Hillary Clinton is set to answer questions for the first time today after a week of nonstop criticism surrounding her use of a private email server while serving at the State Department. Even prominent Senate Democrats such as Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) have said that Clinton's silence is "hurting her."
Tuesday on Today, Chuck Todd reported that Clinton will likely say that the "server was very secure." Todd also speculated that to quell the controversy, Clinton would need to turn the server over to the State Department.
Clinton's likely claim that her server was secure flies in the face of many contrary reports from security experts. Last week, Bloomberg reported Clinton’s personal email server was built for privacy but not for security. Bloomberg's Michael Riley said that Clinton may have thought her email was secure, noting that her team purchased ‘high-end security' for the server. However, security experts have said they never completed the final step, leaving the server vulnerable even to inexperienced intruders.
Unlike commercial email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo, which keep copies of emails long after a user deletes them, Clinton's personal email server was designed with the functionality allowing the user to permanently delete emails. Bloomberg Business also reported that Clinton’s consultants failed to make the encryption system secure and left it vulnerable for hacking.
The State Department has refused for a week to say whether the homebrewed server was secure. In a State Department briefing Monday, spokesperson Jen Psaki again refused to answer if the State Department ever verified the security of the system.
Many technology security experts have said that Clinton's server was ideal for keeping emails in her own control, but ignored the risk of foreign actors monitoring the system. Technology blog TechDirt summarized their findings in the biting headline, "How Hillary Clinton Exposed Her Emails To Foreign Spies… In Order To Hide Them From The American Public." The Washington Post‘s Barton Gellman concurred:
I don’t care who the Clintons hired: it is not possible for a high value target to secure a home-managed email server. Except from FOIA.
— Barton Gellman (@bartongellman) March 4, 2015
Al Jazeera America reported that Clinton's own State Department warned her of the security risks posed by the private server, but that those warnings went ignored:
State Department technology experts expressed security concerns that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using a private email service rather than the government’s fortified and monitored system, but those fears fell on deaf ears, a current employee on the department’s cybersecurity team told Al Jazeera America on Tuesday.
The employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said it was well known that Clinton’s emails were at greater risk of being hacked, intercepted or monitored, but the warnings were ignored.