Surely “Pastor Pence” is familiar with the biblical injunction about not judging other people “lest ye be judged.” But perhaps he missed that particular passage…
During the Presidential campaign, Pence constantly criticized Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, insisting that the issue was so serious it should be seen as disqualifying her from holding office.
Now we learn from the Indianapolis Star that Pence
routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.
Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.
Cyber-security experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.
Let’s see…Clinton used a private server that appears to have been more secure than the State Department’s official server (the State Department server has been hacked, while hers never was.) Pence used an AOL email account (raising the possibility that he also continues to have dial-up and a modem…).
Paul Waldman considers Pence’s hypocrisy to be “only a part of the story.” He begins his column in the Washington Post with an appropriately snarky observation:
I have some disturbing news to share: Republicans might not be as deeply committed to proper email management as you’ve been led to believe.
Waldman quoted Pence’s remarks criticizing Clinton’s private server during the Vice-Presidential debate, and his repeated insistence that cybersecurity concerns prohibited such carelessness, and asked the obvious question:
did he consider adding that he knew what he was talking about since he used an AOL account to talk about sensitive security matters and had himself been hacked?
The parallels don’t stop there…“Pence’s office said his campaign hired outside counsel as he was departing as governor to review his AOL emails and transfer any involving public business to the state.” Which was exactly what Hillary Clinton did — and what Pence and Trump so vehemently criticized her for. When Trump invited the Russian government to hack Clinton’s email to recover what had been deleted, it was those personal emails he was talking about.
Waldman references reports that the Trump administration is not only leaving significant amounts of sensitive information vulnerable, but that it is not in compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that White House staff members retain their communications — including their emails.
In late January, we learned that top White House officials, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Sean Spicer, were using email addresses from the Republican National Committee — with a private server! Once the story broke their addresses were deleted, but presumably had it remained secret, they would have continued to use them.
The New York Times reported late in January that Trump was still using his old, unsecured Android phone, which–as Waldman observes– is unbelievably reckless for the president of the United States.
As Wired magazine put it, “All it takes is clicking on one malicious link or opening one untoward attachment — either of which can appear as though it were sent from a trusted source — to compromise the device. From there, the phone could be infected with malware that spies on the network the device is connected to, logs keystrokes, takes over the camera and microphone for surreptitious recording, and more.”
I doubt that these obvious security breaches are intentional. It’s far more likely that they are further evidence–as if we needed any–that America’s government is firmly in the control of the Keystone Kops (or perhaps the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight). After all, this is the group of whiz kids who couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in the White House cabinet room.
In the aftermath of the disclosures about his own reckless email use, Pence has angrily insisted that his own behavior was “nothing like” Clinton’s.
That’s true. Her server was secure. As a post to Mashable put it,
the real crime here is the fact that Pence still uses an AOL account. Does Pence still use dial-up? Does he rub two sticks together to make a fire? I mean, where does it end?