Wednesday, March 11, 2015

EXTRA: Some political people have to learn e-mail lessons the hard way

When it comes to the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton setting up her own personal e-mail to conduct government business, I can’t help but think she deserves all the political abuse she’s going to get in coming months.

You’d think that a public official who seriously thinks she is qualified to be president of the United States (she probably is better qualified than any other knucklehead who has expressed interest in the post in next year’s election cycle) would know better than to put herself in such a spot.

BUT IT SEEMS she doesn’t. I don’t know how many people are going to be swayed by her statements this week at the United Nations that she regretted the way she handled the situation.

Which was to set up her own private e-mail server for work-related correspondence. In a four-year period, some 60,000 e-mail messages were sent and received.

Clinton tries to make those of us who want to turn this into a scandal feel a bit better by saying that no classified information was ever transmitted with her own personal e-mail messages.

But the point is that if she had taken an official government-issued e-mail address and used that for her work, there would have been an easily-accessed record. We’d know exactly what was being done, and whether or not any allegations of her wrongdoing were just nonsense.

THE FACT THAT she says she will make her server accessible so that its messages can now be archived is going to merely feed wood to the campfire of those who have held their Clinton grudges for two-and-a-half decades now!

People who don’t want to trust her will not trust her just like they haven't trusted her since the days of when she allegedly defamed the reputation of singer Tammy Wynette.

It is an issue that could easily have been avoided if only she had just used the proper e-mail account, just as many of us who have jobs that require constant message sending get a work e-mail while also maintaining a personal address off some service like Yahoo! or Google.

What amazed me about Clinton’s desire to not use a government e-mail address is that it appears she didn’t learn one single lesson from the plight of Sarah Palin back in 2008.

REMEMBER WHEN THE now-former Alaska governor got caught using a personal address for her government business because she didn’t like the idea of her personal messages being automatically recorded?

This came out when some teenager got cute and managed to hack his way into her account. Because those personal services we all use aren’t THAT secure. They certainly don’t have the layers of protections that government messaging services have.

That truly was another situation that Palin brought on herself; even though federal prosecutors ultimately got a conviction (and some incarceration) against the man who thought it was funny to figure out her password, then post pages of her messages on a public site.

Clinton hasn’t undergone anything this humiliating. But it is always a possibility for those political people who just have to think their e-mails are none of the rest of our business.

WHICH MAY BE part of the reason that I’m gaining a bit more respect for Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.; who recently said he can’t face this situation because he never uses e-mail.

That is a situation which I must admit I wish I could resort to – even though my work often requires I have access to sending and receiving messages.

Even though I can’t help but think that for all the stupid, nonsensical e-mails I get from people trying to influence the way I think about certain issues, we’d be better off as a society if sending messages required ink on paper and the death of a few more trees.


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