Vice President Mike Pence has become embroiled in an email scandal of his own. After a campaign season of criticizing Hillary Clinton for using her personal email while Secretary of State, Pence is humiliated by revelations that as governor of Indiana he conducted official business through his personal email.
Clinton was cleared of any wrongdoing by the FBI, but Republicans still assert that her emails make her a criminal. Pence himself reminded us just last week about how careless Clinton was with her private email server. (A strange talking point considering Clinton has been out of the political picture for months now.)
Now it seems that Pence committed the same sin that Clinton did. He conducted official state business over his AOL account, including information that his successor, Governor Eric Holcomb, deemed too sensitive to be made public. Topics were under discussion over Pence’s email about everything from security at the governor’s mansion to Indiana’s responses to global terror attacks.
Although Pence’s email provider was a major company unlike Clinton’s private server, cybersecurity experts say that the two email accounts are for all intents and purposes equally insecure. Government email accounts, unsurprisingly, are more secure than AOL.
In fact, Pence’s email was hacked a year ago and a spammer sent out emails to family and friends pretending that Pence and his wife were stuck in the Philippines and needed money wires.
University of New York Professor Justin Cappos, an expert in computer security, pointed out, “It’s one thing to have an AOL account and use it to send birthday cards to grandkids. But it’s another thing to use it to send and receive messages that are sensitive and could negatively impact people if that information is public.”
The other major concern, in addition to security, is transparency. Private accounts can be used by individuals to keep official correspondences off the record. Pence says that he turned over all official emails to the state of Indiana upon leaving office. But if we play Republican for a moment we can start asking, Did he really turn them all over? Is he hiding something?
The only thing we know for sure is that Mike Pence is a reprehensible hypocrite. If he cared so much about security and transparency, if he knew so much about cybersecurity and email accounts, then he would not have criticized Clinton while doing the exact same thing himself. Disgusting.