Hillary Clinton maintained using her personal email account while serving as secretary of state, sparking debate whether this is within the rule of law or she has breached federal law requirements, as first reported by The New York Times. In the wake of the controversy, Gawker noted that the email address in question was divulged as early as 2013.
Her Maiden Initials
Clinton may have used her maiden initials for her email address HDR22@ClintonEmail.com, Gawker reported, noting that she was born as Hillary Diane Rodham. In 2013, Gawker wanted to run a report about former Clinton White House staffer Sidney Blumenthal after a hacker named Guccifer exposed correspondence between Clinton and Blumenthal.
In the said expose’, Blumenthal had kept Clinton up-to-date with information and advice about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Guccifer made public various screenshots showing the emails between Blumenthal and Clinton, with the latter using the handler HDR22@ClintonEmail.com.
Clinton’s Use Of Personal Email Was No Secret
The State Department and two other former staff members maintained that Clinton’s use of her personal email was within the boundaries of the law.
“The State Department has long had access to a wide array of Secretary Clinton’s records – including emails between her and Department officials with state.gov accounts,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told Business Insider in an email.
Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill maintained that all of Clinton’s emails will be preserved.
“Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained,” Merrill wrote in an email to Business Insider.
The White House Is Choosing To Be Vague
In a press conference Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that all employees in the Obama administration were given specific guidance to use their official e-mail accounts when conducting official government business. Asked by ABC News whether Clinton violated the federal requirements by using her personal email, Earnest was vague.
“I was not in a position to review Secretary Clinton’s personal email. That was the responsibility of Secretary Clinton and her team. They say that they turned over thousands of pages and thousands of emails and that is entirely consistent with the requirements of the Federal Records Act,” Earnest said, adding that he is not aware whether the White House knew that Clinton was using her personal email.
“When there are situations in which personal email is used to conduct official US business, those emails are official government records and should be turned over to the State Department, which is what I understand Secretary Clinton’s team has done,” Earnest told press.
When Gawker ran the Guccifer expose’, Gawker had pointed out that Clinton may have violated federal laws by using a personal handler. After running the story on Blumenthal, Gawker then filed a Freedom of Information Act request from the State Department.
Under the FOIA, Gawker asked for all emails between Clinton and Blumenthal, particularly the emails sent to and from HDR22@ClintonEmail.com between January 21 2009 and February 1 2013.
The State Department at this time told Gawker that it could find no records responsive to such request.