Friday, December 18, 2015

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - Who guards the people from the guardian governmental officials? A string of governmental officials believing they are above the law, despite the extensive media attention and criticism of Hillary Clinton's against-the-law use of private emails for government business of all sorts.

A story that speaks for itself:

"The New York Times (see links below) on Thursday revealed the latest email-hider: Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Mr. Carter was confirmed in February, and from the start used a private account to correspond with aides about everything from legislation to media appearances. He may well have discussed far more serious, classified matters, but we don’t know. That’s because we must rely on Mr. Carter’s word that he turned all his work correspondence over to the Defense Department. Just as we must trust that Hillary Clinton didn’t delete anything official from the private server she used as secretary of state. seems that Mr. Carter continued to use his private email account for two full months after the news broke about Mrs. Clinton’s ether escapades. So the defense secretary either a) doesn’t read the news; b) thinks rules apply to him even less than they do Mrs. Clinton; or c) felt the secrecy afforded was worth the risk of getting caught. It seems Mr. Carter didn’t stop until White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough—who was watching the Hillary explosion—told him in May to cut it out...."

"...One irony of these scandals is that, in seeking to keep government business secret from Americans, officials make it more available to foreign enemies.

Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used private email accounts. She and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also used email aliases, making it harder for Freedom of Information Act filers to track down correspondence. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius used private email. As did former Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris, who had three private accounts.

The head of the Chemical Safety Board used a private account and didn’t preserve the correspondence. High-ranking Justice Department officials—including the former head of the criminal division—were off the government grid. Disgraced former IRS official Lois Lerner used two off-reservation email addresses, as well as an internal instant-messaging service that didn’t archive conversations.

When the folks at the top routinely break the rules, the folks lower down figure they get to as well. Mrs. Clinton’s aides conducted business off government servers. A former EPA official strategized over private email with environmental groups about how to shut down the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska."

Much of this material, and more details and statistics, has come to light through government oversight reports and Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) actions. For more details, see:

And for more details of one particular case concerning former EPA administrator Michael Goo, see this editorial:

“I’ve been involved with EPA regulations for more than 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator in the Bush Administration, says. “It is remarkable that a senior official would use a private email account to evade federal law and secretly give an outside group a seat at the table when regulations are being developed.”

"The EPA’s interlocutors here are environmental litigators and political insiders who understand federal law. This may explain why they communicated with Mr. Goo through his private Yahoo email. In a May 2011 email, the Sierra Club’s John Coequyt says: “Attached is a memo I didn’t want to send in public.”