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First POST: Failures

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 10 2015


  • Hillary Clinton is going to hold a press conference in New York sometime in the next few days to address questions about her private email account, Glenn Thrush reports for Politico. (Continuing a trend, Thrush says that the Clinton server was "housed in her suburban New York residence," which despite the New York Times and AP stories he references, remains an unverified assertion, not a fact.)

  • White House press secretary Josh Earnest also acknowledged yesterday that President Obama did "trade emails with his secretary of state" but was not aware how the mail was handled or that she did not have an official account. The State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that "we don't have any reason to believe" that Clinton's email account was compromised, though she did change her address in 2011 after a hacker posted it online, Thrush notes.

  • Mother Jones' Washington editor David Corn writes that the response of the Clinton camp to the email mess shows that they've learned nothing from the past. He writes:

    Clinton's use of a private email account to conduct secretary of state business and, just as important, her failure to preserve her messages in real-time within the department's own record-keeping system were not, as Clintonites claimed, no biggie. Yes, Scott Walker had his own secret email scandal. And Jeb Bush, who tried to score political points by slamming Clinton, vetted his gubernatorial emails before releasing them to the public, while congratulating himself on his supposed devotion to transparency. (I've combed the Bush email archive for names and topics that ought to be there—and found obvious subjects absent.) So the Clinton defenders have a point when they gripe that the media is only obsessed with her email problem. But it is a small point. She was a Cabinet official. She had a duty to ensure that her records—which belong to the public, not her—would be controlled by the department, not by her private aides who operate her private server.

  • In the Intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley report on the CIA's efforts to undermine the security of Apple's iPhones and iPads. Neither the CIA nor Apple commented for the story, and as Scahill and Begley write, the leaked documents on which they base their story "do not address how successful the targeting of Apple’s encryption mechanisms have been, nor do they provide any detail about the specific use of such exploits by U.S. intelligence."

  • Jimmy Wales, the cofounder of Wikipedia, and Lila Tretikov, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, take to the New York Times op-ed page to explain why they are joining with the ACLU to sue the NSA for its blanket surveillance of Internet traffic on American soil, saying it violates the First and Fourth Amendment rights of their users.

  • Also joining the lawsuit: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Pen American Center, Global Fund for Women, The Nation Magazine, The Rutherford Institute, and Washington Office on Latin America.

  • Steven Levy has a fascinating interview with Dan Pfeiffer, the White House's just-departed director of communications for the first six years of Obama's presidency. Pfeiffer is great on the challenge of communicating authentically in the digital space, and also on getting attention in an ever-more fragmented media landscape. But unfortunately, Levy didn't ask him about the first year of the Obama administration, when the White House experimented with forms of online engagement that inched toward giving the public something more like actual input into agenda-setting (recall "Open For Questions"?), only to soon adopt a much more traditional broadcast approach.

  • The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy has launched TechHire, a $100 million "multi-sector" initiative to help fill half a million tech jobs, working with partners ranging from to the Kapor Center, with many major coding training centers and tech companies participating as well.

  • GigaOm, a often terrific chronicler of the tech scene, has announced it is closing its doors. Its founder, Om Malik, expresses his regrets.

  • On the Detroit blog ModelD, Kat Hartman reports on the rollout of the city's new open data portal, which she says, "offers significant raw material for civic tech projects, startups, and nonprofits in the city, putting roughly 90 datasets (including crime and permit data) into the hands of the public."