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Report: Hillary Shunned Govt Email for Personal Account at State Dept

By    |   Monday, 02 March 2015 10:37 PM

Hillary Clinton used a personal email account, not a secure government account, during her time as secretary of state and may have violated federal rules, according to a report.

The New York Times reports that Clinton never had a government email address when she served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Instead, she used a personal account to conduct business.

The fact that Clinton, who served in the Obama administration's cabinet, used a personal email address concerns officials, reports the Times.

"It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business," said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer and a former director at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in the Times story.

State Department officials did not make any effort to capture Clinton's emails from her time as secretary and place them on department servers to be archived, reports the Times. Two months ago, however, Clinton's advisers looked through thousands of pages of emails dating back to her days as secretary. They ultimately submitted 55,000 pages of emails to the department.

Federal law mandates that all forms of communication, ranging from hand-written letters to emails, sent and received by government officials, are government property and must be archived for the official record.

"I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business," Baron told the Times. He worked at NARA from 2000 to 2013.

The Times notes that it is unclear whether the 55,000 pages of emails submitted to the Department of State encompass all of what Clinton sent and received during her time there.

The other concern with Clinton's use of personal email to conduct official government business, some of which is sensitive and classified, is that it's not a secure method of communication.

"Personal emails are not secure," National Security Archive director Thomas S. Blanton said in the Times piece. "Senior officials should not be using them."

A Clinton spokesman would not say to the Times why she elected to use a personal email address instead of a government one. The Clintons have long been criticized by Republicans for not being transparent.

Clinton is considering running for president in 2016. One of her GOP challengers, Jeb Bush, has pledged to be transparent and open when it comes to his time as Florida governor (1999-2007). He recently released a large number of emails dating back to those years, a move that semi-backfired when it became clear that some of the messages contained Social Security numbers of Florida residents.

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Hillary Clinton used a personal email account, not a secure government account, during her time as secretary of state and may have violated federal rules, according to a report.
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Monday, 02 March 2015 10:37 PM
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