The New York Times reported Monday that while serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used her personal email account for all of her government business, potentially violating federal rules.
It’s not unusual for candidates or government officials to use personal emails occasionally, but government policy doesn’t permit all business to be conducted via personal email.
Emails of government officials are considered government records, according to the Times report, to be available for government committees, historians, and the news media.
“Hillary Clinton has opened herself up to a really big question here which is how forthcoming is she willing to be?” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said on MSNBC’s “Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell. O’Donnell called Clinton’s personal email use a “stunning breach of security.”
Clinton’s potential 2016 opponent took to social media to criticize the former Secretary of State.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) March 3, 2015
Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill released a statement Tuesday:
Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes. Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved. As a result of State’s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities.
But the Times report says Clinton’s aide did not make efforts to retain her personal emails for preservation; CNN reports not all of those emails were retained.
Clinton aides say she emailed government officials from her personal account to their government accounts; the State Department says they had access to a “wide array” of Clinton’s emails between her and government officials with state.gov accounts.
“There’ve been questions about the Clintons over the years, about their transparency and secrecy, and this feeds into narrative,” Michael Schmidt, who wrote the Times report on Clinton’s emails, said Tuesday on “Morning Joe.” “And people wonder why it was she didn’t just hand over the emails until she was asked.”
But Schmidt said the issue is the emails Clinton said to figures outside the government officials; foreign leaders, the White House, and outside figures—all who don’t have State Department emails and couldn’t be retained by the State Department’s web.
“People wonder why it was that she didn’t even hand over the emails until she was asked,” Schmidt continued.
Fox News and CNN also seized on the story Tuesday morning.
“The whole reason we know about this stuff is because of the Benghazi committee on Capital Hill,” Steve Doocy said on “Fox & Friends.”
CNN’s Carol Costello posed the question as to whether Clinton was “hiding” something by using her personal email as Secretary of State.