White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has reportedly used his personal email address to communicate with other government officials. The news comes with a presidential administration that is no stranger to criticism and scrutiny from the public.
“If you’re sharing classified information knowingly with people who don’t have security clearances, then you’re in violation of the federal law,” Dr. James Hedtke said.
Hedtke, a political science professor at Cabrini University, laid out the foundation of consequences of using private email accounts.
“The potential dangers are that you may not have the same security on your personal server than the government has. The greatest danger is that you can put something classified out in an email that then can be more easily hacked on a private server,” Hedtke said. “These emails are a matter of public record— they’re not personal emails— and as a matter of public record, if you have your own server, it’s easier to delete emails that could be of importance to the public.”
If it is found that Kushner did share classified information with uncleared personnel, he would have the law to answer to.
“As far as we know, there has been no evidence that Kushner shared any information or even had any classified information on his personal email account,” freshman criminal justice major Lexi Goldstein said. “However, if he did share any private information, he would most likely have to give up his position and possibly face criminal charges.”
While government emails should be kept for public record, the public opinion on Kushner’s private email use remains varied. The topic of Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server seems to be a popular comparison.
“Kushner’s emails don’t necessarily change my opinion about the Trump administration,” sophomore political science major Camilia Katkocin said. “I think it definitely wasn’t ethical or a smart thing to do, but at least he didn’t delete his emails like Hillary Clinton.”
Hedtke had a different point of view.
“It should have a great impact because Trump wanted to send Hillary Clinton to jail, and he said anybody else would be in jail for using their private server for government purposes,” Hedtke said. “It’s just another instance where Trump is caught in the conundrum made from his own words. He had the whole Republican convention and Chris Christie practically prosecute her over the emails that were sent. ‘Lock her up’ right? Well, lock him [Kushner] up then.”