Breaking: Clinton Gave Staffers Clintonemail.com Addresses Too

from the it's-turtles-all-the-way-down dept

There has been quite a kerfuffle around the apparent fact that Hillary Clinton solely used her personal email account for government business. This piqued my curiosity, especially since I've been playing with a service called Conspire lately.

Conspire is a startup that analyzes your email and then seeks to provide you with an email chain with which to introduce you to the desired person. So, say I wanted to email my current business crush, Marcus Lemonis, Conspire's system found a path with which I could ask for an introduction. In my case, my friend Espree could email her friend Nathan for an introduction to Marcus. Neat. I can definitely see how Conspire could become a useful tool, albeit one that raises some very interesting privacy questions.

So, I looked for Hillary Clinton's now famous hdr22@clintonemail.com email address in Conspire. No luck. Conspire is still growing, so I suppose it makes sense that none of its members have yet to email Hillary. But then I tried just the clintonemail.com domain in the search, and got one hit. Huma Abedin, Hillary's long-time aide, had an email address with the clintonemail.com domain in Conspire's records. Unfortunately, I have no connection path to Ms. Abedin, so I can't ask the system to facilitate an introduction, but it is fascinating. What other Clinton staffers were using email addresses at the clintonemail.com domain? Seems like at least one was.
Huma Abedin's Page on Conspire.com
To be fair, Abedin not only was Clinton's deputy chief of staff in the State Department, but she also continued to work for Clinton after Clinton left office. It is possible that she only got the email address after leaving the government, but it certainly raises some serious questions about whether or not other State Department staffers were provided private clintonemail addresses to avoid transparency requirements. In fact, Politico is reporting specifically that Abedin and other staffers used non-government email addresses while in the State Department, which suggests the clintonemail address may have come earlier:
Clinton’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, and her communications adviser, Philippe Reines, regularly used unofficial email accounts for work-related email, former colleagues said.
This also makes me wonder what other new communications mediums our government officials are using. Could world leaders be SnapChatting each other? Or perhaps sending international YO's? Or trolling each other on YikYak? And, if they are, are they complying with records retention laws?

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  • icon
    Watchmaker (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:27am

    Don't they work for us?

    Normal citizens can't keep watch on government officials, but the government officials can watch us. It's bit like having employees who won't let the boss see their work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re: Don't they work for us?

      It's really cute the way you think citizens are the bosses and elected representatives are employees. It's even cuter that you believe you've a right to watch over officials' actions, and presume the right to question them. Awwww, so cute when serfs stand up for rights they presume they have.

      Have a nice little pat on the head. I'm looking forward to senility when I can believe such fairy tales again too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: Don't they work for us?

        "It's really cute the way you think citizens are the bosses and elected representatives are employees"

        I think that it's a bad idea to make fun of people for this. Although our governmental employees don't think they work for us and act as if they don't, we have to never let go of the fact that they they are, in fact, our subservients rather than our masters.

        If we discourage people from thinking the we are the bosses, we are encouraging the people to accept a subservient role and to stop fighting to make sure that's the fact in practice. In other words, that sort of sentiment only makes the notion of "there's nothing we can do so we should do nothing" stronger.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Don't they work for us?

          "It's really cute the way you think citizens are the bosses and elected representatives are employees."

          I think that it's a bad idea to make fun of people for this.

          The truth hurts. "Of the people, by the people, for the people ..." contains about as much truth and reality today as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy combined. If the Internet's done anything, it's at least shown the world what a crock of !@#$ all that "American Exceptionalism" is worth. It's BS. Your elections are staged by the incumbents, your cops kill twice as many civilians as the FBI is willing to admit even while they rob you blind assuming your stuff is forfeit due to the Drug War, and you have to be a millionaire (at least) to get an education or survive a lawsuit. I won't even bother with affordable health care or prescription drugs. Meanwhile, you're no less racist than you were at the end of the Civil War, and that may even be getting worse. Jeffrey Stirling and John Kiriaku go to jail, and Petraeus gets a wave. For what purpose, other than to hide illegality, would a Sec. of State former FLOTUS ignore rules on email?

          I am *so* glad I'm not subject to the crap you people suffer, and pay your taxes for, daily. The world will rejoice when the USA collapses and breaks up into multiple warring, Balkanized provinces, disappearing into history. Good riddance!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            art guerrilla (profile), 5 Mar 2015 @ 5:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Don't they work for us?

            *ouch* that'll leave a mark...

            the hell of it is, i agree with both of you: john seems like a great guy from his writings, don't really 'know' tqk, but can't refute what he says... a little harsh, perhaps, but we are w-a-a-a-y past the point of being polite (or voting) having any real effect on TPTB...

            and on alternate days, i can be understanding of sincere -yet frustratingly pollyannish- citizens who have yet to be awoken, and give them a pass, if not try to edumacate them; but then on days i am fed up with The System and ignorant, i can lampoon willfully blind sheeple mercilessly myself...

            to paraphrase whitman (?): do i contradict myself ? very well, i am full of multitudes, therefore i contradict myself...

            the truth of the matter, is that the 'blame' lies somewhere in between the sociopathic .1 to 1% who fuck it all up PURPOSEFULLY for their own greedy ends; and the 99 to 99.9% who are too busy, stupid, misinformed, uninformed and/or cowed to rise up on their hind paws and bare their fangs at our 'superiors'...

            Empire must fall.
            the sooner the fall,
            the gentler for all...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 11:45am

      Re: Don't they work for us?

      As much as a serf is the boss of a king

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 5 Mar 2015 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re: Don't they work for us?

        Yeah, so we need to start holding them to account instead of merely complaining about it. Does your rep know you by name because you call or write him so often?

        That is how it is supposed to work. Make them earn their keep!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:56am

    Use of private email by state department is great news!

    Think about the implications in court if anyone wants to challenge warrantless wiretapping.

    Government lawyers cannot claim with a straight face that people have no expectation of privacy in email accounts run by companies, when the government itself thought that email was secure enough to conduct State Department business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re: Use of private email by state department is great news!

      Government lawyers cannot claim with a straight face that people have no expectation of privacy in email accounts...
      Of course they can. The ability to maintain a straight face while claiming such things is a prerequisite for the job.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:56am

    I'm waiting for the political freakout that citizens are spying on their metadata.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike L, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:28am

    Interesting Privacy Questions, Like: Did Abedin Let a Third Party Access Her Email?

    It would be pretty bad if Huma Abedin let some third-party service like Conspire read and analyze all of her emails, if the address were used for anything of importance (which I'd presume it was, if it were to merit being used to sign up for Conspire).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:39am

      Re: Interesting Privacy Questions, Like: Did Abedin Let a Third Party Access Her Email?

      It would be pretty bad if Huma Abedin let some third-party service like Conspire read and analyze all of her emails

      True. Though it's also possible that it was just someone who had emailed with her who used Conspire.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:00am

    Maybe private email servers work better?

    Maybe better than government servers which are scheduled for an upgrade from tin can and string technology to tin can and fishing line technology.

    Maybe private email servers could be viewed as more secure than government servers which may have secret unelected watchers secretly watching everything secretly in secret from a secret remote location. While these snoops could easily monitor the private servers, they have to know you are using them first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re: Maybe private email servers work better?

      I'm completely willing to believe that. However, that in no way excuses anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re: Maybe private email servers work better?

        I find it a little disturbing that the same people who can green-light extrajudicial drone strikes can't find a Unix guru to run a sendmail server farm.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:35am

      Re: Maybe private email servers work better?

      Maybe private email servers work better?
      no.

      https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutrality/articles/20141012/06344928801/revealed-isps-al ready-violating-net-neutrality-to-block-encryption-make-everyone-less-safe-online.shtml

      when the ISP's get in the middle - it doesn't really matter where your email goes - it is unsecure. Which is (small) part of the whole FCC Neutrality debate - whether or not ISP's can muck with the the transmission speed or inject their ads - or turn TLS off for you.

      Maybe email servers could be viewed as more secure than government servers which may have secret unelected watchers secretly watching everything secretly in secret from a secret remote location.That's the NSA.

      While these snoops could easily monitor the private servers, they have to know you are using them first.This is the point of "only the metadata" - now we know where you connect to, and can just watch the connection, not you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dfgh, 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:02am

    Headlines

    So...TechDirt is tacking "Breaking" onto their headlines now? Really?

    Please don't do that. It's tacky.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:53am

    Oh, really?

    I can definitely see how Conspire could become a useful tool, albeit one that raises some very interesting privacy questions.

    You think?

    This is a spear-phisher's gold mine. It's one of the most useful resources I could think of for them to lay their hands. And best of all: someone else is building it for them at no expense.

    So, sure. Let it analyze your email. That's one of the best ways to help abusers target the people you correspond with: you know, your friends, family, coworkers. Great choice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    News GK, 19 Jul 2015 @ 6:50pm

    Today's headline news

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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