Government emails are supposed to be a matter of public record. But as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton routed all her messages — work and personal — through a private server, instead of an official government account. Clinton has said she opted to use a single address "for convenience," and she's asked the State Department to vet and release all her work-related emails. But as the 2016 presidential race gets closer, this hasn't stopped accusations that she and the State Department have broken either the letter or the spirit of federal transparency laws.
Oct 28, 2016
FBI Director James Comey wrote in a letter today that the agency has discovered new emails that may be relevant to its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. In an unexpected development, The New York Times has since reported that the emails were found on devices belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her scandal-plagued husband Anthony Weiner.Read Article >
The letter, which was distributed to members of Congress, has little information, but Comey writes that the agency discovered the emails in the course of another investigation. Those emails, Comey writes, "appear to be pertinent" to the Clinton probe. The agency is now "taking appropriate investigative steps" to see if the emails contain classified information, or are otherwise significant. The Associated Press reports the emails did not, however, come directly from Clinton's server.
Jul 5, 2016
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has completed its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server and is recommending that the Department of Justice not indict Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference today. The recommendation is not binding, and the ultimate decision will be made by the Department of Justice. Still, the recommendation will likely clear longstanding questions that have dogged Clinton’s presidential campaign for over a year.Read Article >
The recommendation is the result of a painstaking investigation by the bureau, which uncovered a number of new details. The investigation determined that 110 emails in 52 email chains contained classified information, including 8 chains containing information that was marked as top secret at the time, Director Comey said. Secretary Clinton used several different email servers and numerous mobile devices, and many of those servers were decommissioned and otherwise altered as they were replaced. "None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system," Comey said in the announcement. "Even if information is not marked classified in an email, participants who know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it."
Jul 24, 2015
According to a government review, Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails containing classified information through her controversial private email account while she was secretary of state, The Wall Street Journal reports.Read Article >
Jul 24, 2015
Two government inspectors have asked the Department of Justice to examine whether whether Hillary Clinton misused sensitive information on the private email account she used during her tenure as secretary of state, Reuters reports. The referral was filed by two inspectors general, though the Justice Department has not decided whether it will launch an investigation. The latest characterization of the DOJ's action disputes a New York Times report from earlier today that said the inspectors had requested a criminal investigation.Read Article >
The referral comes amid an ongoing State Department review of Clinton's private email account, which she used for government business during her four years as secretary of state under the Obama administration. Clinton has said that she used the account (and the private server that hosted it) as "a matter of convenience," though it also exempted her from some federal transparency obligations. Revelations about the account have raised concerns over the transparency and security of Clinton's correspondence, sparking controversy as her 2016 presidential campaign kicks into gear.
Jul 14, 2015
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails are now a big enough issue that they merit an official 3,600-word fact sheet. Today, the campaign put up its own gigantic explainer, covering why the former secretary of state stored mail on a private server instead of an official State Department account, whether that server violated government transparency policies, and how she decided what to hand over for public release.Read Article >
The fact sheet aggregates news coverage, quotes from Clinton's speeches, and known statistics. It repeats, for example, that she "opted to use her personal email account as a matter of convenience." Clinton once again says she maintained transparency by sending her messages to other people's official State Department accounts, and that she handed over the entire work-related portion of her messages to the State Department before the scandal leaked. Unsurprisingly, the Clinton campaign concludes that this was entirely legal. Outside fact-checking group Politifact (which Clinton quotes favorably) is less sure that she followed the spirit, or even the letter, of the law.
May 19, 2015
That news this morning about Hillary Clinton's private email server, which she used instead of an official State Department address? That the department would be releasing 55,000 pages of her emails in January of 2016? That may no longer be true. Vice News, which previously filed a FOIA request for the emails, now reports that Judge Rudolph Contreras of the DC District Court has ordered the State Department to create a schedule to release the emails on a rolling basis.Read Article >
They'll also have to set a specific date for the emails relating to the 2012 attacks on a US compound in Benghazi, Libya — a major point of contention between Clinton and some Congressional Republicans; this could reportedly happen within "days or weeks."
May 19, 2015
Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account has raised many transparency concerns — and at least a few lawsuits. After news broke, outlets filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to quickly obtain the emails, and in response to one, the State Department proposed a date for the documents' release: January 15th, 2016. But a judge has rejected that plan, instead ordering the department to release emails as they become available.Read Article >
Vice News sued the State Department for the emails and other documents, and on Monday, the department proposed the date in a court filing. The department said the records were "voluminous, and due to the breadth of topics, the nature of the communications, and the interests of several agencies, [they present] several challenges," but that it is preparing to launch a website dedicated to hosting the 55,000 pages of emails. Instead, according to Vice, the judge ruled on Tuesday that the emails must be released on a rolling basis, first to media involved in the lawsuits and then to the public.
Apr 15, 2015
Congressional investigators asked Hillary Clinton whether she used a private email account — a decision that has come under fire in the past month — back in 2012, The New York Times reports. The Times says it has obtained a December 2012 letter from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), then chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In the letter, Issa asks whether Clinton or any other senior official at the State Department used a personal email address for official business, and if so, whether the agency had requirements for turning over documentation of work messages sent through personal accounts.Read Article >
According to the Times, the State Department wrote back in March of 2013, shortly after Clinton had left office. As Issa had requested, the department provided a description of its email policies, which said that anyone using a personal account "should make it clear that his or her personal email is not being used for official business." The department reportedly did not answer Issa's question about Clinton or any other senior official's accounts.
Mar 11, 2015
A day after Hillary Clinton defended her decision to use a private email account for official government correspondence, the Associated Press is ratcheting up the pressure to release her messages. The AP said today that it's filing a lawsuit against the State Department, requesting access to emails that could shed light on her tenure as Secretary of State. Among other things, it's looking specifically for Clinton's full schedule and calendar, conversations with advisers who will be instrumental in her presidential campaign, and any messages regarding NSA surveillance and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.Read Article >
Mar 10, 2015
In a press conference, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has explained her decision to route all emails through a personal account housed on a private server, and reiterated a promise to publicly release any work-related messages. "When I got to work as Secretary of State, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry one device for my work and personal email instead of two," she said after a speech at the United Nations. "At the time, this didn't seem like an issue."Read Article >
This, Clinton maintains, was explicitly allowed at the time she took office in 2009, and she says that most messages were still archived on government servers one way or another. "It was my practice to email government officials on their State [Department] and other .gov accounts so that the emails were immediately captured and preserved," even if they weren't available directly through her account. While some officials have used commercial mail services, Clinton's mail was held on a system that she says was initially set up for her husband's office. "It had numerous safeguards, it was on property guarded by the Secret Service, and there were no security breaches," she says.
Mar 5, 2015
There are three things I remember vividly from when I took my oath of office as a career federal employee in the current administration: the mountain of paperwork required to get signed up for my health benefits, the peppy presentation by the guy who ran the office gym, and the very serious, very clear instructions regarding federal records. The messages were loud and clear. Don’t lose or break your equipment, and don’t use your own. I don’t know what kind of orientation Hillary Clinton got when she joined the administration, but we now know she chose to use her own equipment.Read Article >
Before I was a career fed at an agency, I was a political appointee at the White House — a staff constantly under scrutiny from the press, more so than most of our non-political colleagues. Because of that pressure, we invoked the "Washington Post test" nearly every day. How would you feel if the email you’re writing showed up on A1 of the Post? Did someone send you an email saying something you were uncomfortable with? Respond in writing making it clear you disagree. Did someone ask you over the phone to do something you’re even remotely uncomfortable with? Ask them to put it in writing — in email.
Mar 5, 2015
Hillary Clinton has responded to the recent revelations that she exclusively used a personal email account to conduct official business while acting as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013. In a tweet, Clinton made reference to the matter, and said she planned to release her email archives to the public.Read Article >
Mar 3, 2015
The New York Times reports that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business while she was acting as Secretary of State, possibly breaking federal rules that stipulate official correspondence must be kept for the agency's records. Clinton, who served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, reportedly did not have a government email account during her term and conducted official business exclusively through a private email account.Read Article >