The government's records agency wants the State Department to explain how Hillary Clinton’s emails as secretary of state ended up on her private email server rather than a government system.
In a letter sent March 3 — a day after The New York Times reported
Clinton exclusively used a personal email account for official business when she was secretary of state — National Archives and Records Administration official Paul Wester asked for a report on whether federal records had been left out of the official recordkeeping system and what the agency is doing to fix the issue, Politico reports.
Politico reports it obtained the letter Wednesday.
"NARA is concerned that federal records may have been alienated from the Department of State’s official recordkeeping systems," Wester wrote to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Margaret Grafeld.
"If federal records have been alienated, please describe all measures the department has taken, or expects to take, to retrieve the alienated records. Please also include a description of all safeguards established to prevent records alienation incidents from happening in the future."
The records agency gave the department 30 days to respond – and even referred to "potential issues" with emails sent or received by prior secretaries of state dating back to Madeleine Albright.
In December, Clinton provided about 30,000 emails from her private account to her former agency at its request. She said last week she discarded about 32,000 other messages her lawyers deemed personal and private in nature.
But the likely Democratic presidential candidate has said she violated no law or regulation
by using a personal email account.
State Department spokespeople have made similar claims and have noted that former Secretary of State Colin Powell also regularly used a private email account.
Clinton said she believed most of the work-related messages were "preserved" in State Department systems at the time because they came from or were sent to officials using state.gov accounts. But the State Department said last week it hadn't routinely archived official email accounts until recently, Politico reports.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday the department had received the letter and she expected it would respond to it, The New York Times reports
Politico reports Psaki also explained Wednesday why Clinton and some of her predecessors apparently didn't complete a standard State Department "separation statement" certifying they'd returned all of their official records to the agency.
"Secretaries of state often do not sign this form as it is a step to revoking their own security clearance," she said. "There’s a long tradition of secretaries of state making themselves available to future secretaries and presidents and secretaries are typically allowed to maintain their security clearance and access to their own records for use in writing their memoirs and the like. Hence, this is not a form that many would have signed."
Republican critics insist if she signed it when she left the agency in 2013, she lied since she had work-related emails in her personal account — and if she didn't sign it, she was improperly exempted from department policies, Politico notes.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.