Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers 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 Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department.Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.
“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,” said Jason R. Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and Reath who is a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”
Under federal law, however, letters and emails written and received by federal officials, such as the secretary of state, are considered government records and are supposed to be retained so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them. There are exceptions to the law for certain classified and sensitive materials.
Mrs. Clinton is not the first government official – or first secretary of state – to use a personal email account on which to conduct official business.
But her exclusive use of her private email, for all of her work, appears unusual, Mr. Baron said. The use of private email accounts is supposed to be limited to emergencies, experts said, such as when an agency’s computer server is not working.
“I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.
Regulations from the National Archives and Records Administration at the time required any emails sent or received from personal accounts be preserved as part of the agency’s records.
But Mrs. Clinton and her aides failed to do so.
From the Washington Examiner:
John Kerry: Russia has until Monday to reverse course in Ukraine
By Susan Crabtree | March 13, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry warned of serious repercussions for Russia on Monday if last-ditch talks over the weekend to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to persuade Moscow to soften its stance.
How many ‘red lines’ has Obama painted and Putin crossed so far? Is anyone keeping count?
Kerry will travel to London for a Friday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of a Sunday referendum vote in the Crimea region to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
U.S. and European officials argue that Moscow is orchestrating the referendum and waging an intimidation campaign with thousands of Russian troops controlling the region. If Russian-backed lawmakers in Crimea go through with the Sunday referendum, Kerry said the U.S. and its European allies will not recognize it as legitimate under international law.
The U.S. and Europe on Monday would then unite to impose sanctions on Russia, Kerry told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday during a hearing on the State Department’s budget.
Despite Kerry’s big talk there will be no meaningful sanctions against Russia. Because we now have such an interdependent global economy sanctions would hurt the US and Europe almost as much as Russia. And the bitter irony is we have always been told that having an economically interdependent world would make conflict and aggression less common.
Well, guess what? Being interdependent also stops countries from being able to use sanctions to punish aggression. So they either have to resort to military force or just accept things like what Putin has done. So the supposedly peace-inducing a global economy actually makes it easier for bullies to invade other countries and get away with it.
“There will be a response of some kind to the referendum itself,” Kerry said. “If there is no sign [from Russia] of any capacity to respond to this issue… there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday.”…
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a top critic of President Obama’s foreign policy, asked what the administration would do if Russian forces advance farther into the eastern area of Ukraine, and the new government in Kiev asks the U.S. for weapons to fight the Russians.
Kerry responded carefully, saying “we have contingencies – we are talking through various options that may or may not be available.”…
How absolutely pathetic. Putin and everyone else knows Obama will do nothing.
U.S. authorities are closely monitoring the number of Russian troops in Crimea, as well as their movements, he said, noting that Moscow is allowed to have a total of 25,000 troops in Crimea.
[Kerry] said that currently Russia does not have the assets positioned to “march in and take over all of Ukraine but that could change and we recognize that.”…
Proving once again that John Kerry is a total jackass in all things. Here is a headline from yesterday’s New York Times: ‘Russian Troops Mass at Border With Ukraine.’
Kansas signed the Second Amendment Protection Act (SB 102) into law last month. The bill protects gun owners from from new federal gun control laws and would actually make it illegal to enforce those laws within the state of Kansas.
Eric Holder threatened Kansas last week calling the new state law unconstitutional.
In response Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, fired back. The general gist of the message was,
“You’re wrong. You don’t understand the Constitution. Bring it on.”
Via Guns Save Lives:
Kobach insisted the State of Kansas was determined to restore the Constitution to protect the right of its citizens to keep and bear arms.
So far, Holder has not responded.
Representative Jeff Duncan – “Madam Secretary, you let the consulate become a deathtrap, and that’s national security malpractice.”
Senator John McCain – “People don’t bring RPGs and mortars to a spontaneous demonstration.”
Senator Rand Paul – “Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post.”
FLASHBACK: Representative Trey Gowdy – “I want to know why we were lied to!” (November 14, 2012)
Benghazi-gate: Obama’s Lying Cronies
Benghazi: Lies, Damned Lies And Dead Americans
One day after being sued over a controversial ballot box citizenship question, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Tuesday there are an estimated 4,000 noncitizens on Michigan’s voter rolls.
The estimate is based on the state’s access to citizenship information for one-fifth of the population, Johnson said, adding the federal government won’t give her access to more citizenship data.
Johnson said the results of a “very tedious” analysis of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote.
Department of State employees cross-referenced those noncitizens with voting records and found 54 have a voting history and have voted a total of 95 times, Johnson said.
Using census estimates that 305,000 noncitizens live in Michigan, Johnson’s office extrapolated that 5,064 could be noncitizens and then lowered its estimate to 4,000 to account for children, spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau said.
Johnson said the discovery justifies her insistence that Michigan’s 7.34 million registered voters be asked to affirm their citizenship if they vote at the polls in November. The daughter of a Canadian immigrant, Johnson said the citizenship question is necessary because over the years noncitizens have been automatically registered to vote while legally obtaining a driver’s license.
“We have a problem. We need to fix it,” Johnson told The Detroit News. “Denying and minimizing it doesn’t get the job done.”
A group of voting rights advocates, labor unions and citizens sued Johnson in federal court Monday, challenging her authority to ask voters to affirm their citizenship after Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation adding the question to absentee and in-person voting applications.
The plaintiffs say the question is redundant because voters affirm their citizenship when they register to vote and say the question is an ineffective way to root out potential voter fraud.
“If someone is legitimately trying to misrepresent themselves as a citizen in order to interfere with our elections, then what’s to say they won’t misrepresent themselves a second time at the ballot box,” said election attorney Jocelyn Benson, who was Johnson’s 2010 Democratic opponent.
Benson said Johnson’s office should remove the noncitizens from the voter rolls rather than “using fear and xenophobia” with the citizenship inquiry at the polls.
Johnson, a Republican, also implied President Barack Obama and Democratic county and city clerks are obstructing her efforts to root out noncitizen voters. She specifically noted her office found 80 noncitizens registered to vote in Macomb County, where County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, a Democrat, has said she won’t let the citizenship question appear on applications to vote.
“I don’t think anybody wants noncitizens to vote no matter what their party affiliation to vote,” Johnson said.
Sabaugh questioned Johnson’s data and wanted to know whether the Secretary of State’s Office has notified the noncitizens on the voter rolls that it’s a felony for them to vote.
“If she sees this as a real big problem, then I think she needs to look at her branch offices” where people register to vote, Sabaugh told The News. “I don’t know if we can trust these numbers.”
The state Bureau of Elections is “working to remove anyone who is not a qualified voter from the rolls,” Gendreau said.
Johnson, a former Oakland County clerk, said she’s been “turned away” by the Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in four attempts to verify the citizenship of all registered voters.
“I think the best way is for this administration to do their job and that’s to help us get noncitizens off the voter rolls,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s late afternoon news release contained statements of support from Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard Jr.; state Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart; and Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township.
“We know that noncitizens have been invited to register to vote for decades with many doing so,whether they’ve done it intentionally or not,” Lund said in a statement. “Putting noncitizens on notice that casting a ballot is a serious crime is a simple, common-sense solution to this problem.”
Citing her general authority to prescribe election forms, Johnson first added the citizenship question to ballot applications in the February Republican presidential primary.
After that contest, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer filed a Freedom of Information Act with Johnson’s office to see how many noncitizens were caught voting in the GOP primary. Johnson’s office said four of the 1.2 million may have been noncitizens, according to Brewer.
Arizona’s secretary of state is threatening to keep President Barack Obama’s name off the November ballot unless the state of Hawaii can verify that Obama’s birth certificate is valid.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett told KFYI Phoenix radio host Mike Broomhead on Thursday he’s not a “birther,” but that he’s responding to constituent concerns in the wake of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s investigation into Obama’s long-form birth certificate. Arpaio released findings in March that said he believes the birth certificate the White House released last year is a “computer-generated forgery.”
“I’m not a birther, I believe the president was born in Hawaii – or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said on KFYI. “My responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking.”
Bennett said that since Arpaio’s investigation, he has received more than 1,200 emails from people requesting he look into the matter. He said Hawaii has a system where they’ll verify a birth certificate in lieu of providing a certified copy of it – and that eight weeks later, state officials have not fulfilled his request.
“They could say yes tomorrow and the whole thing goes away,” Bennett said. “If they can’t say yes to that simple question, then it makes me wonder if we have to take it to another level. And one way or another, we have to have some simple verification that people are qualified for the office if they’re going to be on the ballot here in Arizona.”
— Click HERE to listen to Mike Broomhead’s interview with Ken Bennett . —
The issue gained further attention this week after World Net Daily, which has pursued theories that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake, published an email that Bennett sent to constituents about the matter:
“Because of the importance and profile of the president’s case, and at the request of many constituents, I have gone the extra step of asking the state of Hawaii to verify the facts contained in his birth certificate,” Bennett wrote in response to concerns last month.
“[I]f Hawaii can’t or won’t provide verification of the president’s birth certificate, I will not put his name on the ballot,” he wrote.
A Bennett spokesman confirmed to the Phoenix New Times the secretary of state did write the email, saying: “With respect to the story, a constituent requested him to request a verification in lieu of certified copy. They have yet to respond.”
Asked by Broomhead whether he would actually keep Obama off the state’s ballot without the verification, Bennett responded: “It’s possible.”
A great interview via The Right Scoop I do not know if Bolton plans to enter the 2012 race but I certainly hope any Republican that does win next November would put Bolton in a good cabinet spot. Say Secretary of State