Friday, March 03, 2017

Lock Him Up!

During the presidential campaign Trump supporters chanted "Lock her up!" because Republicans thought Hillary Clinton had committed some horrible crime by having her own email server. There was no evidence of nefarious deeds or serious security breaches after years of FBI investigations and congressional witch hunts.

It turns out that Vice President Mike Pence has an email problem of his own. At the very same time he and the Republicans were blasting Clinton for her private email server, Pence did this:
Vice President Mike 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.
This violated Indiana law on government record keeping, the exact thing Republicans accused Clinton of.

Worse, Pence was hacked:
Cybersecurity experts say Pence’s emails were likely just as insecure as Clinton’s. While there has been speculation about whether Clinton's emails were hacked, Pence’s account was actually compromised last summer by a scammer who sent an email to his contacts claiming Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and in urgent need of money.
Like a total noob Pence fell for a phishing attack.

Pence claims he didn't conduct any significant state business with the private email account. But then there's this:
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office released 29 pages of emails from Pence's AOL account, but declined to release an unspecified number of others because the state considers them confidential and too sensitive to release to the public. 
If they're so sensitive they should never have been sent via an AOL account!

Furthermore, since hackers had access to his account, Pence's security breach has exposed him (or others) to extortion and blackmail at best, and possibly divulged intelligence on terrorist suspects at worst.

Now, why did Pence use a private account to conduct some state business? Technological ineptitude? Laziness? Or was he hiding something, keeping correspondence off the record?

Because Pence's email account was on AOL it means that pretty much any AOL employee with the right privileges had access to his emails. Clinton's server was on the premises and was handled by her own people, limiting exposure. There's been no evidence that Clinton was hacked, but we know Pence was, through his own stupidity.

Clinton never tried to hide what she was doing: she had a single server and email address that she handled all her correspondence through. Everyone who sent her email knew it. You can complain about her record keeping, but she made utterly no attempt to hide what she was doing. It might have broken some rule, but it was totally open and transparent.

Pence used a private AOL account to send sensitive emails and got hacked in a very open and embarrassing way:

At least when people got an email from Hillary Clinton saying she was in the Philippines, she was really there on State Department business.

No comments: