You may have thought that, following the electoral defeat of Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the change in administration from former President Barack Obama to President Donald Trump, you would no longer read stories pertaining to the use of unsecured private email servers to conduct official government business.
Alas, you would have been wrong, as government watchdog group Judicial Watch just issued a news release including a link to a 216-page document containing numerous messages to or from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, as well as three other top DHS officials, that were sent through private, unsecured, web-based email accounts.
The documents were produced in response to a May 2016 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against DHS after the agency had ignored a previous FOIA request filed in December 2015, which had sought any emails related to official government business sent or received by Johnson and the three other officials on a non-.gov email address.
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Those three officials were named as Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, chief of staff Christian Marrone and general counsel Stevan Bunnell, and they as well as Johnson have been found to have conducted official business using non-official email accounts.
Some highlights of the released emails include one from the Kuwaiti ambassador to Johnson that sought to arrange a meeting between Johnson and Kuwait’s interior minister. That email proceeded to discuss the minister’s meetings with the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the director of national intelligence.
A similar message was also received by Johnson from the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia that discussed an upcoming meeting with the Saudi interior minister.
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A message between Marrone and an unknown individual discussed sensitive information regarding the earnings of Lockheed Martin and joint efforts between Lockheed Martin and Boeing related to the launch of space vehicles and related infrastructure issues.
Laughably, Johnson sent out a “progress report” speech over his unsecured private email account that discussed the department’s “strides in cybersecurity.”
Even more hilarious — though a bit frightening — is evidence that Johnson’s name and account were spoofed as part of a “phishing scam” seeking personal information from people gullible enough to believe they could get a piece of an “abandoned fund worth U.S.D. 4.5 million in West Africa.”
Breitbart noted that some of the emails were heavily redacted, proving they contained sensitive classified information not fit to be released publicly — or stored on a private, unsecured email server, for that matter.
“It is ironic and disconcerting that Secretary Johnson and his aides touted Homeland Security’s great ‘strides in cybersecurity’ while using unsecured, private, web-based email accounts that the department had officially prohibited,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in the news release, according to Newsmax.
“The fact that the documents found in these email accounts were so heavily redacted and that Johnson’s name and email account were spoofed in a phishing scam is indicative of just how lax communications security was inside Homeland Security during the Obama administration,” he added.
Given that we now know of the prevalence of the use of unsecured private email servers to conduct official government business in the Obama administration, it is almost a certainty that we will be seeing more reports like this as their terribly “lax communications security” is increasingly exposed to the public.
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