President Obama said former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE’s use of a private email server did not create a security risk during her time in office.
“I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered,” he said during an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night.
Still, Obama conceded the decision was “a mistake.”
“She has acknowledged it,” he said of Clinton.
Cybersecurity experts have chastised the leading presidential candidate for her arrangement, warning it likely left critical national secrets vulnerable to hackers and spies.
They say there’s no way Clinton, a top target for foreign intelligence agencies, could have secured and monitored her server to the same degree as the State Department.
In recent weeks, investigations uncovered at least five fake “phishing” emails from Russian-linked hackers sent to Clinton’s email in an attempt to access her account. Senate investigators also said they found cyberattacks launched from China, Germany and South Korea targeting Clinton’s actual server, not just her email account.
Clinton’s campaign team has maintained that there is no evidence any of these intrusion attempts succeeded.
Obama described Clinton’s email setup as a “legitimate” issue, but cautioned that the criticism has been fueled by partisan politics.
“The way it's been ginned up is in part because of politics,” he said. “The fact that for the last three months this is all that’s been spoken about is an indication that we’re in presidential political season.”
But the situation is a lesson for senior officials, Obama explained.
"As a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data," he said.