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.