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Hillary Clinton Breaks Silence Over Private Emails

Meghan Coyle |
March 5, 2015 | 10:39 a.m. PST

Web Producer

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants the public to see her emails (Bureau of IIP/Creative Commons).
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants the public to see her emails (Bureau of IIP/Creative Commons).
Former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has asked the State Department to release the emails from her private account to the public. Clinton tweeted late last night about the matter. According to CNN, it’s her first public comment about the use of a private email account to conduct State Department business.

The State Department will review Clinton’s emails before releasing them to public, but that process could take months, according to Reuters. The timing of the email release could put a damper on Clinton’s bid for presidency. The Daily Beast reports that the former Secretary of State was planning to announce her candidacy in April. The emails have also been subpoenaed by a House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks as of Wednesday.

READ MORE: "Hillary Clinton Is Running For President In 2016... Maybe"

Clinton has remained quiet on the issue since the news broke Monday night. The New York Times reported that Clinton did not have a government email address during her tenure as Secretary of State. Instead, she conducted government business on a personal email account under the domain name clintonemail.com, which was registered the same day that Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearings began.

Clinton’s use of a private email may have violated federal law. Those emails are considered government records, and departments are supposed to retain the correspondence so that congressional committees, historians, and the media can find them. The Federal Records Act requires that personal emails be archived on State Department server. Clinton and her aides did not do so during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. In January, almost two years after Clinton left the State Department, Clinton’s staff poured over many thousands of pages of emails and decided which ones to provide to the State Department. In total, they turned in 55,000 pages of emails.

Clinton reportedly went to great lengths to protect her limit access to her electronic communications. Even the servers that ran her email account were registered to her family’s home. “The highly unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official physically running her own email would have given Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, impressive control over limiting access to her message archives. It also would distinguish Clinton's secretive email practices as far more sophisticated than some politicians, including Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who were caught conducting official business using free email services operated by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc.,” reports The Associated Press. This revelation provides more evidence for criticism of Clinton and her husband’s lack of transparency.

READ MORE: "Hillary Clinton's UCLA Visit: What You Missed"

Not only is the private email account against the law, it also raises questions about the security of the email exchanges. Bloomberg reports that Clinton’s consultants misconfigured the encryption system, making the emails vulnerable to hackers.

Since Clinton left the Department of State in 2013, the laws have changed regarding private email accounts. CNN reports, “The records administration released a bulletin, specifying that personal emails can only be used in ‘emergency situations’ and they must be ‘managed in accordance with agency record-keeping practices.’” President Barack Obama also enacted an update to the Federal Records Law, which prohibits the use of private email accounts by government officials unless they forward those emails to their government accounts within 20 days.

Related Links

"Membership in Clinton's Email Domain Is Remembered As Mark of Status" - The New York Times

"Why Clinton's Private Email Server Was Such A Security Fail" - Wired

"How To Set Up Your Own Questionably Secure Home Email System, Just Like Hillary Clinton" - The Washington Post

"Hillary Clinton's Emails Trouble Some Democrats" - The Wall Street Journal

"There Was No Good Reason For Hillary Clinton To Use Private Email" - The Verge

Contact Web Producer Meghan Coyle here and see more of her work here.



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