Problems with the Hillary Emailgate Affair

Problems with the Hillary Emailgate Affair

America is just now learning that Hillary Clinton "violated the law" by
having her own private email account. Instead she was required to use a
government email account so that Obama and any of his top dogs could read
every email message she sent or received.

They may claim that the government email account would have been secure,
but we know that nothing the government does is secure.

We also know that Obama is not a benevolent despot.

Does anybody see anything wrong with a situation where Obama can read all
of Hillary's emails, but Hillary cannot read any of Obama's emails.

Meanwhile we still cannot hear all of Nixon's Watergate tapes even though
Nixon left office 40 years ago.

The problem as I see it is nobody is going to be willing to work for Obama
or any other president if they have no privacy and the President can read
all their emails.

Or what they might do is stop using emails altogether. They might also stop
using the telephone. They may just communicate using a medium that cannot
be copied or listened too.

How will the government continue to function if nobody is willing or able
to communicate.

Sam Sloan

Sam,

  You raise an excellent point. I had not considered the matter from that angle, although I should have.

  When I was on the Libertarian National Committee, I very rarely used my official email address (starchild@...). In my case, my intention was not to reduce transparency -- I was the biggest advocate for transparency on the committee -- but because the rules governing control of and access to official LP email addresses were unclear. Specifically, I was most concerned about what would happen to messages sent to starchild@... after I was no longer on the committee. Would I continue to receive those messages? Or would people who thought they were writing to me instead see their messages going to someone else, or nowhere at all, rather than being properly forwarded?

  Another concern similar to what you voice here was the lack of clarity about who had access to those emails. Once or twice there seemed to be some weird things going on with the email system. I remember an instance in which an email showed up on the LNC list which appeared to come from regional rep. Jim Lark, but in fact he had not written it. LP chair Geoff Neale said he had written the message (the content of which was innocuous), but was not sure how the screw-up happened. The incident was never further explained or looked into that I am aware of.

  The solution here though, as I see it, is not to side with Hilary Clinton and defend her "right" to keep her emails private, but rather to fight to ensure that Obama and others are held to similar standards of transparency in their email practices, and that the system as a whole is made as transparent as possible. I think the default ought to be that every government email is immediately copied to the cloud where any member of the public can find and read it in a database readily searchable by date, sender, department, keywords, etc., unless the sender tags it as secret for one of a limited number of specified reasons.

  In such cases, *no one* except the senders, recipients, and some kind of auditing/review type agency that's very removed from the political process should have access to them until such time as the sunset clause mandating an email's secrecy expires. By no means should the White House or its political appointees be seeing these messages. The auditing/review capacity should be strictly limited to reviewing whether an email was properly exempted from transparency. There would of course need to be significant penalties for improperly withholding emails from immediate public disclosure, or for "bundling" (deliberately including legitimately secret information in the same message as merely embarrassing or sensitive information in order to avoid disclosure of the latter), especially for repeat or multiple offenses.

  Do you know how much of Nixon's Watergate tapes are still being held in secrecy by the government, and when they are scheduled to be released (if there is a schedule)? It's interesting to imagine what they might hold that would be more damning than the Nixon tapes already made public, in which he swears like a sailor, wantonly abuses his power, and reveals himself to be a petty, mean-spirited bigot? (e.g. this conversation with his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman below):

President Nixon: Billy Graham told us an astonishing thing. The IRS are badgering the shit out of him. Some son-of-a-bitch came and gave him a three-hour grilling about how much he, you know, how much this contribution is worth. And he told it to [John] Connally. Well, Connally took the name of the guy [unclear]. But, now look, I've just got to get that name out of Connally when you get back. Now, they've gone after Billy Graham and he didn't know it. Now here's the point, Bob: please get me the names of the Jews, you know, the big Jewish contributors of the Democrats.

Haldeman: Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: And remember [unclear] [John] Ehrlichman, I guess, or somebody.

Haldeman: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: All right. Could we please investigate some of the cocksuckers? That's all.
Now look at here. Here our IRS is going after Billy Graham tooth and nail. Are they going after Eugene Carson Blake?1 I asked, you know, what I mean is, goddamn, I don't believe--I just don't--”

Haldeman: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: I just don't know whether we are frankly being as tough as we ought to be, that's all.

Haldeman: Well, I know we haven't been up to now because we didn't have a man.

President Nixon: Sure.

Haldeman: We have a man, and . . .

President Nixon: You see--”

Haldeman: This guy's in there now is in supposedly, purely on the basis that he'll do [unclear] this.

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: You call [John] Mitchell. Mitchell can go stick his nose into the thing. Tell him about [unclear] went after Graham and say, --œNow, goddamn it, are we going after some of these Democrats or not?-- They've gone after [Robert] Abplanalp. They've gone after [Charles --œBebe--] Rebozo. They've gone after John Wayne. They're going after, you know, every one of our people. Goddamn it, they were after me. For example . . . [Unclear.] [tape whip] --“somebody told me that [Ed] Muskie used Frank Sinatra's plane in California. Did you hear about that?

Haldeman: Some.

President Nixon: Maybe we could investigate that?

  I suspect there may be people today in government who are saying things in their communications as odious as the things Nixon said, because the arrogance of power is a constant that we can count on. To whatever extent these things can be exposed, it will help the public understand the truth about the State.

Love & Liberty,
                                ((( starchild )))

Oops, forgot to include the link where I found the Nixon/Haldeman conversation copied below -- http://millercenter.org/presidentialclassroom/exhibits/get-me-names-jews .

Love & Liberty,
                               ((( starchild )))