Friday, September 30, 2016

Clinton and the Modern Age

Some sentences from Garrett Graff's writeup at Politico after reading the last batch of FBI reports of interviews of the Clinton people:
 "Together, the documents, technically known as Form 302s, depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive who shows little comfort with even the basics of technology, working with a small, harried inner circle of aides inside a bureaucracy where the IT and classification systems haven’t caught up with how business is conducted in the digital age. Reading the FBI’s interviews, Clinton’s team hardly seems organized enough to mount any sort of sinister cover-up. There’s scant oversight of the way Clinton communicated, and little thought given to how her files might be preserved for posterity—MacBook laptops with outdated archives are FedExed across the country, cutting-edge iPads are discarded quickly and BlackBerry devices are rejected for being “too heavy” as staff scrambled to cater to Clinton’s whims."
 Secretary Powell tried to bring State into the modern age:
Powell invested in 44,000 new computers, giving every employee a computer on the desk, and monitored the adoption of the new systems as he traveled by conducting unofficial audits, sitting down at embassies overseas to check his own email and attempting to log into his account. As he told FBI agents, “This action allowed Powell to gauge if the embassy staff was maintaining and using their computers.” He also regularly checked the department’s internal “Country Notes” on the intranet to see if missions overseas were keeping their details up to date.  
 I come away from the long article, thinking more highly of Powell as a bureaucrat--at least he knew from his Army days about the need for solid routines and the likelihood that things will be Fubar.

As for Clinton, since I have a close relation who's never used the IPad Air she received, I shouldn't complain much about her technological incapacity.  I think the facts in the article fully support Comey's decision.  However, I'm bothered by the idea that nobody in Clinton's circle of advisers and support staff, except for the IT guy, seems really to have worried about the nitty-gritty.  It's a prevalent disease of big-shots, IMHO, but I hope as President she finds a Sherman Adams*.

* Ike's chief of staff who made the trains run on time.

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