There’s no diplomatic way to say this: During Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, she exclusively used a personal email account for government matters, possibly violating federal rules. According to The New York Times scoop, not only did she use a private email address in place of a government one, but also the thousands of sensitive emails were never archived on government servers.
In The Times, according to Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration:
“It is very difficult to conceive of 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 of government business.”
Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, a group that advocates government transparency also weighed in:
“Someone in the State Department deserves credit for taking the initiative to ask for the records back. Most of the time it takes the threat of litigation and embarrassment.”
“The fact that Clinton’s emails were not a part of official State Department records until recently means many of them would not have been located in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, subpoenas or other document searches conducted over the past six years.”
Again according to The Times, because the National Archives has few enforcement abilities, penalties for not complying with federal record-keeping are rare.
According to The Washington Post, Mrs. Clinton’s domain was first created the same day her confirmation hearings began in the senate — Jan. 13, 2009.
The Associated Press followed up the earlier coverage with news of its own: The private account the former secretary of state used “traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York.” The customer listed is Eric Hoteham.
Per the AP:
“Clinton — who emailed so frequently using her Blackberry as secretary of state that it became an Internet meme — is particularly sensitive about disclosures of personal files based on her experiences in confronting congressional investigations and civil lawsuits during her husband’s election and presidency and her own roles as first lady, senator, presidential candidate and Cabinet official.”
Again, per the AP:
“Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails.”
In the words of The Post following this latest server news: “Uh oh.”