Washington Examiner: State Department preparing to probe Clinton email scandal

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Records from the State Department’s office of inspector general reveal the agency watchdog has taken early steps toward investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address and server during her time as secretary of state.  Steven Linick, State’s inspector general since June 2013, signaled his office is making “preliminary” preparations for a larger probe of the policies that allowed Clinton to determine which of her official communications she wanted to withhold from the public, according to documents obtained by the nonpartisan watchdog group Cause of Action.  “In the past, when faced with employees who were using non-governmental email accounts for government business, the OIG questioned such activities,” Linick wrote in response to a letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The Iowa Republican had written to Linick in March seeking answers about the communications and business activities of Clinton and her top aides that were then emerging in the media.  Cause of Action filed a Freedom of Information Act request to State’s inspector general and to the National Archives and Records Administration seeking records related to the Clinton email controversy.  A letter from the State Department inspector general dated May 15 claimed there were just 18 documents that ever mentioned Clinton’s emails, the national archives or the Clinton Foundation.  Just six of those were given to Cause of Action in their entirety, with the others being redacted or punted to the State Department for further review.  But the few records that the agency did release had nothing to do with the information requested, and were not even produced during Clinton’s time in office.

Fox News: HRC EMAILS: Federal officials voiced growing alarm over Clinton’s compliance with records laws, documents show

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Over a five-year span, senior officials at the National Archives and Records Administrations (NARA) voiced growing alarm about Hillary Clinton’s record-keeping practices as secretary of state, according to internal documents shared with Fox News.  During Clinton’s final days in office, Paul Wester, the director of Modern Records Programs at NARA – essentially the agency’s chief records custodian – privately emailed five NARA colleagues to confide his fear that Clinton would take her official records with her when she left office, in violation of federal statutes.  Referring to a colleague whose full name is unknown, Wester wrote on December 11, 2012: “Tom heard (or thought he heard) from the Clinton Library Director that there are or may be plans afoot for taking her records from State to Little Rock.” That was a reference to the possibility that Clinton might seek to house her records at the Clinton Presidential Center, which was largely funded by the Clinton Foundation….The 73 documents from NARA and State were turned over to Cause of Action, a non-partisan government accountability watchdog that had filed a Freedom of Information Act request in March, after the New York Times revealed that Clinton had exclusively used a private email server and domain name during her tenure as secretary of state. Cause of Action shared the documents with Fox News on an exclusive basis, ahead of Senate testimony by the group’s executive director, Daniel Epstein.  “Given NARA’s stated concerns,” Epstein said in written testimony submitted this week to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, “it either was aware of the failure to preserve Mrs. Clinton’s emails or was extremely negligent in its efforts to monitor [the preservation of] senior officials’ emails.”

Fox News’ Special Report, Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein spoke with Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen about recently uncovered government documents that reveal critical faults with the federal records archiving system during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

Cause of Action Obtains New Documents Showing That The National Archives Feared That Hillary Clinton Might Try To Keep Her Emails Secret

Emails reveal that senior officials at NARA expressed concern privately that Mrs. Clinton would attempt to conceal her records

WASHINGTON – In December 2012, NARA Chief Records Officer Paul Wester notified several other National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) employees that NARA COO Tom Mills and NARA’s Director of the Federal Records Center Jay Trainer were concerned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would take her records with her to the Clinton Library upon her departure from the State Department.

The information is contained in new documents that Cause of Action, a nonpartisan government transparency organization, has obtained via a series of public records requests to both NARA and the State Department.

Click here and here to view the documents

In one email, Wester stated, “Tom heard (or thought he heard) from the Clinton Library Director that there are or may be plans afoot for taking her [Mrs. Clinton’s] records from State to Little Rock.”

Wester said NARA needed “to make sure everyone leaving the Administration does not leave with Federal records,” adding that NARA was “aware of the issue and are working on it.”

Wester said Mills and Trainer “continued to invoke the specter of the Henry Kissinger experience vis-à-vis Hillary Clinton.” This is a reference to the long and litigious battle over former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s records.

In February 2015, days before the news broke that Mrs. Clinton used a personal email address during her time as Secretary of State, NARA received an inquiry from a staffer on the Congressional Benghazi committee seeking information about the State Department’s records management system. In a prepared a response that was to be sent to staffer, Wester wrote, “the State Department records management program and staff are considered very strong. NARA has awarded the State Department two Archivist Achievement Awards in Records Management in the past decade.”

Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein issued the following statement:

“These records reveal that before Hillary Clinton exited the State Department, there were serious concerns about her violating federal records laws. Yet, despite knowledge by the State Department and the Archives, nothing was done about it. What’s clear is that without pressure from transparency organizations like mine, the public would never get the full story of what happened behind the scenes regarding Mrs. Clinton’s emails.”

Politico: Archives officials worried about protecting Hillary emails

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Transparency advocates said they were troubled that despite the warnings, no action appears to have been taken to recover Clinton’s cache of emails until last October.

“These records reveal that before Hillary Clinton exited the State Department, there were serious concerns about her violating federal records laws. Yet, despite knowledge by the State Department and the Archives, nothing was done about it,” said Dan Epstein of Cause of Action, which also demanded and received the Clinton-related messages the Archives released this week under FOIA. “What’s clear is that without pressure from transparency organizations like mine, the public would never get the full story of what happened behind the scenes regarding Mrs. Clinton’s emails.”

Daily Caller: Memo: Since 2009, The State Department Required Outgoing Officials To Turn Over Emails

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A memo sent to State Department officials last year indicates that the agency had a policy in place as early as 2009 requiring out-going officials to turn over email records when they leave office.


Hillary Clinton flouted that policy when she left her position as secretary of state in February 2013. Clinton exclusively used a personal email account hosted on a private server during her time at the agency and only turned those records over a few months ago.


“As a supplement to existing policy, and consistent with the policy in place since 2009, it is important to capture electronically the e-mail accounts of the senior officials…as they depart their positions,” reads an Aug. 28, 2014, memo entitled “Senior Officials’ Records Management Responsibilities” sent by Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of management.


Clinton held on to her emails until Dec. 2014, nearly two years after leaving her position. When she did finally turn the records over, she did so only at the State Department’s request and as a House committee investigating Benghazi sought them.


Cause of Action, a nonprofit government watchdog group, pointed out the Kennedy memo, which was included in a list of documents it received in response to a March 17 letter calling on the State Department to investigate whether Clinton turned over all official government emails sent to and from her personal account.

National Review: It Appears the State Department Has Had a Policy of Retaining Senior Officials’ Emails Since 2009

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When State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the emails of senior officials at Foggy Bottom weren’t automatically archived until “February of this year,” it raised the question of why Hillary Clinton had claimed that her emails to colleagues were automatically saved.

“What was her foundation for even that? Did someone incorrectly tell her that that was happening, or did she incorrectly make such a self-serving assumption?” former Justice Department Office of Information and Privacy director Dan Metcalfe wondered to Politico.

Cause of Action (CoA), a government transparency group, thinks it has the answer. “[The State Department] just provided Cause of Action documents showing that the department has required emails to be preserved since 2009,” Dan Epstein, the group’s executive director, says in a written statement to National Review.

The documents Epstein references, which were released to Cause of Action by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, provide guidance on the State Department’s record-keeping policy.


Washington Examiner: Interactive graphic: Hillary Clinton’s insider network

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Daniel Epstein, Cause of Action’s Executive Director, says, “Due to Secretary Clinton’s failure to preserve emails on an authorized system, and the State Department’s failure to preserve any employee text messages at all, the full truth of whether Mrs. Clinton’s associations improperly influenced her decisions will never be known… Unfortunately, this lack of transparency has become the norm in Washington.”