Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Clinton’s quest to regain former House part 1

By Nicholas Bostick 


Hillary Clinton is leading the polls to become the democratic presidential nominee. But can her campaign survive the uphill battle over her use of private email?  The final installment of a three-part series in which The Courier profiles a presidential hopeful.

It makes sense that the first Democratic debate was held Oct. 13 in Las Vegas. Because voting for any of the democrats currently vying for the candidacy is a major gamble for the future of the U.S.

And the biggest longshot of the bunch is Hillary Clinton. Not because her foreign policy skills are in question like those of her former opponent, President Barack Obama.

Not because her husband’s political scandals and successes are threatening to overshadow her. But, to paraphrase local radio personality and Dallas Morning News columnist Mark Davis on his radio show Oct. 14: Before the American people can care about a candidate’s ideas on tax reform or what she’s going to do about global warming, we need to know that she is a fundamentally trustworthy person.

If Clinton is not being up front about the personal email account she used to conduct her duties as secretary of state from 2009-2013, she’s guilty of a far worse crime: ignorance.

The controversy arose after the State Department discovered Clinton had almost exclusively used a private email account to conduct national affairs while secretary of state. According to The New York Times and, the State Department requested correspondence from the past four secretaries of state in an effort to comply with new federal record-keeping practices enacted by Obama in 2014.

“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” Jason Baron, former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration from 2000-2013, said in an article for The New York Times.

She may have won the debate, but when her only real competition was Bernie Sanders, a social mediasavvy democratic socialist, no one should be surprised Clinton seemed like the rational choice.

Especially when Sanders notso- subtly pandered to donors by claiming the American people are tired of hearing about these pesky electronic messages.

According to a Huffington Post article, Sanders raised $1.4 million during the debate. This figure was no doubt aided by the press release his campaign manager Jeff Weaver sent out before the debate had ended. It’s a stratagem when Sanders says the American people don’t care about Clinton’s emails. When she says it, it’s ignorance.

A poll conducted March 13-15 by CNN and ORC International shows that 51 percent of the 1,009 Americans polled said Clinton’s use of private email is a very serious or somewhat serious issue. The same percentage said Clinton has not done enough to explain why she used said private email account.

A more recent poll by the Huffington Post and international market research firm YouGov, conducted July 28-30, shows 60 percent of the 1,000 Americans polled think Clinton’s email is a very serious or somewhat serious issue. Yet in interviews, Clinton laughs when the fact that the FBI is currently investigating her is brought up. And on the debate floor, she shrugs the issue off as an honest mistake.

It was a matter of convenience that ultimately did not affect national security or break the Federal Records Act, as all of her work emails were sent to official .gov email accounts and therefore backed up by the State Department’s email system, according to hillaryclinton. com.

In 2015, when cyberterrorism is becoming the norm and digital communication skills are essential for most jobs, a presidential candidate should know that sending and receiving sensitive emails over private email will never be as secure as using an official government account.

The issue of security is only the tip of the iceberg, though. “What really turned this into a scandal is not the content,” Jason Leopold, a Vice News investigative reporter, said in an interview with fellow Vice News staff writer Mike Pearl. Leopold claims the real controversy behind this incident is that Clinton’s private email account had both personal and work-related emails.

“If you worked at the State Department and you left, and I asked for your documents, they would review it and maybe discuss some of it with you,” Leopold said. “What happened here is that Hillary and her staff reviewed all of it before turning it over to the State Department, deciding what was personal and deciding what was not for public consumption and destroying it. That was hugely troubling.”

According to The Washington Post, Clinton gave the State Department over 30,000 emails that she and her aides decided pertained to her role as Secretary of State. This amounts to less than half of the emails she sent and received during her time in the White House. “It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario – short of nuclear winter – where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” Baron said.

At best, this controversy shows an astonishing lack of common sense on Clinton’s part. At its worst, she’ll end up in the White House.

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