As the initial furor subsides following news of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system while serving as Secretary of State, her political supporters have begun dismissing the controversy as much ado about nothing.
The passage of time, political partisanship and limits on the average American’s attention span will no doubt aid them in that effort.
So in order to preserve an outline of the specifics, what follows are 12 distinct reasons why Secretary Clinton’s email secrecy is a problem:
1. Sec. Clinton did not use a government email address as expected of government employees, including those in her own department; at least one ambassador lost his job for this reason while Clinton was Secretary of State. (Source: CNN)
2. Sec. Clinton routed government business through a private email server, at least temporarily shielding her communications from public records requests, including those filed by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act; Sec. Clinton’s actions prevented news agencies and other organizations from accessing public documents. (Source: Associated Press)
3. Sec. Clinton exclusively used a private email address (or addresses), and a private email server, for official communication, subjecting potentially classified information to extra security risks. (Source: Wired)
4. Sec. Clinton claims to have used a private email system for the “convenience” of using a single (potentially unsecure) device, but she recently admitted to using multiple electronic communication devices. (Source: ABC News)
5. Sec. Clinton maintained public documents on equipment not authorized, maintained or inspected by government personnel, inviting the prospect of data loss, file corruption and other technical issues that could have damaged or destroyed them. (Source: Breitbart News)
6. Sec. Clinton presumably authorized her associates to delete nearly 32,000 records, including some that may have been public documents; additionally, Sec. Clinton’s team has released conflicting information about the process by which the emails were reviewed and deleted. (Source: ABC News)
7. Sec. Clinton has to date refused to allow review of her “private” records and equipment by government personnel or neutral, third party investigators. (Source: New York Post)
8. Sec. Clinton’s use of a private email system prevented documents under subpoena from being accessed by members of Congress investigating the government’s response to a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, in which a U.S. Ambassador, a U.S. foreign service officer and two Navy SEALs were killed. (Source: ABC News)
9. Sec. Clinton’s claim to privacy is based on the prospect of “personal communications from my husband and me” becoming public, even though her husband’s spokesman says the former President doesn’t use email. (Source: National Review)
10. Sec. Clinton did not release even a subset of her emails to the State Department until two years after leaving office, which may be in violation of her duty to turn over public documents as specified in the OF109 separation statement. (Source: Fox News)
11. Sec. Clinton has not made herself available to answer questions beyond fielding fewer than ten from reporters pre-selected by a member of her personal staff following a speech at the UN, where access was restricted. (Source: Business Insider)
12. Sec. Clinton’s public and “private” communications could shed additional light on the millions of dollars in foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation during her time as the country’s top diplomat, in violation of the foundation’s ethics agreement, could reveal context behind any possible diplomatic favors being done for the donor countries, and could help determine how much she and her family may have personally benefited from these dual roles. (Source: Washington Post)
Bonus reason: Even if the 12 items above weren’t problematic, consider the simple fact that Hillary Clinton chose to pay for the benefits of a private email system instead of using the free, public email system available to her, as required of other federal employees. This tells us not only that Hillary Clinton understands the limitations and inconvenience that a “public option” provided by the federal government may impart, but also that she considers herself not beholden to the same set of rules that govern everyone else.