National security is not a matter of personal convenience. The Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of State are the President’s right-hand women and men in matters of national security. Each member of this team has the President’s and the nation’s trust that she or he will protect state secrets. Hence, I have a very hard time ignoring Secretary Clinton’s decision to send, via a private server, emails that, at least to some extent, contained or referenced, however indirectly, state secrets.
Secretary Clinton has dismissed this as a minor mistake that others have made. The State Department’s Inspector General disagrees. He just publicly described her practice as posing a “significant security risk.” Whether the Secretary’s use of a private server actually led to security breaches and actual damage to national security as opposed to having simply raised the risk of such damage is not clear. It may never be clear since hackers can operate without a trace.
The Secretary’s email “mistake” raises the question of judgment. Her defense that others did it too is no excuse. The fact that she would offer such a defense raises even more concern. What other lines might she cross because “others did it.”
Protecting state secrets to the very best of one’s ability is what we automatically expect from everyone entrusted with our nation’s security. If we can’t trust Secretary Clinton to exercise common sense and put the nation’s interests before her personal convenience when it matters most, when can we trust her?