Despite a hack two years ago that publicly exposed Hillary Clinton’s emails, the State Department took no action to shore up the security of the former secretary of state’s private computer server.
A State Department official said the department could not do anything in response to the March 2013 hack of longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal because it occurred on a non-governmental computer system. The hacked emails, which included Blumenthal’sfrequent correspondence with Clinton while she was in office in 2012, were sent by the Romanian hacker to media organizations, which later posted them online.
The disclosure renews questions of when State Department officials first learned that Clinton was doing department business on a private server and what steps they took to safeguard her sensitive diplomatic communications, some of which have been deemed classified.
National security and technology experts told McClatchy that the government should have taken immediate action, including implementing such security precautions as updating software and protecting passwords.
The failure to take any precautions also could have left Clinton’s server vulnerable to hackers, experts said. Just this week, a Senate committee chairman asked FBI Director James Comey whether the bureau was investigating the possibility she was hacked.
“The State Department should have done something,” said Brian Reid, a cybersecurity expert with the company Internet Systems Consortium. “If your house is burgled, you’re going to put alarms on the windows. It’s just basic common sense.”