• Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Department

    March 4, 2015

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State

    hillary blackberry



    That sound you hear?

    That’s Republicans dancing a merry jig, and Benghazi investigators sharpening their subpoenas, because 2016 just got a lot more interesting with the revelation that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton conducted all official business using a personal email account on her own web domain.

    Here’s what happened, and why it matters. A lot.

    What Happened

    Hillary Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, violating federal regulations that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record and thus subject to Freedom of Information Act and Congressional requests. Clinton did not have a government email address during her entire four-year tenure, and her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

    It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Clinton’s personal advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the Department. The contents of the rest are known only to Clinton insiders. The process Clinton’s advisers used to determine which emails related to her work at the State Department were turned over has not been explained.

    Instead, Clinton appears to have used email service through her own domain, clintonemail.com under the name hdr22@clintonemail.com. The domain was created on January 13, 2009, just before Obama was sworn into office, and the same day that Clinton’s confirmation hearings began before the Senate.

    In March 2013, an adviser to Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, had his e-mail through the clintonemail.com domain hacked.

    The Clinton email domain is officially registered to a Jacksonville, Florida company called PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC. The company advertises itself by saying “By signing up for Perfect Privacy when you register your domain, our information is published in the WHOIS database, instead of yours.” That means Perfect Privacy acts as a cut-out, hiding the actual person or organization that set up the domain by sticking its own information online instead.

    Clinton as Secretary of State held herself to lower standards than the rank and file. According to eight pages of State Department regulations (5 FAM 440, 443.1), “All Government employees and contractors are required by law to make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency (Federal Records Act, or “FRA,” 44 U.S.C. 3101 et seq).”

    It is also apparent no one at State raised any questions. A large number of IT staff must have been aware that Clinton had no official email address, as must have security staff. Everyone who traded email with Clinton also knew. And no one said anything.

    Why It Matters

    The most basic reason this all matters is because it is the law. As Secretary of State, Clinton was required to maintain her emails as official records. She did not. She choose not to follow the law. Saying “everybody else did it” does not work for teenagers, felons in court or Secretaries of State. Since 2009, said Laura Diachenko, a National Archives and Records spokeswoman, federal regulations have stated that “agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.” The question isn’t whether Clinton was allowed to have a private email account; she was, as secretaries of state before her did. The question is whether she was allowed to be the steward of the archives under the 2009 Federal Records Act. She was not. That’s where the violation occurs.

    It also matters because Clinton’s email actions were deliberate, and included an effort to hide what she was doing. Her email domain was registered in a way to hide its actual ownership (still unknown), and was set up just as she re-entered public life. Clinton never disclosed the email account until the New York Times learned of it. That lack of disclosure continued even as she testified about the tragedy in Benghazi, assuring the public her Department’s internal review represented the full story.

    That review clearly did not represent the full story, in that it did not include any of Clinton’s emails. The review also did not note that the documents it had access to somehow did not include any emails from the Secretary of State. A careful analysis of Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi will need to be made to look for signs of possible perjury. If anything in the Clinton emails is new and relevant to understanding what happened in Benghazi, she should be held to explain why it was not revealed at the time of her testimony.

    The contents of whatever small portion of Clinton emails released to State, and questions about what is in the tens of thousands of pages withheld, will revive hearings into what happened in Benghazi and what role Clinton played. There remain questions about what information was withheld from Congress. Even of the thousands of pages State received from Clinton, only 900 have been turned over to Congress.

    Use of personal email to conduct government business in the age of hacking raises serious security questions, and calls into question Clinton’s commitment to protecting America’s secrets. According to The New York Times, Clinton also used a gmail account, hdr22@gmail.com, to conduct her official business.

    With no oversight, the only check on Clinton not discussing classified information in her emails was Clinton herself. “We have no indication that Secretary Clinton used her personal e-mail account for anything but unclassified purposes,” State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said Tuesday. “While Secretary Clinton did not have a classified e-mail system, she did have multiple other ways of communicating in a classified manner (assistants printing documents for her, secure phone calls, secure video conferences).” Of course, since no one at State has seen the bulk of Clinton’s emails, they indeed may have “no indication.”

    2016 just got much more interesting. Republicans will raise the email issue in great detail, especially since Jeb Bush has already released his own email stash from his time as governor. Clinton does not seem prepared to address the question; her spokesperson said incongruously that her use of a personal email account was in compliance with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

    Clinton as a leader allowed herself to be held to lower standards than that of her own rank and file. This, along with the decision to hide the emails itself and the violations of law, will raise questions about what type of president she might make.

    Not the First

    As Vox.com, and others, stated:

    [In 2009, as Clinton took office] The Bush administration had just left office weeks earlier under the shadow of, among other things, a major ongoing scandal concerning officials who used personal email addresses to conduct business, and thus avoid scrutiny.

    The scandal began in June 2007, as part of a Congressional oversight committee investigation into allegations that the White House had fired U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. The oversight committee asked for Bush administration officials to turn over relevant emails, but it turned out the administration had conducted millions of emails’ worth of business on private email addresses, the archives of which had been deleted.

    The effect was that investigators couldn’t access millions of internal messages that might have incriminated the White House. The practice, used by White House officials as senior as Karl Rove, certainly seemed designed to avoid federal oversight requirements and make investigation into any shady dealings more difficult. Oversight committee chairman Henry Waxman accused the Bush administration of “using nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications.”

    That scandal unfolded well into the final year of Bush’s presidency, then overlapped with another email secrecy scandal, over official emails that got improperly logged and then deleted, which itself dragged well into Obama’s first year in office. There is simply no way that, when Clinton decided to use her personal email address as Secretary of State, she was unaware of the national scandal that Bush officials had created by doing the same.

    Clinton knew what she was doing, and was aware of the consequences for herself and the White House. She did it anyway. Under such conditions, people will be muttering “Hey, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

    Questions

    One of the main reasons government officials use personal email is because it is not clearly subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as it is not a government document. Since Clinton now admits at least some of her personal email is indeed part of her official record as Secretary, will does emails become subject to FOIA? One assumes most major new organizations are drafting their FOIA requests as we speak.

    And speaking of FOIA, since many/most of Clinton’s emails were not a part of official State Department records until recently means they would not have been identified in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, subpoenas or other document searches conducted over the past six years. Is anyone planning to reexamine those requests in light of developments?

    There is also the question of how many email accounts where. Republican Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House committee investigating Benghazi stated Clinton had more than one private email account. “The State Department cannot certify that have produced all of former Secretary Clinton’s emails because they do not have all of former Secretary Clinton’s emails nor do they control access to them,” he said.

    Who administered Clinton’s personal email network? S/he was not a government employee but had unfettered, Snowden-like access to government information conveyed at the Cabinet-level. As she also used a Gmail account, an unknown number of Google employees enjoyed a level of access unavailable to Clinton’s own State Department staff. Clinton’s personal email server backed up to a Google drive, wide-open to hackers both foreign and domestic.

    Why didn’t Clinton turn over her personal emails years ago? Why only recently?

    Instead of focusing on the “but was it illegal?” smokescreen, ask the simpler question: why did Clinton alone in her State Department rely 100 percent on a personal email account?

    And what about that famous Clinton Blackberry? Blackberry messages go through a special server run by an organization itself. State maintains such a server for its staff’s required use. Did Hillary’s Blackberry run through a State server or a private one? Let’s ask.




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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...

      1

      Those who want her to be POTUS believe strongly in the divine right of Kings- I mean Queens. I doubt her supporters will see any problem with her avoiding possibly damaging scrutiny by taking certain precautions. Their immorality is in perfect sync with Hillary’s immorality.

      03/4/15 1:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      “There is also the question of how many email accounts where. Republican Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House committee investigating Benghazi stated Clinton had more than one private email account.”

      I searched “KillBill@gmail.com” It’s taken.

      03/4/15 2:05 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck nasmith said...

      3

      Killary/2016 (cackle). Thank you Peter!

      03/4/15 2:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      It would be funny if the email scandal was Hillarious’ undoing … like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.

      03/4/15 2:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      “Perfect Privacy acts as a cut-out, hiding the actual person or organization that set up the domain by sticking its own information online instead.”

      This is something a cheating spouse like Slick Willie would use. Speaking of blowjobs, what is it with these high-level officials and their secretive emails? David Sixto Petraeus used a draft email scheme to hide his blowjobs:

      http://11oclocknews.typepad.com/the_11_oclock_news/2015/03/blowjob-david-betray-us-too-big-to-jail.html

      03/4/15 3:07 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      6

      “All Government employees and contractors are required by law to make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the agency (Federal Records Act, or “FRA,” 44 U.S.C. 3101 et seq).”

      Yeah, but where are the legal statutes covering the consequences of raising ones middle finger to 44 U.S.C. 3101 et seq? Or is this just one more living proof the rule of law is a fucking myth/joke?

      Given Patreaus’s slap on the wrist I’ve got $25 Hillary is ROTFIGSL at the rule of law. That is..unless there’s something in those other emails that haven’t been turned over. We’ll find out when and if she fights tooth and nail to keep those secret. Of course..nothing to worry about if she’s got nothin to hide..right? Right.

      bartender..I’ll take whatever Hillary drinks and a chaser of WhatDifferenceDoesItMake. We’ll find out.

      03/4/15 5:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      7

      The HEADline $hould be, “MorOn Hillary Clinton’s Use of Personal Email Account at State Department”!
      BetrayUS’ Obamanable BS (Bush Shadow) ‘walk’ paves the way for the empress $lick Hilly’s coronation!! Unless, of course Poppy sez, The JEB Is UP!!!

      03/4/15 7:03 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck nasmith said...

      8

      The headline should be… Why Vote. Write in Snowden or Manning, why bother. Humans need to pee. The people are pissed. Spray the word to all sides. Wage Peace…Yes We Can Win from theses MFers so called Patriots. Help Wanted.

      03/4/15 9:59 PM | Comment Link

    • On Hillary Clinton and EmailGateAmerican Patriot | American Patriot said...

      9

      […] View, Associated Press, Gawker, JustOneMinute, Taylor Marsh, Common Dreams, Truth Revolt,Ghosts of Tom Joad, Slate, The Week, Balloon Juice, Guardian, Bloomberg Business,Capital New York, NO QUARTER […]

      03/4/15 10:07 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      10

      Palace intrigue is the norm. Hillary seemed poised to get her party’s nod in 2008 but then didn’t. The reason may too nefarious for we outsiders to fathom. Those power factions are still around to work the strings in 2016 so expect the unexpected.

      03/5/15 1:51 PM | Comment Link

    • staghounds said...

      11

      I sure I wish I owned Perfect Privacy.

      Imagine having access to the Secretary of State’s emails in real time! Talk about inside information, you couldn’t carry the money you’d make in a wheelbarrow.

      03/5/15 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      12

      The headline should be… Why Vote. Write in Snowden or Manning,..”

      I’d prefer 100k armed citizens surrounding an airport ready to welcome Snowden home while daring the USG to do anything about it at the risk of death. let it go viral. We’d see who has the real power in this country.

      03/5/15 3:38 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      13

      Meanwhile, emptywheel body slams any credibility of Patreaus’s pundits on twitter….while inducing raucous, gut splitting laughter in the peanut gallery…

      emptywheel @emptywheel · 17h 17 hours ago
      quote”
      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: RAZE Mt. Rushmore and build a pyramid to the Great General’s honor!

      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: Oh let the Great General return to service!!! He will vanquish all terrorists by shrink wrapping them in steel!

      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: Statues to His Honor in mere gold would soil His Great Legacy.

      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: Bribing Sunnis to stop fighting for 6 months was the most noble thing a US public servant has ever done.

      @RWFreeman Oh!?!?!?! You question the General’s ability to shrink wrap tanks!?!?! Heresy!!!!

      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: This country does David Petraeus an injustice unless it names 5 states and 2 territories after him.

      Shorter Michael O’Hanlon: It’s not enough to put David Petraeus on 1, 5, 20, & 50 dollar bills to honor his skill in shrink-wrapping tanks!

      Oh how David Petraeus is even more godlike than this country’s founders, by Michael “I’m not the mistress, really” O’Hanlon.”unquote

      And then proceeds to cut off it’s head..

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2015/03/05/david-petraeus-the-bestest-general-ever-since-george-washington/

      damn.

      03/5/15 3:46 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      14

      I’m repeating myself but my suspicion is that the majority of Americans want an absolute monarch who is accountable to no one to run the show.
      They relish the idea of voting in an absolute monarch who does not have to play by the rules. It’s as close as they can come to enjoying such godlike status.

      03/5/15 5:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      15

      Hill’s rocking those Angela Jolie shades, but I don’t think it’s quite her.

      How did we ever get here, Peter, where a person such as Hill could run for President? I guess we’d have to roll back and ask it of O., and GWB, and GHWB, too.

      Oh, and then there’s the “rabid rabbit” as some of us know him in the Sunshine State, JEB — the heir-apparent of the Rebublican throne.

      03/5/15 6:35 PM | Comment Link

    • Sokollu said...

      16

      Peter: agree on all counts, but I don’t think senior State career people should let off the hook on this either. Where was DS? Where was Pat Kennedy, Undersecretary for Management with responsibility for oversight of both IT and security?

      03/5/15 6:44 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      17

      Lisa- Shrub said his job sure would be easier if he were a dictator. The closest he came to such status was claiming to be the decider. Maybe Jeb will be the guy who finally delivers on what the American sheeple want- an obsolute monarch.

      03/5/15 6:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      18

      John,

      Ah, but the “decider in CHIEF”, don’t forget — the ne plus ultra of deciders. Yeah, the decider of them all.

      An “obsolute monarch” hmmm …

      an “obsolete” monarch? “Dissolute” monarch (oh, the press has certainly buried JEB’s dirty NYC banking dealings and their screwing of the teacher’s retirement program here in FLA a few years back.)

      Maybe Floridians just want our Monarch butterflies back, whose numbers have been declining precipitously due to herbicides, pesticides … you name it.

      03/5/15 8:53 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      19

      Sokollu- We have to remember that the Benghazi incident happened very close to the election process. Most likely we had a pretty busy CIA presence in Benghazi doing their usual nefarious things and to have had them be part of the rescue would have suggested to the soon to vote populace that taking out Gaddafi was a very bad call instead of the “days, not weeks” Obama cakewalk. Why would the USA need protective boots in Libya when it had just been liberated? I’m sure most of the higher ups at State knew the nasty goings on post regime change and lied to save their own skins as well as their boss and Obama.

      03/5/15 10:29 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      20

      Addition: The USA most likely had a very active CIA presence in Benghazi prior to the “unrest”. That is most likely the truth that Hillary knew and fears will become known. Obama should have been impeached for his low hanging fruit regime change folly. Those NATO pilots should also be put on trial for killing innocents.

      03/5/15 11:53 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      21

      Lisa- your “Decider in Chief” for the Shrub gave me the key to what Bubba’s title should be: Fornicator in Chief.

      What type of guy can’t at least keep his pecker holstered until he’s out of the office (the Oval one) before engaging in extramarital carnal acts? clock to engage in carnal acts? Past presidents at least had some self control and arranged for dalliances off official grounds. Bubba had to get it on in the sacrosanct Oval office in the White House. If that doesn’t tell you what type of failed male Bubba is nothing will.

      03/6/15 7:13 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      22

      My -Prior to the “unrest” -meant prior to the initial so called civic revolt in Benghazi which most likely was engendered by the CIA. It wasn’t a “ground springs” revolt it was USA planned.

      03/6/15 7:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      23

      By “Bubba” you mean the Queen’s consort?

      I like Bill, but being a poor AK boy was his undoing. Monica’s fat arse was just too appealing (and it’s not even a farthing’s worth of a Kardashian ass.)

      But I digress. Bill’s error was in not being more clever in exploiting those matters which far too many males in authority avail themselves. Bill could’ve had a boatload of booty from any number of nice divorcees, or older wives of supporters, all done discretely.

      That was the problem. He has some old black women walk with he and Monica out of the Oval Office, thinking he was covered by some maternal mammy.

      Discretion is the better part of valor. As an Oxford grad, Bill knows that.

      03/7/15 8:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...

      24

      oops —

      that would be “AR”, mea culpa.

      “AK” being the home of the female bimbo … what’s her name.

      03/8/15 2:10 AM | Comment Link

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