It’s hard to forget those calls by Donald Trump supporters to prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
We can still hear the feverish chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” that resounded throughout the presidential campaign.
Hillary’s “crime”? Well, you know. Possibly endangering America’s security, by possibly giving hackers access to sensitive (even classified) information. Possibly.
Well, it turns out that one of Clinton’s chief critics, now Vice President Mike Pence, used a private email account to conduct state business while he was Governor of Indiana. Some of that business reportedly involved sensitive homeland security matters.
And, according to the Indianapolis Star, Pence’s account was hacked.
Here are excerpts from the Star’s report:
Emails released … 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.
Furthermore, advocates for open government expressed concerns about transparency because personal emails aren’t immediately captured on state servers that are searched in response to public records requests.
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.
That’s of particular concern to Justin Cappos, a computer security professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. “It’s one thing to have an AOL account and use it to send birthday cards to grandkids,” he said. “But it’s another thing to use it to send and receive messages that are sensitive and could negatively impact people if that information is public.”.
Pence fiercely criticized Clinton throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, accusing her of trying to keep her emails out of public reach and exposing classified information to potential hackers.
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.
Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at computer security company WatchGuard Technologies, said the email accounts of Pence and Clinton were probably about equally vulnerable to attacks.
“In this case, you know the email address has been hacked,” he said. “It would be hypocritical to consider this issue any different than a private email server.”
Kudos to the Indianapolis Star for their work on the report — and to Indiana’s Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] which enabled the Star to do its job.
We can’t wait to see how the White House and the GOP devise some new ALTERNATIVE FACTS as they try to wriggle their way out of yet another hypocrisy laden screwup.