The emails a person sends and receives reveal a lot about him or her. Recently, it came to light that Hillary Clinton who is running for American presidency, had used her personal email id to communicate with top aides of President Barack Obama, when she was the secretary of state. The state department had clear rules against employees regularly using personal email for official work. But as people responded using the “reply” button, most officials she communicated with appear not to have noticed it. And an odd person who did notice it, did not jump to the conclusion that she had used that exclusively. She indeed had.
So when an American government website, in response to a court ruling, showed a batch of emails from her time in office—including her truly personal mails—it revealed a lot about Hillary Clinton, the woman as well as the leader who drove Obama's foreign policy. It revealed: that Obama aide David Axelrod had written “You are an all-star player, and we need you for the long run”, her invite to Strobe Talbot for lunch or dinner to talk policy, how she struggled to use a fax machine and her concerns over what was for lunch or dinner and about tweets.
But in India, monitoring of emails of ministers or officials, on whether they use official or personal mail, is not routinely carried out. In any case, the mail is generally “put up” to the minister or officer. On issues they wish to be totally secretive in their communication they avoid email and try to meet personally. If that too is not possible, they make a phone call—after ensuring that the phone is not tapped.
And so it was that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj decided to call up Keith Vaz, the British parliamentarian of Indian origin, who has now become a known name in India, recommending help to IPL czar Lalit Modi.
In a mail dated July 31, 2014, to Sarah Rapson, an immigration official in UK, Vaz noted, “Foreign Minister of India has spoken to me making it very clear that the Indian Government has no objection to the travel document being granted, which is contrary to what the refusal notice has stated. Mrs Swaraj has also spoken to Sir James Bevan, who even though is on leave, said he will speak to the relevant person in the Home Office.” Vaz signed off saying, “ Frankly everyone has been involved in this apart from Ban-ki-Moon”.
Little did Sushma foresee that Vaz would refer to that phone call in an email and eventually land himself in trouble in UK and make her the huge collateral damage in India!
But back to Hillary Clinton's emails. A news report on these emails also mentions that she and her closest staffers communicated “in a sort of code, using nicknames”!