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Sorry, Hillary Clinton fans: her email errors are definitely newsworthy

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Reprinted from The Guardian

Despite her campaign's attempt to paint the scandal as persecution, anyone who cares about government transparency and security should demand information

From twitter.com/NRO/status/627290946707812352/photo/1: Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
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The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and its supporters have spent the last week trying to paint the continuing scandal over Clinton's private email server as a partisan persecution with no significance to the presidential race. But anyone who cares about government transparency, over-classification and cyber-security should care about Clinton's email scandal -- including her strongest supporters.

Put aside the House's Benghazi committee and Republican attempts to turn every Clinton misstep into a Great Benghazi Conspiracy. There's plenty of legitimate reasons this remains a disturbing episode, and it's a wonder Clinton's camp isn't more forthcoming with the media. Whether her supporters like it or not, this is a story, and it's going to continue to be a story as emails continue to be released over the next year.

First, there's Clinton herself. She repeatedly denied having classified information in her emails, yet now we find out there are likely "hundreds" of emails containing it (more on that later). One of her closest aides, Philippe Reines, excoriated Gawker months ago for claiming he was using a private email address to conduct state business during his tenure at the State Department, yet he apparently just turned over 20 boxes of emails containing just that. Does the public not deserve an explanation about these seemingly false statements?

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Using private email for public business is also a tried-and-true tactic to evade public records requests, no matter what Clinton defenders might say. And it is beyond question that it worked, as FOIA requests filed for these emails were stonewalled for years and only thanks to the attention are now just starting to trickle out. It may be part of the reason why Clinton's State Department had a "dismal" record on transparency, which is certainly an issue a lot of non-Republicans care about.

Should citizens not have serious concerns given Clinton was a target of dozens of intelligence agencies as Secretary of State and put herself at increased risk of spying by using private email with unknown security features? In an age where both political parties claim that cybersecurity is such a serious concern that they are willing to trample citizens' basic privacy rights, it's a wonder the argument is being made presidential candidates should be above reproach.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)

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