There has been quite a kerfuffle around the apparent fact that Hillary Clinton solely used her personal email account for government business. This piqued my curiosity, especially since I’ve been playing with a service called Conspire lately.
Conspire is a startup that analyzes your email and then seeks to provide you with an email chain with which to introduce you to the desired person. So, say I wanted to email my current business crush, Marcus Lemonis, Conspire’s system found a path with which I could ask for an introduction. In my case, my friend Espree could email her friend Nathan for an introduction to Marcus. Neat. I can definitely see how Conspire could become a useful tool, albeit one that raises some very interesting privacy questions.
So, I looked for Hillary Clinton’s now famous email@example.com email address in Conspire. No luck. Conspire is still growing, so I suppose it makes sense that none of its members have yet to email Hillary. But then I tried just the clintonemail.com domain in the search, and got one hit. Huma Abedin, Hillary’s long-time aide, had an email address with the clintonemail.com domain in Conspire’s records. Unfortunately, I have no connection path to Ms. Abedin, so I can’t ask the system to facilitate an introduction, but it is fascinating. What other Clinton staffers were using email addresses at the clintonemail.com domain? Seems like at least one was.
To be fair, Abedin not only was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff in the State Department, but she also continued to work for Clinton after Clinton left office. It is possible that she only got the email address after leaving the government, but it certainly raises some serious questions about whether or not other State Department staffers were provided private clintonemail addresses to avoid transparency requirements. In fact, Politico is reporting specifically that Abedin and other staffers used non-government email addresses while in the State Department, which suggests the clintonemail address may have come earlier:
Clinton’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, and her communications adviser, Philippe Reines, regularly used unofficial email accounts for work-related email, former colleagues said.
This also makes me wonder what other new communications mediums our government officials are using. Could world leaders be SnapChatting each other? Or perhaps sending international YO’s? Or trolling each other on YikYak? And, if they are, are they complying with records retention laws?