Just one month before former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her candidacy for the 2016 presidential race, the eruption of a scandal — that Clinton may have broken federal law and breached security by exclusively using her personal email account to conduct government business — could have an impact on her political future, some analysts say.
CNN host Chris Cuomo said the Clinton email scandal "smells terrible," adding, "this could be considered no small thing. She did not have a government email address for her entire tenure.
"As we all know, personal email accounts, not only are they unsecure, certainly compared to government email, but lost things, buried things, you know, disclosure."
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Potential GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush wasted no time in jumping on the scandal, posting on his Twitter account
: "Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released," and attaching a URL where his own emails during his tenure as governor of Florida could be viewed.
Jason R. Baron, former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, told The New York Times
: "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario, short of nuclear winter, where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business."
The Times said: "The revelation about the private email account echoes longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy."
Clinton, who did not have a government email account during her tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, may have violated federal regulations of the National Archives and Records Administration requiring use of a government email account, with emails retained for historic records, the Times said. Current Secretary of State John Kerry uses a government email account.
"I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business," Baron told the Times.
Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, told the Times: "Personal emails are not secure. Senior officials should not be using them."
The existence of Clinton's use of private emails first came to light during House hearings into the deadly attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News reports, noting that Clinton aides combed through her emails and made decisions about which ones to release.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told Fox News
that about 300 Clinton emails had been turned over to the Benghazi select committee.
Fox notes that 55,000 Clinton emails recently were turned over to the State Department.
"However, these were cherry-picked by (Clinton) advisers, so it's unknown exactly how large her personal email archive could be. It's also unknown whether or not she used encryption or any security measures to protect those highly-sensitive communications," Gizmodo said
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