Today the State Department’s Inspector General released his fourth and final report on FOIA compliance, preservation of electronic records and use of non-departmental systems in the Department. Today’s report covers the offices of Secretaries of State going back to Madeline Albright, but its harsh findings are reserved for Secretary Hillary Clinton. First the report in its entirety, then some excerpts and comments below. Emphasis added throughout:
The Inspector General makes a point of Clinton’s failure to cooperate with his investigation, as well as the failure of her senior aides to respond:
OIG interviewed Secretary Kerry and former Secretaries Albright, Powell, and Rice. Through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview.
With regard to Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff, OIG received limited responses to its questionnaires, though two of Secretary Clinton’s staff acknowledged occasional use of personal email accounts for official business.101 However, OIG learned of extensive use of personal email accounts by four immediate staff members (none of whom responded to the questionnaire).
The IG specifically finds that Mrs. Clinton’s handling of emails in her personal account violated State Department policies and the Federal Records Act:
As previously discussed, however, sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record. Therefore, 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. 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.
These are some of the report’s key findings on Mrs. Clinton’s violations of State Department regulations:
Throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the [Foreign Affairs Manual] stated that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized [Automated Information System], yet OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server. According to the current [Chief Information Officer] and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, [Bureau of Diplomatic Security] and [Bureau of Information Resource Management] did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the [Foreign Affairs Manual] and the security risks in doing so.
OIG found no evidence that Secretary Clinton ever contacted [Bureau of Information Resource Management] to request such a solution, despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information marked as [sensitive but unclassified].
Although this report does not address the safety or security of her system, [Bureau of Diplomatic Security] and [Bureau of Information Resource Management] reported to OIG that Secretary Clinton never demonstrated to them that her private server or mobile device met minimum information security requirements specified by [Federal Information Security Management Act] and the [Foreign Affairs Manual].
The IG’s report suggests that Clinton’s staff falsely claimed that her off-the-books arrangement had been approved by the Department’s legal counsel, and shut down any effort to point out the illegality of Clinton’s conduct:
In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements. According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system. According to the other S/ES-IRM staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.
There is more, including indications that Clinton’s server was subjected to attempts to break in, which went unreported, contrary to regulations.
This final Inspector General’s report puts to rest some of Hillary’s defenses of her home email system, including her repeated insistence that her personal email system was “authorized” by the Department, a claim that now stands exposed as a lie.