WASHINGTON — A State Department Inspector General report faulted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not complying with policies for email preservation, according to a copy of the report that was provided to lawmakers on Wednesday.
“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,” the report states.
The report examined record keeping laws, policies and practices at the State Department from 1997 to present.
In producing the report, the Inspector General’s office interviewed former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
Clinton and several of her staff members during her tenure declined to be interviewed, the report said.
The report draws attention to two staff members in the Office of Information Resources Management, who back in 2010 “discussed their concerns about Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account in separate meetings with the then-Director” of their office.
The report says, “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.” The same director reportedly “instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”
But the report notes that interviews with officials from the Under Secretary for Management and the Office of the Legal Adviser found “no knowledge of approval or review by other Department staff” of the server.
Clinton has long maintained that she had permission to use personal email.
She said in July that “the truth is everything I did was permitted and I went above and beyond what anybody could have expected in making sure that if the State Department didn’t capture something, I made a real effort to get it to them.”
But the report says that the Inspector General’s office “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.”
This is not the first time Clinton’s use of a private email has been criticized by an inspector general.
In January the Inspector General for intelligence agencies wrote a letter to Congress saying that two government agencies flagged emails on Clinton’s server as containing classified information, the Inspector General said, including some on “special access programs,” which are a subset of the highest “Top Secret” level of classification, but are under subject to more stringent control rules than even other Top Secret information.”
At the time a Clinton campaign spokesman alleged that the Inspector General for intelligence agencies had been intentionally leaking seemingly damaging information in collusion with Senate Republicans.
Clinton’s campaign and the State Department have long denied that any information was handled improperly, saying that the information and emails in question were all retroactively classified.