Newly disclosed emails from Hillary Clinton to then CENTCOM chief David Petraeus show that the former secretary of state was using a private server earlier than she had previously said.
The new set of emails, from January to February 2009, was turned over to the State Department by the Department of Defense, State Department spokesman John Kirby told ABC News, confirming a story originally reported by The Associated Press.
The State Department said its record of Clinton emails begins on March 18, 2009. Over the nearly two months she was in office before that, Clinton has said she used a Blackberry email account that she can no longer access.
The discovery appears to contradict Clinton’s sworn statement that she had turned over all the email from her private server to the State Department.
Clinton’s team did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment.
In February, the Department turned over 296 emails relating to Benghazi to the House Select Committee investigation the attack, claiming at the time that they were the only emails relevant to the committee’s request.
The discovery Friday of a handful of new emails, first reported by the Daily Beast, contradicted that claim.
A senior State Department official told ABC News on Friday that it missed these emails the first time around because of the cumbersome nature of discovery process. Clinton turned over 55,000 printed pages of documents that had to be search by hand, which prevented researchers from conducting electronic keyword searches, according to this official. The new emails were discovered only after the documents had been scanned and searched on a computer.
The FBI has recovered personal and work-related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business.
The FBI is investigating how and why classified information ended up on Clinton’s server. The probe probably will take at least several more months, according to the person, who described the matter on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing and deals with sensitive information.
A review by Clinton and her aides determined that about half of the 60,000 e-mails she exchanged during her four-year tenure as secretary of state were of a personal nature, the presidential candidate has said.
Those e-mails, she said, mostly dealt with planning for Chelsea’s wedding, yoga routines and condolence messages.
Clinton said the personal e-mails were deleted from the server and her staff turned over paper copies of the remaining work-related e-mails in December to the State Department for processing and archiving. The FBI obtained Clinton’s server from the Colorado-based company managing it.
Outside computer specialists have said the FBI has the technical capability to recover deleted e-mails. The exact number of personal e-mails recovered by the FBI could not be learned.
Once the e-mails have been extracted, a group of agents has been separating personal correspondence and passing along work-related messages to agents leading the investigation, the person said.
Since the existence of the e-mail system became public in March, Clinton has seen her standing in polls slide, particularly in regards to questions about her trustworthiness. She also has been heavily criticized by congressional Republicans who have raised questions over whether the private server jeopardized the security of sensitive data.
Internal government watchdogs have determined that classified information ended up on the system. Their findings sparked the FBI inquiry.
Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, did not respond to phone calls or e-mails seeking comment. Nick Merrill, a spokesman, said, “We’ve cooperated to date and will continue to do so, including answering any questions about this that anyone including the public may have.”
The bureau’s probe is expected to last at least several more months, according to the person. That timeline would push any final determination closer to the Democratic presidential primary calendar, which kicks off Feb. 1 with the Iowa caucuses.
A bureau spokeswoman, Carol Cratty, declined to discuss any aspect of the investigation. Emily Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
Clinton is not accused of any wrongdoing. She has said she is confident that material in her e-mails wasn’t marked as classified when it was sent and received through her server. For anyone who mishandled such information, prosecutors must prove that they knowingly did so to charge them with a crime.
The former secretary of state has said she decided to use a private e-mail address — email@example.com — to conduct all of her electronic correspondence as a matter of convenience, to avoid the need to carry two devices, one personal and one professional. She served from 2009 through 2013 as the nation’s top diplomat.
As the result of public information lawsuits, the State Department has posted almost 8,000 of those work-related e-mails on its website. The State Department has determined that dozens of the e-mails contained classified information.
Many of the work-related e-mails contain schedules, press clippings, staffing updates, speech notes, and requests to aides for tech support. Some e-mails are simply requests to speak with people over secure phone lines.
In 2013, the Clintons turned the private server over to a Colorado-based technology company to manage. The firm, Platte River Networks, installed the device in a New Jersey data center and managed and maintained it.
Andy Boian, a spokesman for the Platte River, said the FBI last month asked the company to hand over the server. Platte River asked the Clintons what it should do, and within 24 hours a representative for the Clintons told the company to provide the device to agents, Boian said.
There has been some question as to whether Clinton deleted her messages or took the more thorough and technical step of “wiping” the server. Boian said Tuesday that Platte River had “no knowledge of it being wiped.”
Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system is being examined by congressional committees that have the power to subpoena the FBI to obtain the messages. The e-mails also may be sought under public-information laws.
The FBI isn’t likely to hand over any such messages until its investigation has been completed. Even then, public records laws provide exceptions protecting personal information.
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released newly obtained Department of State documents showing a nearly five-month total gap in the emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to return to the State Department late last year. The documents also show that one key State Department official did not want a written record of issues about the Clinton emails. The documents also raise new questions about the accuracy of representations made to Judicial Watch, the courts, Congress, and the public by the Obama administration and Clinton.
The documents were produced under court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch filed on May 6, 2015 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The lawsuit was filed after the Obama State Department violated federal law and failed to respond to two separate FOIA requests, including a request for records about the actual production of the emails records by Clinton to the State Department. The first batch of documents obtained by Judicial Watch contains a heavily redacted email from State Department official Eric F. Stein to Margaret P. Grafeld, dated April 21, 2015, with the subject “HRC Emails.” Stein is deputy director of global information systems at the State Department and Grafeld is deputy assistant secretary of global information systems. Stein reports to Grafeld that the “gaps” in Clinton’s emails include:
- Jan. 21 – March 17, 2009 (Received Messages)
- Jan. 21 – April 12, 2009 (Sent Messages)
- Dec. 30, 2012 – Feb. 1, 2013 (Sent Messages)
In addition, Stein notes Clinton’s employment timeline as follows:
- Secretary Hillary Clinton
- Appointed: January 21, 2009
- Entry on Duty: January 21, 2009
- Termination of Appointment: February 1, 2013
The email also contains a chart detailing the first and last emails both sent and received to Clinton’s email address, as documented in the records turned over by Clinton’s lawyers. This chart, information from which is chopped off, reveals a non-state.gov email address Cheryl Mills evidently used to conduct government business. The email address, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” received the last email the State Department currently has from the Clinton’s non-state.gov account.
The chart shows a significant email gap lasting 40 days before Miguel Rodriguez, with the email address “Miguel_Rodriguez @clinton.senate.gov,” sends Clinton’s account an email on March 18, 2009. Rodriguez worked in the Clinton State Department and is now a private attorney representing Clinton aide and confidante Huma Abedin in Clinton email-related litigation. This “email gap” information was forwarded to other top officials in the State Department, including Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy.
These emails raise questions about whether Clinton told the truth last month when she declared, under penalty of perjury, “I have directed that all of my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State….” Clinton made this statement in response to a court order Judicial Watch obtained in separate FOIA litigation.
Another new State Department email shows that one of the agency’s top officials for records management and public disclosure did not want to create a written record about issues. State Department FOIA official Peggy Grafeld, in an October 20, 2014, email wrote to her colleagues, “Fyi. I’d prefer to discuss, rather than email. Thx.” The State Department redacted details about what caused Grafeld’s desire for secrecy.
The State Department almost completely redacted several September 25, 2014, “high” importance emails about Clinton’s emails, including information about “earlier conversations and fact finding.”
A February 9, 2015, document, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Email Appraisal Report,” describes the emails that Clinton returned in December 2014 “as approximately 60,000 to 70,000 pages of email correspondence printed to paper and stored in twelve bankers boxes.” The “records document major foreign policy issues as well as the administration and operation of the Department and inter-agency activities. They reflect the highest level of decision-making and activity in the Department and contain significant documentation.”
The “Appraisal Report” shows the State Department had concerns that Clinton’s government email correspondence would not be found:
This record series is the only comprehensive set of Secretary Clinton’s email correspondence. Some of Secretary Clinton’s email correspondence may be available elsewhere in the Department either as duplicate copies or scattered among record-keeping systems and other government officials’ email accounts. However, of the sample examined, many of the emails were from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account to official Department email accounts of her staff. Emails originating from Secretary Clinton’s personal email account would only be captured by Department systems when they came to an official Department email account, i.e., they would be captured only in the email accounts of the recipients. Secretary Clinton’s staff no longer work at the Department, and the status of the email accounts of Secretary Clinton’s staff (and other Department recipients) is unknown at this time.
The report confirms Clinton’s alleged personal emails from her non-state.gov account are government records:
This collection contains instances of personal communications. Nevertheless, the fraction of personal communications is small and does not affect the overriding archival value of this collection. This records series meets all of the relevant considerations for archival retention under NARA Directive J 441.
The report next confirms that all of Clinton’s emails are “Federal records.” A section entitled “Record status” states:
This records series meets the statutory definition for Federal records. Recorded information has record status if 1) ”made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business” and 2) “preserved or appropriate for preservation.” The sent and received email messages of the Secretary of State used for review, comment, information, or other reason fall under the first part of that definition. As the person holding the highest level job in the Department, any email message maintained by or for the immediate use of the Secretary of State is “appropriate for preservation.” This record series cannot be considered personal papers based on the definition of a record in 44 U.S.C. 3301 or Department policy found in 5 FAM 443.
The report suggests that all of the emails that Clinton returned, including personal emails, are subject to review and retention retained by the National Archives (NARA). A section titled a “Note On Personal Papers” states:
This record series contains instances of personal communications that relate solely to Secretary Clinton’s personal and private affairs. The Agency Records Officer conducted a page-by-page review of approximately 1,250 pages of received messages for the period March 15, 2010 through April 30, 2010 to determine the prevalence of personal communications in a random sample of material. The Agency Records Officer identified 30 messages (approximately 30-40 pages) in the sample set as solely personal in nature. These messages were interspersed with significant documentation relating to Haiti, Mexico, Israel, Afghanistan, Russia, and South Africa. Since NARA possesses the legal authority to make the final determination of record status under the Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, all final decisions must be made by NARA at the time of archival accessioning. [Emphasis in original]
The report also confirms that all of Clinton’s emails are subject to “line by line review” for release under FOIA.
State Department rules “specify that personal records of a departing Presidential Appointee may not be removed from the government until the State Department ‘records officer…’ approves of the removal, a process which ‘generally requires a hands-on examination of the materials,’” as Judicial Watch notedin litigation seeking preservation, recovery, and search of deemed-personal emails that Clinton has not turned over to the State Department, FBI, or Justice Department.
The “Appraisal Report” is at odds with claims by Clinton and the Obama administration that Clinton can delete over 30,000 personal emails from non-state.gov email accounts she used for government business. In fact, the “Appraisal Report” suggests that all of Clinton’s personal emails are Federal records subject to “line by line” review for possible disclosure in response to FOIA and other document requests. Finally, the documents reveal the State Department raised concerns about classified information in Clinton’s possession back in March. A March 23, 2015, letter to Clinton attorney David Kendall states, in part:
We understand that Secretary Clinton would like to continue to retain copies of the documents to assist her in responding to congressional and related inquiries regarding the documents and her tenure as head of the Department. The Department has consulted with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and believes that permitting Secretary Clinton continued access to the documents is in the public interest as it will help promote informed discussion…In the event that State Department reviewers determine that any document or documents is/are classified, additional steps will be required to safeguard and protect the information. Please note that if Secretary Clinton wishes to release any document or portion thereof, the Department must approve such release and first review the document for information that may be protected from disclosure for privilege, privacy or other reasons.
“Judicial Watch’s discovery of the Clinton email ‘gap’ may take a place in history next to the discovery of the Nixon tapes,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have taken their cover-up of the email scandal too far. I suspect that federal courts will want more information, under oath, about the issues raised in these incredible documents.”
Judicial Watch has 20 federal lawsuits against the State Department in which the Clinton email issue is implicated. Judicial Watch seeks discovery and additional requests for court relief are planned.
The company that managed Hillary Clinton’s private email server said it has “no knowledge of the server being wiped,” indicating that tens of thousands of emails Clinton said were deleted could be recovered, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and her aides have said she deleted her personal emails from her time as secretary of state, but unless the server has been “wiped” experts say those 31,000 emails could be recovered, the Post reported. A representative of the Clinton campaign could not immediately be reached for comment on the report.
Exclusive: U.S. to shift 50 staff to boost office handling Clinton emailsWASHINGTON |
The U.S. State Department plans to move about 50 workers into temporary jobs to bolster the office sifting through Hillary Clinton’s emails and grappling with a vast backlog of other requests for information to be declassified, officials said on Tuesday.
The move illustrates the huge administrative burden caused by Clinton’s decision to use a private email address for official communications as secretary of state and a judge’s ruling in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that they be released.
Clinton on Tuesday for the first time apologized for her use of private email, telling ABC News: “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that.” The news channel reported the comment before broadcast of the full interview at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The extra staff will not work on the monthly, court-ordered release of Clinton emails, which are being handled by about 20 permanent, and 30 part-time, workers, officials said. The new staff will fill in for those workers and may also handle other Clinton FOIA requests.
The front-runner to be the Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 election has been heavily criticized since it emerged in March that she used the private set-up rather than a government-issued email address.
In a notice to employees on Sept. 2, the State Department advertised for people with skills in coordinating and assessing FOIA requests and deciding if information may be declassified and released to the public.
The notice, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, is entitled “Enhancing Transparency: Immediate Detail Opportunities At State” and calls for workers to apply for reassignment for 9 to 12 months. Applications are due on Thursday and the agency plans to make selections by Sept. 18.
In addition to filling in for workers pulled from their normal duties to handle the crush of work from the Clinton emails, officials said the extra staff would help the department grapple with a surge in FOIA requests more generally, related litigation and a huge backlog of information requests.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that he was naming Ambassador Janice Jacobs to serve as the State Department’s “transparency coordinator” to help the agency respond to FOIA and congressional requests more efficiently.
The agency had an overall backlog of 10,045 FOIA requests at the end of fiscal year 2014 on Sept. 30, up about 15.8 percent from the previous year, according to its FOIA reports.
(Additional Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Christian Plumb)
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(CNN)Hillary and Bill Clinton personally paid the State Department staffer who set up their private email server, two Clinton campaign aides said Saturday.
Bryan Pagliano was retained separately from his job at State to install the server, the aides said. The arrangement insured that no taxpayer money was spent on setting up the server that was used by the Clinton family and some of their closest advisers, the aide said.
The Washington Post first reported the arrangement Friday night.
A message left with Pagliano’s lawyer Saturday morning was not immediately returned.
Pagliano, an IT specialist, informed Congress through his lawyer earlier this week thathe will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi and other Congressional inquiries into the server.
Clinton’s aides had earlier sought to minimize any damage from his refusal, saying they’d encouraged Pagliano to testify because he has nothing to hide.
“We had hoped Bryan would also agree to answer any questions from the committee, and had recently encouraged him to grant the committee’s request for an interview,” a Clinton aide told CNN on Thursday.
“Bryan is an utter professional and a wonderful young man who does not live in the public eye and understandably may not wish to be drawn into a political spectacle,” the aide said. “So his decision is both understandable and yet also disappointing to us, because we believe he has every reason to be transparent about his IT assistance.”
Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth could create a fresh opening for Clinton’s opponents in the 2016 presidential race to attack her, this time citing a former staffer’s actions rather than leveling their own charges, like Donald Trump’s suggestion that the controversy surrounding Clinton’s emails could force the end of her campaign.