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Cyber Expert Tells Congress Hillary Clinton’s Private Email System Was a Major Security Risk


"You're exposing classified the open, and at the end of the day, that's — that would not be prudent and would also be illegal."

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton greets supporters after speaking at New York University on July 24, 2015 in New York City. It has been disclosed by inspector general for the intelligence community that material Hillary Clinton emailed from her private server contained some classified information. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

During a hearing with the House Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Oversight on Friday, a cybersecurity expert confirmed to Congress that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email account acted as a severe security threat to the nation.

During the hearing, John B. Wood, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at Telos Corporation, listened to a scenario posed by Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, in which Smith asked if his company would accept the request of a "senior government official at an executive branch department" who approached Wood's company to create a private email account and server with which to conduct both personal and official business. In addition, Smith said, this government official would store all of the emails in a server located in their private residence.

Following the presentation of this scenario, which was published in a YouTube video, Smith asked Wood two questions: "Could this scenario unnecessarily expose classified information to being hacked?" and "How would your company respond to such a request?"

To the first question, Wood merely answered, "Yes." To the second, he said that in response to the official's request for a private email account and server, his company "wouldn't do it ... if for the simple reason that you're exposing classified data to — in the open, and at the end of the day, that's — that would not be prudent and would also be illegal."

When Smith asked Wood to elaborate on why it would be "illegal," Wood responded, "because the government requirement is ... that all official information be used through ... official means, meaning through government networks."

In addition to Wood, the committee's panel of witnesses included Dr. Martin Casado, senior vice president and general manager of networking and security business unit at VMWare; Ken Schneider, vice president of technology strategy at Symantec Corporation; and Larry Clinton, president and CEO at Internet Security Alliance.

Following his testimony during the hearing, Wood published an article on Telos' website titled "Government Turns to Private Sector for Cyber Security Insight." The article, which consists of further statements that he gave at the hearing, concludes with this thought: "Defending our nation in cyberspace requires a long-term national effort and commitment, much like the Space Race — we have the equivalent of a cyber-race to the moon on our hands, and we are falling behind."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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