Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Pseudoscoop of the day: secret email addresses

Another big AP scoop. Administration appointees maintain "secret email addresses" if by secret you mean a separate unpublished intra-office address they use to conduct agency business. AP is not buying the reasoning that they do this to avoid having to filter out extraneous public contacts from their accounts while they engaged in critical communications required to do their job. Because you know, nobody else does that, anywhere. Not ever. And never have before. If by never you forget to mention it was a common practice for years in the Bush administration.

Leaving aside that omission, do you know anybody know who doesn't have at least two accounts, even when they're not highly visible public figures? I don't. Furthermore, AP has no evidence of any misconduct involved in the use of the private addys. They aren't in widespread use. In fact AP found only a few of the employees have them at all. They appear to be mainly confined to the agency heads. There's no evidence they're being used to circumvent public records laws. All the AP has here is allegations from "Republicans in Congress" and the "Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank." Plus their own gut feeling that the very existence of such accounts "drive perceptions that government officials are trying to hide actions or decisions."

I find that rather hilarious, in a sardonic laugh kind of way. In fact, I seem to remember Bush administration White House staff using effectively illegal accounts with the practical result of circumventing public records laws. And then somehow managed to "lose" millions of them having to do with major policy decisions and deceptions of the Bush tenure. Many important electronic records were never recovered. What I don't remember is any great outcry from AP demanding accountability then.

But leaving history behind, the AP did manage to get the private address for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. They were asked not to publish it, but they decided to ignore that request "because the secretary is a high-ranking civil servant who oversees not only major agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services but also the implementation of Obama's signature health care law." I imagine having her private address inundated with crazed emails from crackpots every time Beck or Malkin or whoever sic their hordes of flying monkeys on her won't be interfering with her ability to conduct the business of the people at all. So great journalism in service of the public interest with that bold revelation guys.

What's most amusing about this little outrage is I see these journos bitch all day long on the twitter about having to deal with angry trolls who blast them with unwanted communications. Willing to bet they all have private addresses as well that they use to conduct their work. Maybe in the interests of media transparency, they'd like to give those out to the public... I didn't think so.

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Bush? Who's Bush? I don't remember any Bush.

10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Ha! Mass amnesia breaks out inside the Beltway and at every TP headquarters.

12:40:00 PM  

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