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house Bill H.R. 3743

Banning Cabinet Secretaries From Using Private Servers for Work Email and Data Storage

Argument in favor

Storing sensitive communications and data on a private server is practically asking for a foreign government or hacker to try and compromise it. Especially when the information belongs to a U.S. Cabinet Secretary, the use of private servers is too risky for national security.

Natecdunn's Opinion
···
01/28/2016
I am in the military. We take a mandatory course upon joining your unit. Called OPSEC. Or operation security. (If you are in the service as well, you should know what I am talking about). We learn from the very beginning of our careers that handling of any type of information should never be taken lightly. And the failure to do will result in UCMJ knocking at your door. Not only should you handle the sensitive items with care, but you should also report any wrong doings from a fellow comrade/ coworker. This to me means that Hilary should be prosecuted and those that knew, or sent classified information to her email should be investigated as well. #firstpost.
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Steven's Opinion
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01/31/2016
Why does any government employees conducting government business need to keep that business on a private server? This is a no brainier or it should be.
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Cary's Opinion
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01/29/2016
Yes, except Hillary Clinton. If she is Secretary again I think she should be allowed to have a private server, but we all get the password.
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Argument opposed

If Cabinet Secretaries have a legitimate reason for wanting to use a private server for official government business, they should be able to, if they can prove the server is secure. They can be trusted to preserve classified information from those trying to access it.

Alan's Opinion
···
01/28/2016
This bill is not necessary because storing classifed information on any private or commercial server is illegal and punishable by a fine and jail time. The federal government needs to do its job and enforce the law, not muddy the waters by granting officials further privileges.
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Heather's Opinion
···
01/27/2016
Seriously? This is yet another attack on Clinton basically. I'm not an over fan of hers, but this is ridiculous and obviously stemming from misogyny more than anything. For this law, just use some common sense people. If it's top secret, keep it in the most secure place and only there. And likewise with other materials. Otherwise, who cares? The politicians are people too. They don't top being people with lives when they are elected and sworn in! Treat them like it!
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Jacey's Opinion
···
07/05/2016
This doesn't strike me as a real issue. It looks like a way to misuse government funds to continue raking Hillary Clinton over the coals for no real reason.
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What is House Bill H.R. 3743?

This bill would prohibit the Secretary of a Cabinet-level executive department from maintaining a private email server to conduct official government business. The Inspector General of each department would be directed to ensure compliance with the prohibition.

Any Secretary who violates the rules would be subject to a fine and/or prison term, forfeit their office, and be disqualified from holding any U.S. government office.

For reference, there are 15 federal departments (plus the Vice President) in the Cabinet. There are seven other positions considered to be “Cabinet-rank” — even though they're not part of the formal Cabinet. These include the White House Chief of Staff, the UN Ambassador, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Impact

Senior government officials in the Cabinet, or who hold “Cabinet-rank” roles, hackers, national security, and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3743

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced this bill to simultaneously protect sensitive communications by cabinet-level secretaries and preserve records that might be needed in subsequent investigations:

“Our nation’s electronic communications and records are under constant cyber-attack by terrorist organizations and more frequently by foreign governments. This legislation ensures no Department Secretary may use a private server for emails and storage of electronic data... The use of private email servers may inhibit the preservation of all records and electronic communications which may be needed for Congressional, civil or criminal investigations.”

A provision similar to this legislation was included in the omnibus appropriations bill, though it only prohibited funding for private email accounts or servers within the State Department.


Of Note: On several occasions since the early 2000s, senior cabinet-level officials have used private email accounts or servers to conduct official business. While serving as Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, and  Condoleeza Rice didn’t rely on government email accounts — though Albright and Rice rarely emailed, while Powell used the government system for secure emails. More recently, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and former health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebellius used either private or secondary government email accounts to conduct official business.

During her term as Secretary of State, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used a private email server to store some of her official government emails. Several Freedom of Information Act requests and subpoenas related to Benghazi led to the discovery that months of emails were missing from the private server.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) expanded its inquiry into the matter from assessing how classified materials were handled, to investigating whether national security secrets had been jeopardized and by whom. Specifically, the FBI is looking into whether Clinton staffers were directed to copy classified information from a secure system to be sent over a non-secure network to then-Secretary’s account. Clinton has claimed that she did not send or receive classified emails through that server, and when questioned about the use of her private email server in a town hall on CNN, she maintained that:

“I’m not willing to say it was an error in judgment because what — nothing that I did was wrong.  It was not — it was not in any way prohibited.”

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user quinn anya)

AKA

Securing Every Relevant and Vital Electronic Record Act of 2015

Official Title

To prohibit the Secretary of an executive department from maintaining a private email server for conducting official Government business.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedOctober 9th, 2015
    I am in the military. We take a mandatory course upon joining your unit. Called OPSEC. Or operation security. (If you are in the service as well, you should know what I am talking about). We learn from the very beginning of our careers that handling of any type of information should never be taken lightly. And the failure to do will result in UCMJ knocking at your door. Not only should you handle the sensitive items with care, but you should also report any wrong doings from a fellow comrade/ coworker. This to me means that Hilary should be prosecuted and those that knew, or sent classified information to her email should be investigated as well. #firstpost.
    Like (108)
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    This bill is not necessary because storing classifed information on any private or commercial server is illegal and punishable by a fine and jail time. The federal government needs to do its job and enforce the law, not muddy the waters by granting officials further privileges.
    Like (78)
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    Why does any government employees conducting government business need to keep that business on a private server? This is a no brainier or it should be.
    Like (44)
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    Yes, except Hillary Clinton. If she is Secretary again I think she should be allowed to have a private server, but we all get the password.
    Like (33)
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    This seems like a duplication of laws already on the books. Appears to be an excuse to cut Clinton a break from being indicted. How sad that politicians never hold themselves accountable and block efforts by the people to hold them accountable.
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    Seriously? This is yet another attack on Clinton basically. I'm not an over fan of hers, but this is ridiculous and obviously stemming from misogyny more than anything. For this law, just use some common sense people. If it's top secret, keep it in the most secure place and only there. And likewise with other materials. Otherwise, who cares? The politicians are people too. They don't top being people with lives when they are elected and sworn in! Treat them like it!
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    You need to ask?! Did we not learn from Hillary what a bad idea it is to let government employees use private servers, computers, flash drives, etc.?! BTW, WHY ISN'T HILLARY CLINTON BEING INDICTED FOR HER "FAUX PAS"??? AT THE VERY LEAST, SHE SHOULD HAVE HER SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED!
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    If I had consistently violated all measures to protect classified data and information while I was serving over 22 years in the Air Force the way Mrs. Clinton and her staff did at the State Department I would still be in Leavenworth. The government/citizens do not need the trouble and expense to review and certify that private email servers meet classifed data requirement. I was in charge of the budget to develop a secure classifed information facility at one base in the Air Force and the expense for the building and the equipment that it contained was very high. We do not need to tempt government officials by letting them play games with government information on private servers. Anyone who has handled classified data knows that even unclassifed data when combine or used in certain ways can become classifed or very sensitive. Don't we require appointed and elected officials undergo training on how to handle sensitive and classified information?!!
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    This doesn't strike me as a real issue. It looks like a way to misuse government funds to continue raking Hillary Clinton over the coals for no real reason.
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    HILLARY TO PRISON
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    Server is a broad definition. Local backup NAS can be considered a server. Storing data on a device connected to public domains could be restricted as a better alternative.
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    I can't believe this even needs to be asked.
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    Yes, all government employees from Dept head, Deputies and secretaries.
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    Just another Republican non-issue to try to keep the scandal-mongering going leading up to the election. This is not a voter issue. It is a regulatory issue. Voters cannot be expected to even "understand" the technology involved, or having any valid way of coming up with a cogent answer. Waste of time legislation. Quit wasting my tax dollars playing Republican "Run out the clock" games.
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    National security shouldn't be jeopardized just because we "trust" someone enough to do the right thing
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    Since at least one was too arrogant or stupid to not realize the danger of an unprotected or inadequately protected private server for sensitive communications, WE NEED TO MANDATE IT.
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    Absolutely no reason to have government business conducted over personal email.
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    I think that you have a second server means...... One intends on DOING WRONG....
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    Look I get it. Hillary effed up and sent some emails that got everyone in trouble. But don't tell me you've never snap chatted your ex on a Friday night. I know you did! My point is this is a drastic oversimplification of a multi faceted and little understood issue. Our cyber security is vital yes, but prohibiting senior officials from using private servers is just a band aide solution. What if using a private server is the solution in an unforseen and future edge case? Then they'll have to break the law to do the right thing. No, instead our nation needs to completely rethink all of our cyber laws and consult the most knowledgeable and innovative people on Earth to do so. This law won't solve the root issue.
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    It's already in the Constitution don't you know?
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