Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's Excuses For Her Use of a Personal Email Account While At State Are Falling Apart

She claimed she sent her emails to government email accounts that were auto-archived. They weren't.

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CSPAN

In attempting to explain her decision to rely exclusively on a privately run personal email account to conduct all of her business while serving as Secretary of State, Clinton said earlier this week that one of the reasons she didn't think it was a big deal was that she always emailed other State Department staffers at their government email addresses.

"The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses," Clinton said at a press conference on Tuesday, "which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department."

There's no doubt that she meant to say this, because she repeated the line almost verbatim several times throughout the interview. 

But there's a big problem with this excuse: According to a government spokesperson today, the State Department didn't start automatically capturing and preserving emails to most of its employee addresses until last month. The Associated Press reports:

The State Department said Friday it was unable to automatically archive the emails of most of its senior officials until last month, which could mean potential problems for historical record-keeping amid criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email server while in office.

On the same day the department announced that it was temporarily shutting down parts of its unclassified Internet-linked systems, including email, to harden security in the wake of several hacking attacks, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that only Secretary of State John Kerry's emails had been automatically retained before February of this year. Kerry's emails have been automatically stored since he took the job in February 2013, she said.

…Psaki stressed that the department's inability to automatically archive emails does not mean the documents are no longer available to be produced for the public record in response to congressional demands or Freedom of Information Act requests. There are numerous other ways that documents, including emails, can be retained, although all require separate action on the part of employees.

So, to recap:

  • Clinton said she used one email account so that she could carry just one phone for "convenience," but just two weeks ago she said she now carries two phones. 
  • She said that she didn't send any classified information over her personal account during the years she spent at State, which experts are skeptical about.
  • She dodged a question about why on State Department ambassador was fired in part for using his personal email account by telling a reporter to read the Inspector General's report. In fact, the report specifically mentions the fired employee's "nonuse of commercial email for official government business."
  • She won't let any independent examiner look at the server that stored her email, in part because of Bill Clinton's communications, which is interesting given that Bill Clinton reportedly doesn't use email.
  • And she said she sent emails to government accounts that would be auto-archived, but which apparently weren't.

Clinton had months to come up with a response to this issue, and yet this is apparently the best she can do. Like I said yesterday, it's no wonder Democrats are nervous.