In the wake of the Google vs. China dustup, we’re starting to see some discussion of the greater implications for computing, both in general and the cloudy Google way. The fact that some Gmail accounts were accessed by hackers looking for dissidents raises some questions about the security of Gmail specifically and the entire …
Shocked that the DoD use email at all?
I'd be very surprised if ANY classified material leaves DoD by email at all, regardless of which mail server forwards it.
E-mail has no guarantees of security or privacy thanks to its distributed nature and its roots in the 1970s and the DoD are well aware of that fact.
Official != classified
Can cabinet officials use e-mail? Sure they can. I seem to remember a little flap about a bunch of White House e-mails disappearing last administration....
If classified material is transmitted on a public network, there's serious punishment involved.
But what surprises me is that people can even get to gmail from the unclassified networks; in my experience, most places block access to "webmail" services. Maybe via IMAP, but I doubt that, too.
Gmail = !delete
Of course, had those White House officials used Gmail, chances are they would not have been able to delete their email.
What's there to discuss? It is plain and simple: a really bad idea.