Liberal media outlets are clashing over the legality of Hillary Clinton using a private email account exclusively to conduct government business as secretary of state.
While Media Matters blasted
The New York Times — which broke the story — for implying that anything was amiss, other liberal journals said that Clinton's private email workaround raised serious questions about government transparency and might have violated federal record-keeping laws.
"Hillary's email mess deepens," Salon proclaimed
in a headline, adding, "While Clinton allies insist she was on the up and up with use of private email account, evidence suggests otherwise."
Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast
came to Clinton's defense on Tuesday, asserting that the record-keeping rules in question didn't exist during her tenure.
"So if these new regulations went into effect after she left State, then what rule did she violate, exactly?" Tomasky wrote.
Tomasky also chastised the Times, asking why the newspaper did "not share this rather crucial piece of information with its readers? … Why would the Times leave it out?"
But Mother Jones' Washington Bureau Chief David Corn — who recently wrote about Fox News host Bill O'Reilly allegedly inflating his exploits as a reporter — sided with Clinton critics in an article on the email controversy.
Corn wrote that, in fact, "according to the National Archives and Records Administration, there was a regulation in place governing Clinton's use of personal email for official business while she was secretary of state. And it seems she did not fully abide by this."
Clinton representatives have said that the former secretary of state broke no laws
in using a private email account for affairs of State, and that her staff has reviewed and turned over thousands of the emails in question on demand.
It has also emerged that Clinton's email was handled by a server located at her house.
"The whole point of preserving official records of government business is to have this material controlled by the government, not by the individual official or employee," Corn wrote. "Yet in this case, Clinton and her aides apparently did not preserve all her emails within the system."
The email imbroglio has re-opened old rifts in liberal political and media circles between supporters of the Democrats' presumed presidential front runner for 2016 and allies of President Barack Obama, who bested Clinton in the 2008 primaries and then hired her to be the country's top diplomat.
In the Salon piece arguing that Clinton faces "big questions" about private email, deputy politics editor Luke Brinker cited a 2013 Gawker article
about Clinton's thwarted efforts to hire an old Clintonista, Sidney Blumenthal, at State.
Brinker described Blumenthal in personal terms, calling him "sycophantic and viscerally anti-Obama," and noting that Clinton "received emails from Blumenthal concerning official government business, including the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya."
He added that "we may never know" what they discussed because Gawker's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the Clinton-Blumenthal correspondence reportedly turned up nothing.
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