Magazine | April 6, 2015, Issue

From IT

Herewith a selection of e-mails from the low-level techs who administered, written to its primary user.

August 9, 2009 Hey, Jeremy here. Okay I got up and running for you. I had to upgrade the hard drives because they were pretty small — this thing was set up in 1999, right? The hard drive was only 100 MB and most of that was movies your husband downloaded. I took a look to see if they were important, and one started out with a guy delivering pizza to a young woman, and another was a plumber who showed up to fix a drain for a young woman, and like that. So I guess they were part of a job-training initiative or something.

Please advise what you want for your name and password? If I could suggest something for security purposes, maybe a name like “Condor492” with a password that consists of several letters and numbers? Thanks.

August 10, 2009 I appreciate your frank feedback on the matter, your user name is “hillaryclinton” and your password is “password,” and I understand I am employed on a contract basis and can be discharged for cause, and that the non-disclosure form pretty much means I can’t work for anyone again.

As for your request about setting up your laptop so it automatically logs you in, could be a problem if it’s lost or stolen? Willing to discuss. Thank you.

August 12, 2009 Hi, I’m Chad! Taking over for Jeremy. Wow too bad about his mom and his dog in the same week but at least I could help him out by subletting his place. Anyhoo two things if you have the time –

1. There are 4,034 pieces of spam in the junk folder, which kinda says your server’s e-mail address got out in the wild somehow. This happens if someone accidentally clicks on a bogus e-mail — they’ll have a subject line like “They Have Everything” or “This has been posted online about you, thought you should know.” Then it goes to a site that sells Viagra. And people click on that! A lot of these mails go to, so maybe we could tighten up the filters on that one.

I know I don’t have to give you the lecture about safe e-mail practices. I’m sure the State Department keeps you up to speed on amazing tech we lowly serfs can only dream about! 😉

2. Of course I can swing past the house for some technical support. Don’t worry — just because the VCR is blinking 12:00 doesn’t mean it’s broken.

January 10, 2010 Chad here, sorry, bad news. The server has 395 viruses. Most just installed toolbars that try to hijack your search requests by scanning your e-mail and picking out keywords, soooo . . . that explains why all the results for your Google searches are in Farsi. I think we might want to swap out the drive for another one. Advice?

January 11, 2010 Just wanted to thank you for the experience of a lifetime! Flying over the ocean in a helicopter with SEALs and watching them throw the drive out the door and destroy it with a missile was AWESOME. One point: When I dismantled the server case to get the hard drive, a little alarm went off. Jeremy’s notes said the server was secure but I thought he meant a firewall, so I’m putting one in just in case. No one will be able to get into the system when this bad boy is up! Also recommend resetting your user name to HRC01 — figured using your married initials would be a romantic touch. 😉

January 12, 2010 Okay, maiden-name initials it is. BTW the Secret Service guy who now sits in the closet with the server is a cool dude and having him hold the Ethernet cable in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other is GREAT for security, but I think encrypting your e-mail would be a good idea too.

March 15, 2012 Update on the servers — logs show brute-force attempts to gain root access. I wouldn’t be alarmed, probably kids having fun, but just to be safe I’ve changed your e-mail to hdr02. Changed password from p0tus2016! to p0tus2016? It’s just a punctuation mark, but that can make all the difference.

March 15, 2012 Password changed back to p0tus2016! as per request.

June 7, 2013 Spencer here, Madam Secretary. Again, I thank you for this opportunity, and hope you extend my thoughts to Chad’s family for his absence. I am settling into the apartment and thank you for your concerns about its comfort. I must say that Chad left a mess; I admire anyone who wants to learn a second language but I don’t know why he would try to burn all his Chinese-language classwork before he moved away.

Anyway, I see some flaws in his firewall protocols, and advise changing your e-mail address to hdr14 from hdr13 as per the usual change after a breach. By the way, what do you know about Stuxnet? It’s in everything.

December 18, 2014 Update: The system is being penetrated on a regular basis, as I described before, and the intruder seems particularly interested in Operation Wedding and Operation Yoga. (The attack came from a Bulgarian server that hosts I got a page that had details on Operation Wedding — something about Saudi funds and the Clinton Foundation — and Operation Yoga, which was about managing the post-Benghazi messaging. Then something really weird happened. The screen showed a box that had copies of your e-mails, and it said “We hope the president will be more flexible after the election.”

That’s a reference to yoga, right?

– Mr. Lileks blogs at

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Modern Pollster

A few days before Eric Cantor lost his Virginia congressional district’s GOP nomination last year, his campaign touted the finding of an internal poll. It showed Cantor, the majority leader ...
Politics & Policy

Obama at Selma

President Barack Obama’s speech in Selma, Ala., on the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” voting-rights march drew glowing reviews, with some commentators hailing it as the greatest speech of ...
Politics & Policy

Hillary Rules

A recent New York Times report that Hillary Clinton skirted federal-records laws as secretary of state by exclusively using a private e-mail system to conduct official business set off a ...


Politics & Policy

Is the Party Over?

Following a night of drunken revelry, Homer reports, Elpenor — one of Odysseus’s unhappy and rapidly dwindling band of brothers — climbs atop the roof of the house where they ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Not-So-Grand Bargain

Many Americans today would like to move beyond the abortion wars. Most of the time, this hopeful suggestion is made either by political liberals (who are frustrated by the pro-life ...
Politics & Policy

Elite Convergence

Conservatives thinking about class and economic inequality will be attracted to Joel Kotkin’s latest book. There’s much to like in it, especially its description of how the leading elements of ...
Politics & Policy

Funky Founder

The hottest ticket in New York right now is a musical at the Public Theater, the downtown off-Broadway venue. The star and creator is Lin-Manuel Miranda, a 35-year-old Nuyorican composer ...


The Long View


To: From: Subj: DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL Thank you for contacting customer support. We have received your message and are reviewing it. We will contact you within 72 hours ...
Politics & Policy


CLASSICS Classics pile up on your desk — like unopened mail From the old man’s bank, not blank checks For endless free interpretation, But a mounting high inheritance tax, Assessing and possessing your imagination With truth, ...
Politics & Policy


Consider the Freight Train I am flabbergasted by Kevin A. Hassett’s piece “Off the Rails” (March 9), which includes the statement “Even the worst rail systems in Europe are superior to ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ All our missing voters seem to have turned up in Israel. ‐ The general election in Israel was a triumph for Benjamin Netanyahu. His opponents had overtaken him in the ...

From IT

Herewith a selection of e-mails from the low-level techs who administered, written to its primary user. August 9, 2009 Hey, Jeremy here. Okay I got up and running for ...

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Defiant Dave Chappelle

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