|FBI Director James Comey, looking concerned|
In my day, before the internet and email and web sites, security concerns were primarily physical; i.e., locked doors and safes, encrypted radio transmissions, basic computer security, etc. The internet changed everything. Back in the mid-seventies, when I taught a course in computer security at the U. S. Naval Academy, I would show my students how easy it was to gain access to a variety of computer systems via a network called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the foundational network from which today's worldwide internet evolved. In my 1975 classroom, using a regular commercial phone line, portable terminal, and acoustic coupler, I could easily enter this network and peek into many different computer systems. These included systems at military sites, DOD corporate contractors, and educational and research institutions. My point was that we needed more than mere physical security to keep the bad guys out.
Today, virtually every computer, including every smart phone and tablet, is connected to the internet. Of course the federal government maintains a few closed systems, but just about every other machine is vulnerable to cyber attack by either independent hackers or agencies of foreign governments. For this reason the federal government takes serious steps to safeguard the information stored on its systems and to ensure the safe transmission of classified material. For a Secretary of State to bypass these safeguards and completely ignore the real dangers of using a private server for her emails is almost beyond comprehension.
Director Comey, during today's televised monologue, seemed to realize all this as he laid out an almost perfect case for prosecuting Secretary Clinton for gross negligence in her handling of classified material. And then he tossed his case into the waste basket and recommended, well, nothing at all.
|Bill and Hilary|
It's also evident, based on the FBI's investigation, that Secretary Clinton was less than honest when addressing such issues as the classification of her emails. A family trait, perhaps? Her husband, after all, to avoid a perjury conviction accepted a plea agreement, paid a $90,000 fine, and gave up his law license for five years. Today his wife was far more fortunate.