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‘Absurd’ to compare Pence’s use of private email account to Clinton’s – VP office

‘Absurd’ to compare Pence’s use of private email account to Clinton’s – VP office
During his term as Indiana governor, Vice President Mike Pence used a personal AOL account to communicate security-related issues. Though his account was once hacked, his office denies that the situation can be compared to that of Hillary Clinton.

Some of the content of US Vice President Mike Pence’s AOL account emails has been revealed by IndyStar, which received the emails through a public record request addressed to the office of his successor, Governor Eric Holcomb.

The topics of the emails ranged from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terrorist attacks across the globe, the report says. In one email dated January 8, 2016, he communicated with then-Chief of Staff Jim Atterholt, and his top public safety and homeland security adviser, John Hill, on an FBI arrest of suspected terrorists.

Hill gave details of the arrests, including their nationality being Iraqi rather than Syrian. Pence, at the time, tried to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.

The IndyStar report said 29 pages of the emails were released late last week, although other records were withheld because they were considered confidential and too sensitive for public scrutiny. The Holcomb office would not disclose how many of the emails it kept.

The AOL account was compromised in June last year, when a hacker sent emails to his contacts claiming that Pence and his wife had been stranded in the Philippines and needed money. Pence, in response, sent an email to people targeted by the scam, apologizing for any inconvenience and set up a new AOL account, the report said.

Pence has been a strong critic of Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email sever when she was secretary of state. On NBC’s Meet the Press in September, Pence called her “the most dishonest candidate for president of the United States since Richard Nixon.”

“And with regard to classified information she [Clinton] either knew or should have known that she was placing classified information in a way that exposed it to being hacked and being made available in the public domain even to enemies of this country,” Pence said then.

When asked for comments, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter called any comparisons between Pence and Clinton “absurd.” He said that as governor, Pence did not deal with federally classified information and that he used a well-known consumer provider rather than a private email server. His office said his campaign hired outside help to ensure that all AOL communications related to public business were transferred to the state as required by law.

Consumer accounts are generally considered by cyber-security experts to be less protected than those operated by the government, which usually have extra layers of protection and monitoring. AOL in particular was involved in a hack of a senior US official, then-CIA Director John Brennan, when his account was hacked and emails leaked to whistleblower site WikiLeaks.