It’s the server, stupid–the clinton email saga continues-

It’s the server, stupid–the clinton email saga continues–47h.b43

Clinton’s defense had long been I and that her email set-up was “allowed by the State Department.” But the inspector general “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. And had she sought that approval, it would have been denied. The department’s diplomatic security and information resource management offices “did not—and would not—approve n her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the department’s policy manual and the security risks in doing so.

She admitted last fall to CNN’s Jake Tapper that nobody had signed off on it. Instead, she retreated to a claim that it was “allowed under the rules of the State Dept.” Her insistence that it was allowed had always simply meant that she had allowed it.

It inspector general flatly age and preserve emails containing Federal records has remained consistent since at least 1995,” concludes ” the report. The  IG concludes that “records management requirements have always applied to emails exchanged on personal email accounts,” provided those emails reflect the official business of the government.

Beginning in late 2005, the department’s internal regulations required that ordinary day-to-day official business be conducted on official State Department servers and permitted private email use only where official servers were unavailable or impracticable. Yet, despite the fact that her emails regularly contained sensitive information (including both classified information and information marked as “Sensitive But Unclassified”,   the IG found no evidence that Clinton ever sought to comply with these departmental security requirements. The IG unsurprisingly concluded that, at the very least Clintons  failure to surrender her official emails upon her resignation was a violation of “the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” That violation of departmental policy is also a violation of federal records law itself.

Mitigated her failure to properly preserve was emails that qualified as Federal records during her tenure and to surrender such records upon her departure.” But, as the IG noted, Clinton’s hand-selected emails suffered from significant gaps, leaving out certain emails involving  Sidney Blumenthal, emails from the first two months of her tenure, and a significant exchange of 19 emails involving David Petraeus, which were only brought to the IG’s attention by the Defense Department.

Federal law makes it a felony whenever the custodian of federal records (which Secretary of State Clinton plainly was) “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same.” That some of Clinton’s email records were removed, concealed and  possibly destroyed  it’s obvious. Clinton plainly withheld from public scrutiny during her ( entire term of office, and for two years after, all of her official email records.

Huma Abedin, utterly  destroys Clinton’s long-running explanation that her private server was merely  for convenience.  Abedin wrote to Clinton after some of the Clinton’s emails were not reaching their State Dept addressees, suggesting that they put you on state email or release your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.

Clinton responded that she would opt to get a “separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.” Of course, no such official email was ever used by Clinton.

Bentel appears again in one of the most troubling episodes recounted in the report. According to the IG, two IT staffers reported that, in late 2010, they had raised concerns with Bentel  about the security and recordkeeping compliance of the Clinton server. Bentel apparently responded (falsely) that Clinton’s private server had been reviewed and approved by departmental legal staff and “instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.

He did not recall discussing Clinton’s email situation with Bentel. For his part, the IG was unable to determine whether Bentel took direction from any other Clinton staffer, since Bentel—as well as Clinton, Abedin, and all of Clinton’s closest aides–refused to cooperate with the IG’s investigation. Especially in light of Clinton’s and Abedin’s obvious desire to keep her records shielded from public inquiry, Bentel’s role in the State Department’s response to Clinton’s private email server would seem to present a critical target of inquiry for federal investigators.

source-weekly std, shannen coffin, john bentel, lewis lukens

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