During her press conference explaining her use of private emails Tuesday, Hillary Clinton explained that she used a server that had been set up for her husband, former President Bill Clinton. She didn’t mention, however, that the former President’s aides did not want her to use the server, fearing it would become a target for hacking.
As reported in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:
Before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, one of her most trusted confidantes approached Bill Clinton’s aides with a plan. Mrs. Clinton wanted to run her private email account through the server her husband set up in the family’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home, people familiar with the matter said.
A private server had obvious advantages. It would give Mrs. Clinton more control over her email, people familiar with her team’s reasoning said. Privately, aides of the former president worried that adding her account would make the system a target for hackers. They also weren’t aware she would use it for all her official correspondence.
That decision has now invited the kind of relentless public scrutiny it was designed to avoid, while also maximizing Mrs. Clinton’s control over sensitive email correspondence that she might not want to get out.
The Journal reported that the server was “set up” some years after Mr. Clinton left office, noting that Clinton doesn’t use email, but his aides did and they wanted to have a separate email not connected with the Clinton Foundation.
When Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, approached Mr. Clinton’s staff about piggybacking on the server, they were initially skeptical that it technically could handle the additional load. But requests from Mrs. Clinton were nothing they took lightly and they complied, people familiar with the matter said.
Mrs. Clinton took office in January 2009 and began using her private email system for both work and personal matters. Her office said the system used “robust protections” and “additional upgrades and techniques employed over time as they became available.”
Kevin Bocek, a vice president at the Internet security company Venafi, said the Clinton server was encrypting data it sent and received as of March 29, 2009, about two months after she took office, based on a search he did of Internet records. During the first two months of her tenure, however, it doesn’t appear that Mrs. Clinton’s email had such protections, Mr. Bocek said.
Without the encryption the account is much easier to hack. The WSJ also reported that other senior Obama “officials who ran departments at the same time as Mrs. Clinton handled their email differently. Some, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, didn’t use email at all. Others carried separate devices for official and personal email.”