On Hillary Clinton's email
Here’s an odd one: SN&R comes out in support of archiving the city of Sacramento’s emails—because it’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s historically necessary and it’s the right thing to do—and what happens? News breaks in a New York Times story that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using a private email account to conduct public business during her tenure, and that only those emails sent to government accounts are retrievable for archiving.
We’d like to point out some things missing from the Times’ report, though. First, the federal law governing the use of email was not in effect at the time. Yes, it’s a technicality, but it’s the difference between a mere error and violation of a federal law. And second, the state department has been notoriously slow to integrate technology into practice—some reports say that not all office computers had access to the Internet until former Secretary Colin Powell insisted they be upgraded during the first term of President George W. Bush.
That said, it’s also necessary to remind everyone that electronic communication is no different than any other form of communication: When it’s done by our government, it needs to be archived and accessible. We cannot be a true democracy when our officials, whether elected or appointed, feel free to control which communications will become part of the record.
So, Clinton—and any other Luddites or pols with electoral aspirations—need to be on notice: When it comes to public business, your email communications are public. Use the official account for work and archive it. It’s simple, it’s cheap, it’s historically necessary and it’s the right thing to do.