Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hillary Cliton In State Depth...Critizied for Private Emails

WASHINGTON — The State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying that she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.
The report, delivered to members of Congress, undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements defending her use of the server and handed her Republican critics, including the party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, new fodder to attack her just as she closes in on the Democratic nomination.
The inspector general found that Mrs. Clinton “had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business” with department officials but that, contrary to her claims that the department “allowed” the arrangement, there was “no evidence” she had requested or received approval for it.
And while other senior officials had used personal email accounts for official business, including Colin Powell when he was secretary, the rules made clear by the time she became the nation’s top diplomat that using a private server for official business was neither allowed nor encouraged because of “significant security risks.”


State Dept. Report on Clinton’s Emails

The State Department's inspector general issued a report concluding that Hillary Clinton did not follow the requirements for handling records and should not have used a private server for department emails while she was secretary of state.
OPEN Document
Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private server was known by some officials beyond her closest aides, but no one in the State Department told her directly to use the department’s official email. When two officials in the record-keeping division raised concerns in 2010, their superior “instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again,” the report said.
The report, as well as an F.B.I. investigation and other legal challenges seeking information about her emails, is certain to keep alive a controversy that has shadowed Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
Mrs. Clinton and her aides have played down the inquiries, saying that she would cooperate with investigators to put the email issue behind her. Even so, she declined to be interviewed by the inspector general, Steve A. Linick, or his staff, as part of his review. So did several of her senior aides.

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, Brian Fallon, did not respond to a request for comment about her refusal, among other questions. In a written statement, he said that the report showed that her use of a private email account was “not unique,” citing the use of personal emails by some of her predecessors. “She took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records,” the statement said.
In an already tumultuous, highly polarizing election season, the reaction to the findings broke along partisan lines. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democratic supporter of Mrs. Clinton’s, said the findings revealed “nothing new.” Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York, who previously criticized the inspector general’s office as politicized, called the report a “hatchet job.” Mr. Trump, who has waged an often brutal attack on Mrs. Clinton’s character and honesty, said in a telephone interview that the findings reflected a pattern of dishonesty. “She’s always looking for an edge and always getting caught,” he said.

5 Key Points From the Report

  • Hillary Clinton should have asked for approval to use a private email address and server for official business. Had she done so, the State Department would have said no.
  • She should have surrendered all of her emails before leaving the administration. Not doing so violated department policies that comply with the Federal Records Act.
  • When her deputy suggested putting her on a State Department account, she expressed concern about her personal emails being exposed.
  • In January 2011, the Clintons' IT consultant temporarily shut down its private server because, he wrote, he believed "someone was trying to hack us."
  • The State Department began disciplinary proceedings against Scott Gration, then the American ambassador to Kenya, for refusing to stop using his personal email for official business.
The 79-page report added considerable new detail about the former secretary of state’s use of the server, as well as her motivation for setting it up. Mrs. Clinton has publicly said the arrangement was a matter of convenience, but emails disclosed in the report made it clear that she worried that personal emails could be publicly released under the Freedom of Information Act. In November 2010, her deputy chief of staff for operations prodded her about “putting you on State email” to protect her email from spam. Mrs. Clinton declined. She replied that while she would consider a using a separate address or device, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”
The report did not delve deeply into the issue that has become the focus of the F.B.I.’s investigation — the references in dozens of emails to classified information, including 22 emails that the C.I.A. said contained information on programs or sources that were “top secret.” It nonetheless called into question the risks of using a private system for what were clearly sensitive discussions of the nation’s foreign policy.
It noted that Mrs. Clinton sent or received most of the emails that traversed her server from a mobile device, her BlackBerry. Department officials told the inspector general’s office that “Secretary Clinton never demonstrated to them that her private server or mobile device met minimum information security requirements,” the report said.
The report also criticized Mrs. Clinton for not adhering to the department’s rules for handling records under the Federal Records Act once she stepped down in January 2013. She did not do so until late 2014, when the State Department, under pressure from Republicans in Congress investigating the 2011 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, requested that she turn them over.
It was only then that Mrs. Clinton instructed her aides to cull through roughly 60,000 emails that had passed through the server and turn over those involving official business. Those amounted to roughly half of the total. “Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.

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