Clinton Skirts Prying Eyes with Non-governmental Email

In a scandal that broke early last week, Hillary Clinton was revealed to have used a personal email account for official correspondence and communication within the State Department, ostensibly a violation of federal government protocol. Regarding her use of a personal email for federal work, Clinton said, “When I got to work as Secretary of State, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”

The scandal, now occasionally referred to as “emailgate”, is troubling in a number of ways. First of all, the use of a private email service by Clinton means that a non-state actor, hacker, terror group, or governments hostile to the United States can now potentially access confidential or top- secret communications with relative ease. This reality may have possibly disastrous implications for national security. Second, by taking an oath of office and agreeing to serve as Secretary of State, Clinton in essence signed a contract. This contract is contingent on the idea that the official or employee agrees to abide by the policies of the agency or office to which they work. In that vein, former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a private email is a complete breach of the policies and protocol of the federal government

The “emailgate” scandal reveals a destructive trend in the annals of today’s federal government: that of a chronic lack of accountability and oversight. As exemplified by other federal scandals such as the car crash of intoxicated US Secret Service agents (one of whom was The President’s second-in-command of security), the federal government and its associated agencies are chronically in need of reform. If the organizations of government assigned to protect and represent American interests at home and abroad are plagued by such troubles, then there are not many places left to look for examples of effective leadership. The federal government must encourage a better culture of responsibility and accountability among its officials so that effective governance can be maintained. Allowing such deficits of accountability to continue would be a disservice to the American people.


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