While Governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence used a personal AOL email account to communicate with his top advisor about matters related to homeland security. Indystar reporter Tony Cook obtained 30 emails through a public records request, who said one of those e-mails even contained an update from his homeland security advisor about an FBI arrest made for terrorism charges.
All of this was conducted on his personal AOL e-mail account that had been hacked at least once by a scammer. Side note: Who the hell uses an AOL email acount anymore?
But this may sound familiar, because one of the largest issues in the 2016 presidential election was concern over candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail to communicate official business. This was seen by many as not only a security breach, but a sign of poor judgment on the part of Clinton. It resulted in a federal investigation that determined she exchanged classified information over private e-mail. People lost their minds over it.
But Pence’s supporters are saying this case is different, and even The Washington Post is reporting that they are different sitautions for important reasons.
Pence’s office released a statement saying that what he did wasn’t illegal in the state of Indiana. They also downplayed any comparisons to what Clinton did, calling any such comparisons “absurd.”
So here’s how the cases are different, and how Pence’s supporters are arguing that this case shouldn’t be of concern:
- Hillary Clinton’s case resulted in a federal investigation that determined she exchanged classified information on a server based out of her New York home. Pence’s people are saying that what he did isn’t illegal, and that we should all move on.
- In Pence’s case, he exchanged sensitive information on a server based at AOL’s server farms around the world. Pence’s supporters argue that the fact that Clinton used a private server showed intent to circumvent the law. Whether a private server shows such signs, Pence’s use of AOL e-mail shows a lack of discretion on a simple security level, many are arguing.
- Only 30 pages of Pence’s AOL e-mails have been released so far. More than 30,000 e-mails were released from Clinton’s servers. While reporters have already uncovered some sensitive information in Pence’s e-mails, after digging through Clinton’s e-mails, they found similar sensitive and classified information.
- Pence’s e-mails are currently being held hostage by Indiana Governor and Republican Eric Holcomb. The Indiana Democratic Party called for “full disclosure” of the e-mails, saying “it seems Governor Holcomb has chosen to withhold a portion of the public work product Pence sent on private servers, and Indiana Democrats want to know why.”
As for if what Pence did was illegal or threatened national security, only more investigation into what was said, when and to whom will uncover that. Indiana law doesn’t prohibit public servants from using personal e-mail accounts, but it also means that said e-mail must be retained as public records. So, as we find out what sort of information Pence left open for hackers and other bad dudes, the excuses and duplicity will be fun to watch. Some of his emails are already being dispered online.
One final bit of advice for VP Pence: If some Nigerian prince says he has $40 million to deposit into your bank account, it’s a scam.