Records Management

Clinton says she regrets not using .gov address

E-mail circling the globe

Hillary Clinton told reporters that she opted to use a personal email address for her work as secretary of State largely as a matter of convenience. Given the fracas that has erupted over the disposition of her electronic correspondence, she thinks that might have been an error in judgment.

"I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously it hasn't worked out that way," Clinton said in a 20-minute press conference at the New York headquarters of the United Nations.

Clinton said she deleted about half the 60,000 emails stored on her email server, because they were personal in nature, covering topics like "yoga routines" and "family vacations," and planning for her daughter's wedding and mother's funeral. "No one wants their personal emails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy," Clinton said.

She told reporters that she ordered a search of the email system for State Department records. "My direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work related," she said.

It is unlikely that Clinton's answers will bury interest in the controversy -- one of the most high-profile in a series of stories that touch on federal record keeping practices.

There are still lingering questions about Clinton's use of a private email address and server for her government business, including whether State Department IT officials were aware of the unusual practice of a Cabinet member maintaining a private email server, precisely what guidelines were used by Clinton's team in determining what qualified as a work email, and why the records were produced in printed form rather than in their original electronic format.

According to Clinton, she met her obligations under the Federal Records Act, as well as the State Department's internal records schedule for top officials, because her emails were typically sent to individuals holding a State.gov email address.

"I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by," Clinton said.

The email server in question, Clinton said, was set up for the use of her husband during his post-presidential career. The server's location was not revealed, but Clinton said the system "had numerous safeguards" and was kept "on property guarded by the Secret Service." The system "proved to be effective and secure," Clinton said, and suffered "no security breaches." However, Clinton did not offer the system up for inspection. She said that no classified information was sent via the system.

"The server will remain private," she said.

Clinton did not answer questions about whether State Department IT officials were consulted on the use of or authorized the private email system. The State Department has so far been mum on this question as well.

The State Department announced separately that it would comply with Clinton's request to make public the 55,000 pages of email she submitted, following a review. Clinton said that "once the American public begins to see the emails, they will have an unprecedented insight into a high government official's daily communications, which I think will be quite interesting."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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