It hurts so good

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

iowaRegular readers are familiar with our generic rejection of conspiracy theories, on the principle that like-minded people will instinctively behave in ways that advance their mutual interests with no need for whispered meetings in dark alleys.

More and more, though, it looks necessary to refine that principle by stipulating that policy does not equal conspiracy as the secret—and potentially deadly—email practices of the current administration look more and more like conscious policy rather than complacency or shoddy judgment.

Did we say “potentially deadly?”  How else to describe the use of unsecured, private email by the Secretary of Defense, as described last week by The New York Times?

Secretary Ash Carter’s malpractice is no different from that of the former Secretary of State, where exposure of secret information to foreign hackers is concerned. But disclosure to foreign hackers appears coincidental, if appalling. The real point seems to be non-disclosure to U.S. citizens with a legitimate interest in administration policy, and the administration’s deliberate, illegal policy of frustrating that interest.

Last month the Energy and Environment Legal Institute went to federal court over private, back-channel emails used by the Environmental Protection Agency for illegal collusion with the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council to devise un-achievable regulatory standards designed to force fossil-fueled power plants out of business.

Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal’s formidable Kimberley Strassel listed, in addition to Secretary Carter, eight prominent administration officials including cabinet secretaries, known to have used unsecure private email and/or aliases for official business, evidently to thwart lawful access. Hundreds of lesser officials have been similarly implicated.

Ironically, Strassel noted, “in seeking to keep government business secret from Americans, officials make it more available to foreign enemies.”

It gives new meaning to the phrase, “all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

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