A report by the US State Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton did breach record-keeping laws – by using a personal server for work emails. The watchdog added she was not alone in the practice.
The 89-page dossier [PDF] found that three senior State Department figures had broken the rules by using personal email accounts for departmental business: Colin Powell, Hilary Clinton, and Scott Gration, the US ambassador to Kenya.
General Powell, who was Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, had a private line installed in his office and used a laptop to exchange emails with colleagues and department staff. He was unable to provide copies of all emails sent to investigators.
The report states that Clinton took this further and set up a private email server to handle extensive email correspondence and has handed over hard copies of around 30,000 emails handled by that system. However, she hasn't included messages from January 21, 2009, to March 17, 2009, for received messages; and from January 21, 2009, to April 12, 2009, for sent messages.
"Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary," the OIG report states.
"At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act."
During her time in office the State Department had rules that any personal email systems have to be checked out for security, but Clinton didn't take advantage of this. When two staff members questioned the security of her email system they were told that the server had been reviewed and approved and that they should "never to speak of the Secretary's personal email system again."
Security fears were realized on January 9, 2011, when Clinton's email server came under attack. Her technical support advisor told operations staff "someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt [sic] want to let them have the chance to." It was attacked again the next day.
The third offender was Ambassador Gration between 2011 and 2012, who also used a private email account for official business. He was politely asked to stop doing so, and when he didn’t, disciplinary charges were filed. Gration resigned before these were pursued.
The OIG report isn't good news for Clinton's presidential campaign, since it contradicts several earlier statements made by the candidate and may have a bearing on whether or not criminal charges are brought. Team Clinton has so far declined to comment. ®