Reaction updates on Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email account to conduct official government business bring more controversy around the potential Democratic presidential candidate. The media and the public have responded differently to the scandal – some criticizing the former Secretary of State, some trying to be apologetic – but the issue has definitely fueled a passionate debate over how important the thing really is.
It has to be said that using private devices or email accounts to conduct business as an official is not a unprecedented fact, neither in America nor in other countries. It is a rather efficient way of avoiding public exposure and to maintain closer personal relations with parties involved. It is more problematic in the case of the United States though when it comes to public disclosure of these materials, as not every state in the US requires their officials to do so.
In Florida, for instance, there is no law preventing the use of private email accounts by state officials, but there is one allowing them the refusal to turn over the content of those materials. Clearly, this is not the case of Hillary Clinton, who expressed her full cooperation regarding her personal data, but examples such as Florida do create a dubious standard. Even in states that require disclosure of relevant materials – like Kansas – there is no way for the authorities to determine whether their officials are fully honest, since they are the only people to have access to their personal accounts.
Clinton’s emails, consisting of 55,000 pages, were given to the State Department in accordance with the federal record-keeping practices. The former Secretary of State had no government email address during the four years she spent at the helm of the department. Also, she showed no initiative of having her personal conversation stored on any of the government servers during that period. Practically, there was no way for the US government to monitor the electronic activity of Hillary Clinton, nor if she released any harmful information in her messages.
There hasn’t been any response regarding the concerns raised about the security measures taken by Clinton to protect her correspondence, both the State Department and the potential Democratic presidential candidate choosing to stay silent on this matter. This aspect is even more relevant as former U.S. ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration recently claimed in the media that he was fired from his job because he used Gmail conducting official business.
The explanation Gration gave as why he chose to this seems pretty reasonable. He said Google helped him stay connected to the news and offered him the possibility of getting information of terrorist activity “faster than it came through the official channels.” He had to leave his job as US ambassador in 2012 after his management was criticized in an official report which also mentioned he use of personal email.
In a recent interview, Mr. Gration commented on the official reactions to the Clinton scandal, suggesting a double-standard may have been employed in the two cases. “As I’ve reflected on it in the last couple of days, it does appear like there was a different standard that was used in my case and that has been used in hers,” he said.
Hillary Clinton has an impressive lead within the Democratic Party as a potential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, and probably over the Republican candidate as well. What she did as Secretary of State will have a direct impact on her bid. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said that although things aren’t clear about any damage she may have produced by using personal emails, Clinton needs to “step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is”.
Image Source: TheGuardian
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