It has emerged that Hillary Rodham Clinton always used her personal email account in conducting all state businesses while she was the Secretary of State. This was revealed by the State Department officials who said that this may have violated the requirements of the federal, that official’s correspondence be retained as part and parcel of the agency’s records.
It was discovered that during her four year tenure at the state department, Mrs. Clinton did not have a state email address. Interestingly, her advisers never took measures to ensure that her personal emails were electronically stored on the department servers at that time, as it was a requirement of the Federal Records Act.
It was only recently that her then advisers turned 55, 000 pages of her personal emails to the State Department in effort to meet the terms of the federal record-keeping practices.
Mrs. Clinton, however, had already resigned from the Secretary’s post in early 2013. Both the current and the former National Archives and Records Administration officials and the government watchdogs were alarmed at Mrs. Clinton’s use of her private account and termed this as a serious breach.
“It is very difficult to conceive a scenario-short of nuclear winter-where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct government business,” said Jason R. Baron, a former director at litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, and also a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and Reath.
Nick Merrill, Mrs. Clinton’s spokesperson defended Mrs. Clinton’s use of the personal email account saying that she had kept the terms of the “letter and the spirit of the rules.”
Under the federal law, there are certain classifieds and sensitive materials which are normally exempted. However, emails and letters written and received by federal officials such as the secretary of the State, are regarded as government records, hence are supposed to be retained so that they can always be accessed by the historians, congressional committees as well as the media.
Many government officials who served before Mrs. Clinton also used their personal emails to conduct government businesses. However, according to Mr. Baron, Mrs. Clinton’s excessive use of her private email appeared very strange.
Her spokesperson, Mr. Merrill however declined to explain further why Mrs. Clinton had chosen to conduct State Department Business from her personal account.
This latest discovery echoes a very longstanding criticism that points towards the former secretary and her husband, Mr. Bill Clinton, the former US President for their inclination towards utmost secrecy as well as lack of transparency.
The current secretary of the State, Mr. John Kerry, has always used a government email account ever since he took up his role. According to his advisors, Mr. Kerry’s correspondence is being preserved as part of State Department records.
Between 2001-2005 when the current laws and regulations had not been enforced, the then Secretary of State Mr. Colin L. Powell used his personal email to communicate to American officials, foreign leaders and the ambassadors.
It was until October 2014 that the State Department, in a bid to improve its record keeping practices, requested all previous secretaries of State starting from Madeleine K. Albright to furnish it with records of emails from the time they took up the office to the end of their tenure for purposes of preservation.All this highlighted and broadcasted on msnbc.