Your thesis seems to be that everyone else set up their own private email servers and trafficked in the most sensitive information outside of proper channels.
Of course they do. Why would you ever have any doubt? Upward mobility in this business is impossible without trying to take every advantage. Your 'ethics' or 'morals', whatever you want to call them, do not apply beyond the most newly hired/interned paper pushers. *Leave no trace* is more than just a 'Camper's Creed'.