Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept.

Daily News Article - March 5, 2015


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. a) What law requires federal government officials to save all emails they send or receive on department servers?
b) Why does federal law require all correspondence written and received by federal officials to be saved?

3. a) When requested by the State Department to turn over Secretary of State Clinton’s emails, who decided which were important and should be given to her former department? How did they determine which emails should be given to the State Department?
b) Do you think all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails should have been turned over? Explain your answer.
c) Why did the State Department ask for these emails only now, two years after Mrs. Clinton left office?

4. a) Who was alarmed by Mrs. Clinton’s expansive use of a private (non-State Department) email account?
b) Why were they concerned?

5. a) How did Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, explain her belief that her emails would be saved and accessible for the Archives?
b) List the people Secretary Clinton probably communicated with whose emails could not have been saved by the records department in this manner.

6. a) Mrs. Clinton’s use of personal email, run from a private server in her own home, was highly unusual. Her advisers will not say why she chose to conduct State Department business in this manner. Do you think as the top cabinet official in the Obama administration for three years she should explain her reason for this irregular action? Explain your answer.
b) Should news organizations like the NY Times or Associated Press make greater attempts to find out the answer, or leave her alone? Explain your answer.

7.  Hillary Clinton is expected to be the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Many Republicans, who don’t support her, are concerned over these revelations.  Some Democrats are making excuses for her secrecy.  Should voters of both parties be equally concerned if any federal government officials, either Republican or Democrat, ignore the law and use a personal internet server to hide their correspondence?  Explain your answer.

8. The Associated Press reported (at apnews.com):

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails - on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state - traced back to an Internet service registered to her family's home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton's secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.

Most Internet users rely on professional outside companies, such as Google Inc. or their own employers, for the behind-the-scenes complexities of managing their email communications. Government employees generally use servers run by federal agencies where they work.

In most cases, individuals who operate their own email servers are technical experts or users so concerned about issues of privacy and surveillance they take matters into their own hands. It was not immediately clear exactly where Clinton ran that computer system.

Clinton has not described her motivation for using a private email account - hdr22 @ clintonemail .com, which traced back to her own private email server registered under an apparent pseudonym - for official State Department business.

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton's home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

It was unclear whom Clinton hired to set up or maintain her private email server, which the AP traced to a mysterious identity, Eric Hoteham. That name does not appear in public records databases, campaign contribution records or Internet background searches. Hoteham was listed as the customer at Clinton's $1.7 million home on Old House Lane in Chappaqua in records registering the Internet address for her email server since August 2010.

Also: Clinton used a personal email account during her time as secretary of state, rather than a government-issued email address, potentially hampering efforts to archive official government documents required by law. Clinton's office said nothing was illegal or improper about her use of the non-government account and that she believed her business emails to State Department and other .gov accounts would be archived in accordance with government rules.

a) Ken Thomas, a national political writer for the Associated Press, said regarding the revelations about former Secretary of State Clinton “It just gives Republicans fodder…that she’s trying to skirt the law and get around the normal ways of doing business.” Is she?

b) Do Mrs. Clinton’s actions indicate to you that she was trying to hide some of her activities or do you think it was for a different reason? What could have been her motive for not complying with the law? Explain your answer.