but surely her days and messages were taken up with “sensitive but unclassified” matters that would be of interest to snoopers. She didn’t address that security issue, nor did she say anything about whether the State Department had security concerns about her private arrangement.
In the end, it is clear Clinton was acting in a gray zone, one created in part by the rapid pace of technological change. But it is also apparent that her decisions on her e-mail were based on what was best for her — what was “convenient”— and not so much for the public trust.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WASHINGTON POST