Dear Hillary - I want to share some concerns with you. Your unprecedented act of choosing to do all of your official government business on your personal email account and, further, to house monumentally important documents and correspondence on an email server in your home, was un-categorically one of the dumbest decisions ever. You placed our entire national security at risk and seriously breached the trust of every American citizen. The fact that you are now making light of it makes it even more concerning.
You and I are contemporaries. We both grew up in the same era - we learned to communicate via email IN ITS EARLIEST DAYS. We both started our career in the law and eventually morphed into other roles - you into leadership roles in politics and myself into executive positions in the tech sector. For both of us, we understood the distinction between a personal email account and a corporate one. Back in the 80's when email systems became popular, it was immediately understood that companies would have a need to implement policies requiring their employees to conduct their company business using official company email.
We graduated a few years apart from law school. While there, we BOTH learned the importance of this: Adherence to the Rules of Law. They were drilled into us. Then you practiced law- just like I did. In fact, you may recall being the first female partner at the prestigious Rose Law Firm.
I am guessing that your old law firm had a very specific policy about use of one's personal email in connection with your work for that firm. Perhaps you even helped to draft it. It undoubtedly prohibited the firm's lawyers from using their personal email accounts to conduct business on behalf of the firm. Have you completely forgotten all of that training? If you ever drafted one of those policies on the appropriate use of corporate versus personal email, I am betting that NONE OF THEM EVER RECOMMENDED, AUTHORIZED, OR PERMITTED USE OF PERSONAL EMAIL IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR CLIENT'S BUSINESS.
I asked my 5000 Facebook friends a simple question the other day paraphrased here:
"Does the company where you are employed allow you to use your personal email to conduct your company business?"
"No possible way. Everything is archived."
"No -it would seem unprofessional to the business party you are trying to reach
"0% is the requirement at BofA/Merrill Lynch... Absolutely no business over personal email or text."
"I wouldn't want to at all. First, it wouldn't be clear to a customer.
"No. Everything has to be disseminated in the right way through the right channels. Compliance violations can end careers."
"I haven't thought of it that way... really puts (Hillary's situation) it in perspective."
"As an employee we represent the company and it's objectives. If we were to use or allow personal emails to be sent the representation would be confusing at best. It would be irresponsible and deceptive.
And this from one of your fellow Federal Government employees:
"No- I am in the U.S, Military and you can't do it there either. It violates all security protocols. Not only is this illegal, we were required to read the regulation biannually on this subject and sign off that we did so. This is how serious this really is. I've seen low level people cause security incidents and lose careers by violating these email rules. Any one else would be on trial for treason for the sheer volume."
And finally this comment -"Absolutely not! But, I'm not above the law like some seem to be."
Seriously, Hillary - I invite you to respond to these average U.S. citizens on why you used your personal email address and even more dangerously, your personal email server to house thousands of U.S. government communications.
As Secretary of State, you were the highest-ranking US Government employee with respect to foreign relations and, therefore, the #1 target of foreign cyber spies. Your actions put my family and our nation at grave risk. What is especially maddening now is that you are attempting to "laugh all of this off" like it is some sort of a big joke. As the saying goes, this WAS NO LAUGHING MATTER.
Because of your massively important position of trust as Secretary of our State, it was especially incumbent on you to structure your email communications in the most open and transparent manner possible, and, further, in a way that complied with the spirit and the letter of the rules and regulations of the US Government. As an employee of our Federal Government, you swore to uphold the law and comply in every way with that organization's rules and regulations.
The fact that you turned over 30,000 emails to the US government and therefore say you have given the government everything is clearly disingenuous. While 30,000 emails for your four years of service may seem like a lot on the surface, you and I both know it is not. During your tenure as Secretary of our State you were at least as busy and received as many emails as I do. And I have over 70,000 unopened emails in my Gmail account alone. You clearly have not turned over everything.
You and I both know the difference between using private email accounts for personal versus corporate use. 99.9% of the business people I know in this world have both. In fact, I cannot think of someone in the business world that does not have both a company email and a private email. We are all simultaneously members of a company (in your case the government) as well as private citizens. When important company emails need to be sent, one uses their official corporate (or, in this case- government) account. It is not rocket science.
What were you thinking? Even someone no less notable that the head of the Federal Agency charged to be the government watchdog over the Government's Freedom of Information Act, Dan Metcalfe, said this:
"We now have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being revealed as someone who took the unprecedented step of arranging to use her personal email account for all of her official email communications. What's more, she decided to use her own email server equipment, rather than a commercial Internet service provider, so that the records of her email account would reside solely within her personal control at home. And if that were not enough, she then proceeded blithely to present herself to the public, at a press conference held on March 10, as if there were really nothing "wrong" about any of this at all."
Madam Secretary - you cannot plead stupidity, you cannot plead ignorance of the law, you cannot plead that these were unimportant emails, you cannot plead that this was a matter of convenience since you would have had remote access to your account, you cannot plead lack of experience, you cannot assert that you were coerced into doing this-
You know the difference between right and wrong. You are just not acting like you do.
Hillary - You are way too bright to not have known specifically what you were doing. Heck, you graduated from one of the most prestigious law schools in America - Yale. And given your large body of work in government and the law, there is no way on God's green earth that you did not know that your use of a personal email account for use of the Government's business was wrong, inappropriate, and destructive.
One thing is clear to me: Your actions in this regard demonstrate an utter disregard for the law and the importance of being transparent. I hope you can admit to your error of judgement, supply the entire contents of that email server to an independent third party for analysis, and do your best in the future to recognize the gravity of all of your actions while you are representing we the people.
Respectfully, David Bradford