A former federal official who spent 25 years handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's explanation of her use of private email defies reality and the practice was against the law.
In a column in Politico, Dan Metcalfe
, a former director of the Office of Information and Privacy at the Justice Department who was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act for the executive branch, says Clinton violated the Federal Records Act by using her personal email account exclusively for all official communications.
"I thought when I retired from the Justice Department in 2007, I was done with records-related scandals," Metcalfe said, noting that he served as the federal government's chief information-disclosure "guru."
"In that position, I had weathered many a Clinton records scandal during the 1990s — about two dozen, all told, including two that amazingly have still never become public — and I thought I had seen the last of them. At the very least, I thought I had become immune to being shocked by anything in that vein.
"It turns out I was wrong on both counts," Metcalfe wrote.
Metcalfe said that beyond breaking the Official Records Act, Clinton's decision to maintain all of her emails on a private server also shields her emails from FOIA, which he said is "truly unprecedented."
He added that Clinton's insistence that she had not done anything wrong should be considered with suspicion.
"Having spent a quarter-century at the forefront of the government's administration of the FOIA, including its transition to electronic records and its involvement in so many Clinton administration 'scandals du jour,' I know full well that both what Secretary Clinton arranged to do and what she now has said about that are, to put it most charitably, not what either the law or anything close to candor requires.
"At a minimum, it was a blatant circumvention of the FOIA by someone who unquestionably knows better and an attempted verbal 'cover' of the situation (if not 'cover-up') that is truly reminiscent of years past."
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