Jason, I did a decent amount of research, and have some contacts who have been or are in the government or military. I also asked my company’s IT to review an argument I was making, to see if I had the broad concepts accurate.
The email imbrogliio can be filtered down to some basics. The reason to implement a private server is for control of information. That is, the purpose is to subvert the system, which gives little latitude to the employees regarding sorting public from private material.
Support for this conclusion is truly not complicated. Colin Powell used the .gov server for matters of national security, but he shared ‘personal’ dialogue on an aol account. Condi Rice behaved similarly. However, one has to remember that email in its public form is really about 25 years old, and as a routine communication mechanism, it is around 20 years old. This is important when trying to compare Powell and Rice’s machanics with Clinton’s.
When Powell served as Secretary of State, commercial email as a wide and routinely used communications form was between 5 and 10 years old. When Rice served, it was still in its commercial infancy.
Second, Google searches will reveal that there was nothing ‘convenient’ about the use of the private server. State Department officials were scrambling to provide a forum that would meet the Secretary’s stated needs and preferences. Blackberry’s, especially in non-secure areas, were roundly rejected. Clinton defied the regulations and the expectations.
It is not surprising that Clinton was not found to have jeopardized national security. Her purpose was CONTROL. She is no dummy. She did an effective job of monitoring and controlling the flow of information. The value of undergoing all the headaches is that an ocean of information that ought to be a matter of public record is now floating in cyberspace. It may be recovered or uncovered, but it may not.
The overarching point is that no sensible, objective person can logically compare Powell and Rice’s behavior regarding email with Clinton’s. A private server bestows a level of control that subverts the FOIA. Powell and Rice would have hidden zero information if the House had asked to see everything from Powell’s or Rice’s aol account in a more timely manner.