Hillary Clinton finally took questions from the press on Tuesday regarding her use of a personal email address to conduct government business while she was secretary of state.
But despite the rare 20 minutes Hillary devoted to the press, she left many questions unanswered. Here are some:
1. Was the server secure?
Hillary assured the press that the email system set up and stored at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. — which had been set up for her husband's use even though he doesn't use email – was secure. [UPDATE: Busted -- Hillary’s Server Is Actually Located In A City Government Building On Broadway & Chambers -- NO Secret Service Protection as Claimed]
"It had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches," Hillary said. "So, I think that the — the use of that server, which started with my husband, certainly proved to be effective and secure."
In a follow-up document, Hillary's staff reiterated that she did not send classified documents over email and expanded on the former secretary's statement.
"The security and integrity of her family's electronic communications was taken seriously from the onset when it was first set up for President Clinton's team. While the curiosity in the specifics of this set up is understandable, given what people with ill-intentions can do with such information in this day and age, there are concerns about broadcasting specific technical details about past and current practices. However, suffice it to say, robust protections were put in place and additional upgrades and techniques employed over time as they became available, including consulting and employing third party experts."
This still hasn't persuaded some that her "homebrew" server was capable of protecting information at the same level as a server controlled exclusively by the government.
One former member of the FBI who now works in cybersecurity told the Washington Post that, "The layers of security that would have to be employed to make a privately run exchange server as secure as something that is secured by the federal government would be pretty significant."
He added that such a task wouldn't be impossible, "I just find it improbable."
Jim Geraghty over at National Review declared that Hillary's email system was "probably" hacked, citing the use of an "obsolete and insecure" protocol that received an "F" rating for security.
Also, it is odd that Hillary would cite the fact that the Secret Service physically protected the server as a defense. As if hackers needed to physically possess the server in order to get to its content.
2. When was the server set up and was it ever replaced with newer technology?
Hillary said the server was first used by Bill. The follow-up document from her team said it was "first set up for President Clinton's team." The Clintons left the White House and began using the New York home in 2001. That means the server could be nearly 15 years old.
Numerous tech blogs suggest replacing email servers every three to five years. Clinton's team said they provided "additional upgrades" to the server but didn't make clear whether it was ever replaced.
If the server was 15 years old, it most likely needed hard drives to be replaced and the storage to be upgraded. What happened to those old hard drives? And if the entire server was replaced, what happened to the old one(s)?
3. Why did she delete personal emails?
Hillary said at her press conference that she "chose not to keep" her "private personal emails," an indication that she deleted some 30,000 emails she claimed were not work-related.
But why delete them instead of just keep them stored in the server? Was she afraid of a subpoena or a possible hack? It's possible that the deleted emails are still recoverable, unless she wiped the hard drives. If she went to those lengths to remove those emails, what was her reasoning?
4. Were there emails between Bill and Hillary?
Hillary said the server contained "personal communications from my husband and me," but Bill and his spokespeople have said he doesn't use email. It's possible that there are some other kind of communications between the two stored on the server or maybe they were emails on behalf of both of them or their separate emails, but so far it appears no one has been able to get an answer.
5. Did Hillary have two phones at the State Department or not?
Hillary said she used the single, private email address for "convenience." Because using two phones is too burdensome — just like learning how to use two email accounts from one device, apparently.
But two weeks ago, Hillary said at another event that she has the Apple iPhone "and a Blackberry." The implication is that she has been using two phones, although she didn't specifically say she did so during her time at State. It's possible she has since reluctantly resigned herself to carrying two phones, only now after all the important considerations of government computer use are already behind her. But the question needs answering.
6. Can Hillary handle the press?
Hillary began her press conference with smiles and a cheerful demeanor. She approached the podium with her head held high. She spoke lightly and promoted her work at the Clinton Foundation. The fist couple of questions just prompted her to restate her prepared remarks.
But as the questions became more difficult, Clinton's demeanor changed. She became testy with the questioners, indignant almost. If you go back and read the transcript, the last two questions contained a lot of cross talk and very short answers.
This was Clinton's first press conference in six months, and it ended when a woman touched her arm and told her it was time to go. It almost looked like she was being told to leave before she got really irritated.
It seems like a cliché to ask, but how can she handle the presidency if she can't handle questions from reporters? There are times when President Obama appears to get testy with the press, but not to the extent where it looks like he's being ushered away before he gets really angry.
Hillary already avoids talking to the press, preferring instead to speak at carefully choreographed events with pre-screened questions. But at some point, if she does run for president, she will have to talk to the press, and if she can't handle that, her 2016 dreams may end the same as her 2008 nightmares.