Hillary Clinton did not keep a public email account at the State Department

Last night, the New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton did not keep a government email account during her tenure at the State Department, relying solely on her personal email address.

The Federal Records Act requires that governmental correspondence on personal email accounts be preserved; Clinton’s staff did not do so.

Per the Times:

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.

Prior reports had shown Secretary Clinton conducting public business on private email accounts, and previous Secretaries of State, such as Colin Powell, have maintained private accounts while holding their posts. However, the fact that that none of her official correspondence took place on an email address ending in .gov places her on unprecedented and shaky legal ground.

While the story is just breaking, and Secretary Clinton has not responded personally to the Times report — her spokesman noted that emails she sent to State Department employees would be preserved through their accounts, but did not comment on emails sent to members of foreign governments and the private sector — it’s hard to think of a good reason for keeping those records private.

After all, as the Times article noted, President Obama and current Secretary of State John Kerry archive all of their emails. The public doesn’t see the classified stuff, and so using a government email account is arguably more private than using an unsecured, private account, especially if all of your emails are supposed to be public record. Secretary Clinton learned this the hard way in 2013, when a former Clinton aide had his email account hacked. His emails with Secretary Clinton were the public’s first knowledge that Clinton was using a private email address in the first place.

So, at first blush, the only apparent reason for Clinton to keep her correspondence off the books is if she planned on sending emails to non-State Department staff that weren’t sensitive enough to classify but were too problematic to disclose.

This is especially tough for Clinton given the developing narrative around her and her upcoming 2016 candidacy, one in which she is seen as too powerful, too connected and too secretive to be an effective public servant. Who was she emailing that she didn’t want us to know about? Which emails did her advisers withhold from the State Department? Voters like me, who aren’t #ReadyForHillary yet, are only left to speculate — and we have a few ideas.

In the summer of 2011, I was a low-level intern in the executive branch. We were told on day one that if we so much as jotted official business down on a post-it note, we had to file that post-it note with our office before our internship was over so that it could be archived. Needless to say, all of our emails were stored in a similar manner. The carrot for us interns was that we’d be able to take our grandkids to the Presidential Library in 40 years and show them the emails we sent; the stick was that if we used our private emails for even the most minor public activity, we’d be violating federal disclosure laws.

It’s safe to say that none of the emails I sent as an intern mattered. At all. My grandkids are going to have to smile and pretend to be interested if I ever do take them to that part of the Library. But in the event one of us screwed up and sent something we weren’t supposed to send, the public had a right to know.

Either Secretary Clinton felt that these rules didn’t apply to her, or that they did and she could get away with not abiding by them. She certainly wouldn’t be the first president to have a sketchy record on email disclosures, but needless to say, she isn’t doing herself any favors with the public’s trust.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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129 Responses to “Hillary Clinton did not keep a public email account at the State Department”

  1. canyonlobo says:

    Uncle – I’d be plenty happy w/that. Warren is the sharpest mind in congress. We need serious leaders who
    have some background – both Warren and Kerry would be great. Neither would ut up with the b.s. the Repubs
    throw around, including snowballs.

  2. UncleBucky says:

    The reverse??? How ’bout that?

  3. caphillprof says:

    Nader was the reason we had to suffer through George W Bush.
    The notion that Nader would ever be president of the United States is a fantasy.

  4. canyonlobo says:

    Kerry as president, Warren as v.p.

  5. canyonlobo says:

    Hillary is too toxic – the rabid RW would regurgitate their vomit for another 4 or 8 yrs. I say Kerry as pres, with Elizabeth Warren as v.p.

  6. canyonlobo says:

    “who else” – How about Kerry as pres., Elizabeth Warren as v.p.

  7. canyonlobo says:

    My vote would be for John Kerry as Pres. with Elizabeth Warren as v.p. Hillary would just mean that the Obama type hatred and dysfunction would continue. I don’t think our country can take too much of this anymore. Hillary, whatever her claim is too much of a lightning rod – the Conservatives hate her no matter what she does – they are like junk yard dogs who were thrown a piece of red meat. Kerry/Warren.

  8. FLL says:

    And then there’s the recent revelation about foreign governments contributing money to the Clinton Family Foundation, in apparent violation of ethics rules that restrict the Secretary of State. As Dick Harpootlian, Democrat from South Carolina, said, “There’s always another shoe to drop with Hillary.” No wonder Martin O’Malley is heading up to New Hampshire this weekend. Governor of Maryland? Meh. But I seem to recall that in 1992, Bill Clinton was only a relatively unknown governor of Arkansas when he beat George Bush, Sr., who as an incumbent president (not to mention Vice President for two terms under Reagan). You just never know.

  9. 1nancy2 says:

    H. We are tired of holding our noses and voting for a so so person. I’d like to be excited and would be with E. Warren. The media and Koch’s decide the winner, not the voter. Sick.

  10. FLL says:

    OK, your question is well taken, so I’ll try to answer it. As long as Hillary doesn’t formally begin her campaign (and assemble a campaign staff, etc.), she has the best of all worlds, which is not a good thing for other potential Democratic candidates. As long as Hillary stalls, it freezes other potential Democratic candidates in place, putting them in a kind of limbo. It also shields Hillary from the press because as soon as she declares, she would have to answer questions from reporters at every appearance and speaking engagement that she makes. She can have her cake and eat it too, but it doesn’t serve the American public or help ensure a decent outcome for the 2016 election.

    The solution is to push Hillary out of her not-100%-candidate closet. Either she starts a formal campaign or she decides to retire her White House bid—one or the other—and the sooner the better. As soon as she makes a real decision (and isn’t making decisions what presidents are supposed to do?), other candidates can and will jump into the primary race, which would serve everyone well… um… except the Republicans and their tiny little group of adorable fans on the Americablog comment pages.

  11. UncleBucky says:

    Sorry to chime in, but then… who else?

  12. UncleBucky says:

    I don’t disagree. But party names do mean things, at least in a two party system. You want everything to be (R-Crazyland?) Or at least a few masquerading as and trying to keep votes with moderates to progressives?

    I am not a Hilary-ite, but I am sure as hell not going to be happy if Jebbie or Christie gets wedged into the White House.

    So, as I say: Then who, if not Clinton? I have not heard a single answer so far that suggests that the Koch et al. party from hell would lose with their puppet candidates.

  13. The_Fixer says:

    I would not characterize having a mail server as being an ISP. Having a mail server is something that ISPs do, but having a mail server does not make one an ISP.

    That little quibble aside, and knowing that the HRC operation insisted on doing it this way in spite of being warned not to do it, it becomes painfully obvious that the intent was to obfuscate. There’s very little convenience in having one’s own mail server, it takes time, dedication and knowledge to administer such. The truckloads of spam, the constant vigilance required in keeping people from breaking into it, and just the general time it takes to maintain it means that HRC herself was not doing it, she was hiring people to take care of it (obviously). People don’t do that on a lark; the intent was to have complete control over all of her E-mail communications, right down to deciding what was “recoverable” in the event someone started asking for copies of what was on the server.

    This has an awful stink about it. As I said in my first message, it’s dazzling how stupid this all is. It was a remarkably poor decision at the time, and now it’s come back to haunt her.

    Good work, Hill…

  14. mf_roe says:

    Hillary has never merited anything above second seat, she can produce when someone directs her but she just doesn’t understand that leading requires developing goals that the followers can agree with. For her Leadership translates to Control and obedience of the people below her. One can not lead unless they listen to those who follow. Without that feedback Leadership is blind.

  15. mf_roe says:

    Social Media is even more of a game changer than Television. Blogs like this one were very important to Obams’s success, but they have been left behind by newer types of social media. You no longer need billions to reach millions, But you do need Honest People and Real Platforms that resonate with the millions who despise the current system and see no one with a plan. How many people do you talk to regularly that oppose your views, the smaller that number the smaller the chance of change.

  16. nicho says:

    Clinton’s office was warned over its ISP practices


    State Department technology experts expressed security concerns that then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was using a private email service rather than the government’s fortified and monitored system, but those fears fell on deaf ears, a current employee on the department’s cybersecurity team told Al Jazeera America on Tuesday.

    The employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said it was well known that Clinton’s emails were at greater risk of being hacked, intercepted or monitored, but the warnings were ignored.

    “We tried,” the employee said. “We told people in her office that it wasn’t a good idea. They were so uninterested that I doubt the secretary was ever informed.”

    Her office was warned of a security threat and she wasn’t informed? Not the sign of a good leader.

  17. UncleBucky says:

    Yep, I understand. But the question goes out: “Then who?” √

  18. nicho says:

    What makes you think Hillary is opposed to the Koch/GOP/Bircher/Thumper agenda? From everything I’ve seen, she’s on board with all of it.

  19. FLL says:

    If Hillary implodes, better that she does so now rather than later. Read about the Richard Nixon connection below. I honestly wrote the first part about Richard Nixon II before I had any idea about the Hillary/Nixon connection. I was just idly surfing the net and there it was. You may or may not laugh your ass off. Richard Nixon II indeed.

  20. UncleBucky says:

    Obviously, I would canvass for Elizabeth Warren and/or Bernie Sanders. No question. But can they get the moderates and fence sitters? I dunno.

  21. UncleBucky says:


    Then who? I am interested in “who” who can win over the Koch/GOP/Bircher/Thumper/Neo-Confederate/Liebertarian candidate?

  22. Houndentenor says:

    I’ll offer this deal to conservatives. Hillary has to turn over all emails from the time she was Sec of State if the Bush/Cheney administration turns over all meeting with oil industry reps and minutes of all conversations about WMDs. Otherwise, not interested.

  23. FLL says:

    People don’t want Richard Nixon II in the White House, although Nixon was an extreme case.

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    What democracy?

    “A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile
    of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often. It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.”


  25. nicho says:

    And the fact that she had her own ISP in her house, just adds fuel to the fire. Pulling this kind of nonsense for whatever reasons she had, is not the sign of a “leader.”

  26. nicho says:

    Get ready for the sound of PUMA/Hillbot heads exploding.

    It turns out Hillary was running her own ISP, with her own servers, in her own house. That kind of destroys the argument that she was too technically unsavvy to use the government email. But I’m sure her servers had the utmost security and couldn’t be hacked by anyone. Bwahahahaha.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton’s official emails when she was secretary of state traced back to an residential Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua (CHAP’-uh-kwah), New York.

    Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press disclosed the service registered to the Clinton home.

    She has not described her motivation for using a private email account or her own private email server. Most individuals who operate their own email servers are technical experts or users so concerned about issues of privacy and surveillance they take matters into their own hands.

  27. nicho says:

    We’ll never know, will we? Only she and her handlers will know.

  28. Houndentenor says:

    Nothing in that bore any resemblance to what I said and you know that.

    I can’t vote for candidates who can’t raise the money to mount a campaign. Jimmy Carter was the last successful presidential candidate who started his primary candidacy on a shoe-string. It’s just not possible now. The media buys necessary are just too expensive.

    So, no, I do not sell my vote. My point is that most politicians have to sell THEIR votes in order to raise the money they need. Have you not been paying attention?

  29. Houndentenor says:

    Both parties need to do serious purges of the stupid, the crazy and the corrupt. Especially the corrupt. That means we ought to get rid of the more embarrassing pols in the primaries, replacing them with better candidates. The argument is always that if not for so-and-so we’d be stuck with a Republican/Democrat. That’s a sorry excuse. “My opponent would be even worse.” That’s exactly why half the country doesn’t vote.

  30. The_Fixer says:

    This is nonsensical.

    Ms. Clinton’s mixing of personal and government business E-mail was just completely incompetent. Who would want their personal E-mail subjected to government inspection? If she’s mixing government communication with personal, then if there’s any kind of government inquiry requiring access to official communications, her personal stuff comes into the mix. How stupid.

    On the face of it and based on what I have read here, she’s not committed any crime in doing so. But she obviously has a record-keeping problem. Which means that the staff may not have the luxury of deciding what the government should get and what they don’t need. Expect some court action on this, and her personal E-mail correspondence will doubtless become public when it is all subpoenaed and rooted through because the Republicans have started another investigation.

    This is not what a person running for president wants. Supplying the Republicans with yet another reason for investigating her is remarkably stupid.

    Another reason why she shouldn’t be president – she makes bad decisions (in addition to the multitude of other sins).

  31. mf_roe says:

    So you sell your vote? Money buys Propaganda that’s how money affects elections—-but a grass roots campaign can compete IF the message and Candidate are Credible. Dems sat out the last election not because they were bought off but because they were disgusted with the performance of the Dems.

  32. 1nancy2 says:

    H. I agree. We need new blood D and R. Period.

  33. Houndentenor says:

    Or perhaps we should be looking at the Democratic governors and senators for a viable presidential candidate. Clinton is not inevitable. That’s what everyone was saying in 2007 and it wasn’t true then either.

  34. Houndentenor says:

    The Bushes are the oligarchs so that part is redundant. I don’t think it’s possible to get to be president now without becoming beholden to the 1% so where does that leave the country?

  35. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, I understand that. My point is that the emails still exist somewhere so if there was any intent to hide anything it was a fail. I’m not a huge fan of the Clintons. I like them well enough but am also not blinded by their faults. I think this is being made out to be a lot bigger deal than it actually is and I say that as someone who is often critical of her.

  36. FLL says:

    The Federal Records Act is an actual law passed by Congress in 1950 and amended in 2014. I don’t blame most Internet sources for initially focusing on this law because this is the law, after all, that the Times writer mentioned in his recent article. Thanks go to SkippyFlipjack for digging deeper and finding an article on Slate that focuses not on the law that the Times writer mentioned but the bureaucratic regulations that were in place when Hillary was Secretary of State. From the Slate article (link here):

    According to the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration regulations in effect when Clinton took office, “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”

    Then the Slate writer concludes: “How quickly did they need to be transferred [from private email to the agency computer servers]? More quickly than six years after she started her tenure.” In other words, Hillary didn’t break the law (which is the Federal Records Act), but she hardly acted on existing bureaucratic regulations in a timely manner. Waiting six years, obviously, is not timely—which does raise questions about whether Hillary would run the White House in an atmosphere of excessive secrecy. One of her worst traits is her exclusive reliance on and trust in a small group of advisers close to her. My criticism of the Times writer remains. Too heavy on the vague innuendo, and he mentioned Federal Records Act when he actually should have looked at the bureaucratic regulations that applied to government agencies such as the Department of State. And no, the story wasn’t broken by the House committee on Benghazi (as the Times writer claimed) but by Gawker two years ago. In any case, Hillary has even more problems than her history of coziness with corporate interests.

  37. SkippyFlipjack says:

    That’s sort of her mistake then, isn’t it? Part of the reason you keep business and personal accounts separate is to keep your business and personal emails separate. When Clinton decided to create a brand new business-but-not-governmental account for her official duties, she sort of lost the ability to claim that it was her personal account.

  38. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Keeping email in your account and archiving it all in the agency’s recordkeeping system are different things.

  39. SkippyFlipjack says:

    According to this article on Slate.com, the law as of 2009 mandated that all Clinton’s emails be “preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system”, and that the regulation was just tightened up in 2014. How does this square with what you’re saying?


  40. FLL says:

    I understood the snark alert before I started writing, which made it all the more fun.

  41. FLL says:

    OK, Jon, since this is your post, you might want to step in and clear this up. The Times article is misleading. The headline reads that Hillary’s use of a personal email account was “Possibly Breaking Rules,” and in the first paragraph, the Times writer notes that Hillary “may have violated federal requirements.” That sort of vague innuendo doesn’t really befit a major news outlet. But to go to the heart of the author’s accusation, he states in the second paragraph that:

    Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

    That’s inaccurate journalism on this writer’s part because it was not required at the time:

    National Archives Official: 2014 Federal Records Law Clarified How Private Email Should Be Handled. Among the “major points” in the 2014 law highlighted by the National Archives was: “Clarifying the responsibilities of Federal government officials when using non-government email systems.” [Records Express, National Archives, 12/2/14]

    2014 Federal Records Law Marked “The First Significant Changes To The Federal Records Act Of 1950.” According to the National Archives, the 2014 law marked “the first significant changes to the Federal Records Act of 1950.” [Records Express, National Archives, 12/2/14]

    Further on in the article, the writer states that “The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered by a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi as it sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.” The writer makes it sound like the House Republicans scored a big one here, except that claim by the Times writer is not true. The story was first reported two years ago by Gawker (link here).

    The Times article seems to have some major inaccuracies, and that’s how I’ll describe it myself. Below, Becca calls it a hit piece, and while I’ll just note the inaccuracies in the article, I was surprised (or not?) to read mirth write that it’s “nutso” to call the Times article a hit piece. I’ve read plenty of the pieces that Becca has written as a blogger on this site, and I wouldn’t describe any of them as nutso. And finally, there’s the matter of you, Jon Green. That’s right, I said you. Mirth guesses that you “aren’t opposed to another Clinton presidency.” You have not stated categorically that you are so opposed, and neither has John Aravosis. Mirth goes on to use some typically colorful language to describe Hillary supporters, although that may not technically apply to those who merely “aren’t opposed”. I know that you were simply reporting the news, but would you now care to comment on the accuracy of the claims in the Times article, or some of the colorful language on the comment pages?

  42. mf_roe says:

    We would ALL be better off if we avoided supporting HIGH Negatives type candidates.Running a Hated canidate just raises the chances that the other side will consider their own Dogs as viable. Does anyone ever win a race to the bottom?

  43. mf_roe says:

    Depends on who you think the government really represents, the Oligarchs or the citizens. Both the Bushes and Clintons have served the Oligarchs quite well and they both enjoy the support of close to 50% of the voters. Of course Obama has eclipsed both dynasties both in service to the 1% and TRUE majorities of voters in both of his elections. Maybe we should be looking at Michelle.

  44. Houndentenor says:

    The time to look for an alternative to Clinton is now, not Nov 2016. Obviously I will vote for Clinton over Walker or Cruz or whatever right wing nutjob the GOP nominates. But I’d like to have a better option in 2016 than someone I know can’t be trusted on any issue.

  45. Houndentenor says:

    At this point in 2007 I remember telling people that I didn’t think Hillary was going to be the nominee. There were just too many people who had strong feelings about her vote for the Iraq War, her ties to Wall Street and of course her ties to that Dominionist group that runs too much of DC already (without much scrutiny either in spite of high profile events like the National Prayer Breakfast). The same is true now. There are a lot of us looking for someone else to support. And I’m saying the same thing about Jeb Bush. Do any Republicans really think another Bush in the White House is a good idea? They may vote for him if he’s the nominee just as most of us will vote for Clinton because what other choice will we have, but if we have another choice in the primary this could be a repeat of 2008 for Clinton.

  46. Houndentenor says:

    LOL. Do people really think that deleting an email “destroys” it? ROFLOL

  47. Houndentenor says:

    If the best either party can come up with in 2016 is another Bush and another Clinton that says a lot about the sorry state of our political system.

  48. Houndentenor says:

    Unless the emails were deleted from the server, they still exist. My guess is that all of them still exist, “archived” or not.

  49. mf_roe says:

    I hear you, as a young kid of 15 I read “Exudus” by Leon Uris. This lead to reading several other books about the struggles of the Jewish peoples leading up to WWII and their efforts to create a homeland after the war. As I aged and watched and learned more of the other sides of the narrative I lost most of my positive opinion of Israel’s founding. This occurred concurrent with my personal enlightenment and rejection of “Religion”.

    I still understand the Jewish desire to have a place where they are free of persecution, I however reject their belief that they are entitled to persecute others in order to achieve that end. So yeah, US support of Israel needs fixing.

    BUT– Is that really the most important problem that needs our attention? Just how are we to correct that flawed policy without first establishing a dialogue among ALL Americans. While we remain “A House Divided” nothing will change. That is the design of all Tyrannies, route the rabble, deny them inspiration, foster disharmony and distrust among those with exactly the same interests. When Republicans and Democrats can actually represent their voters with honesty they will have little difficulty of seeing the Deceit of Israeli Apartheid.

    There are intelligent and decent people at BOTH ends of the political spectrum when they start to work together to contain the ignorant and vengeful who also exist on both sides many of our problems will become manageable. IT WANT START WITH THE POLITICIANS

  50. Houndentenor says:

    The NYT? You mean the same NYT that printed Judy Miller’s propaganda in time for Dick Cheney to quote it on the Sunday morning talk shows to justify going to war? THAT NYT. Yeah, that’s a credible source NOT. If you still trust the NYT I don’t know what to say. It devolved into hackdom in the lead-up to the Iraq War and imho has never recovered its credibility.

  51. Houndentenor says:

    Is there any evidence that she is withholding anything except personal emails to which no one has any right to see?

  52. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, and I agree with the new rule. In fact since this has been common in the business world for almost 20 years now I’m rather shocked that government officials weren’t operating under these rules before 2014, but it seems they were not.

  53. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, but most commenters seem unaware that Clinton was not Sec of State under that rule. It’s a good one, frankly and one that is common in many businesses. All official correspondence should be going through the .gov email address while personal matters should go through another. I know of no reason so far to think that there is anything of interest in the emails Sec Clinton has not turned over nor of any reason that all of one’s personal emails should be turned over without a warrant.

  54. Max_1 says:

    Controlling the narrative… Clinton style.

  55. mirth says:

    I very much like your comment and I agree with the sometimes distasteful necessity of accepting less than perfect in overall governing, but the continuation of funding the Zionist agenda in its decimation of a people and the theft of their lands is not something that can be nor ever ever ever should be conceded. This US action alone increases the dangers to me and my fellow citizens and to the stability of the entire world, plus there are a host of other issues associated with it: the economical impact on our depleted economy, the hyper-militarization of the US at home and in its actions abroad, the grievous injuries and deaths of our servicepersons, to name three yet not leaving out the cost to our own humanity. I can support somewhat-less than perfect if that is required for our government to become more responsive to the wants and needs of we citizens, but this funding is not that.

  56. emjayay says:

    I guess I should have included a snark alert.

  57. emjayay says:

    The federal requirements for archiving or not, although a bit mind numbing and complex, are required yearly online training for every employee.

  58. mf_roe says:

    Not really that weird, Hillary is always trying to one up Bill. Slick Willy lied to the whole country on nationwide TV. Bill walked away, bloodied but still standing. Hillary can’t help herself, her self image just want allow being constrained in ways that would never stop Bill.

  59. mf_roe says:

    Warren at this point sounds too good, I’ll be more comfortable when I’m more aware of the warts and hidden agendas. I don’t expect anyone 100% to my liking to exist on the national level. But if you live in a Democracy the supreme price is the tolerance of less than perfect answers. I’ve watched Hillary long enough to know I’ll never trust her. With Warren it is unknown where she would go and who would actually have her ear. She has impressed me as smart enough to avoid Pyrrhic battles. That alone gives me hope—imagine even 4 years where the battles were actually about things that mattered.

  60. SkippyFlipjack says:

    What a weird choice Clinton made. So high profile, so obvious, and something that’s been a problem for other people in the past. When I take a new job I get a company email address and I start using that. If I kept using my Hotmail or Gmail account to email clients people would ask about it. And that’s in the private sector, nowhere near as regimented and visible as the government. Really weird. No defense for her on this one.

  61. mirth says:

    Warren lost me with her strong defense of US funding of Israel for its continuing crimes against humanity of the Palestinians, including the bombing of schools and hospitals, although I do think, even with the unknowns about her, she serves at least one purpose in the Senate and I hope she stays there.


  62. mirth says:

    True, something akin to the current Hillary attack on open government (and honor and duty) is just around the bend. But we should all begin practicing saying President Walker. Chubs Bush may have the larger war chest and, right now, broader mainstream support, yet Doofusm’f’r Walker has Evilm’f’r Rove and, eventually, all the Kroocked Koch $s he’ll need, which means, if someone more suitable than Clinton doesn’t step forward, which will not happen, our necks will be in that name noose for at least 4 years.

  63. mf_roe says:

    The only role that I can see for Clinton with any possible positive results would be her serving as a stalking horse for Warren. That is assuming that Warren is at least partially what she is advertised to be. Obama’s flimsy vetting should suggest vigorous investigation of exactly what Warren is likely to pursue if she were elected.

    Let Clinton sling mud with Bush and work to empower Warren for a last minute replacement. Clinton’s arrogance will make this possible. Remember her smug assurance that she would beat out Obama? But least we relive the fiasco of the Carter Presidency just make sure if we run Warren we give her a supporting cast on Non-DLC types so that she will have Congressional support.

  64. mf_roe says:

    Please, use some caution. Hillary is capable of spectacular blunders, she is quite capable of starting a cascade none of us will enjoy. Her baggage is sufficiently large and nasty to give Jeb cover in his bid for the White House. Between Bush Bashing and Clinton Bashing not a word of reason will be heard during the 2016 Campaign.

  65. mirth says:

    Not soon enough, I’m afraid.

  66. mirth says:

    Thank you, Mr. Green, for bring this here for discussion. I could be wrong, but I suspect you aren’t opposed to another Clinton presidency and because of this I give you additional props.

    There can be no rational discussion with Hillary’s supporters. They are, regardless facts, as excusing, insistent, emphatic, adamant, doctrinaire, imperious, uncompromising, unyielding, inflexible, rigid (including Digby whom, excluding her ever-present Hillary championing, I like and read yet even she didn’t go as nutso far as to call the NYT reporting a “hit piece”) as any Catholic bishop or fundamentalist congregation or O’Reilly fucktards or teabagger voters and all of the other implied See-No-Evil-Hear-No-Evil factions, for their known egregious crimes and thus their perpetuation of crimes.

    But that will not deter me from declaring that to excuse her actions now, however feebly (and what I’ve read from them here and elsewhere today, IS feeble), by saying the required communications reporting wasn’t actual law until 2014 is another steaming heap of apologist bullshit.

    “I can recall no instance in my time at the National Archives when a high-ranking official at an executive branch agency solely used a personal email account for the transaction of government business,” said Mr. Baron, who worked at the agency from 2000 to 2013.

    Even her spokesman, Merrill, in his sophomoric response, admits the standard reporting practice by saying she didn’t do it but that was okay because the other department heads she communicated with, they, following standard practice, would report her tagalong emails.

    If we look past the imperiousness of her not following standard practices, we can then look at the mind-blowing irresponsibility of using hackable personal email to communicate with world heads of state and departments and representatives (which Merrill conveniently ignores in his statement), and then see the utter stupidity of inviting this current scrutiny during a long-planned run for the presidency, because you can be sure conservatives will demand to see all of the hundreds of email hardcopies.

    I could ask her current cheerleading squad (who, btw, always equivocate about the absoluteness of their fandom, all “progressive”-like), would they have accepted her deviation from standard reporting practice from, say, Condoleezza Rice or John Bolton when he was at the UN, and WHY didn’t she want all of her communications recorded in the proper way like other department heads, and, much more importantly, what they have against open government. But I wouldn’t expect rational, based on facts and the well-being of our country, answers.

    Do I hope this blows her out of the prez pool? Oh Hell Yeah, most certainly I do. But will it? Fuck no. I don’t think she’s decent enough, that she thinks of herself as too entitled, to not risk handing the election to another Bush or Ron via Rand or, worst of the worst, Scott Walker. But she won’t get there if it depends on my vote.

  67. FLL says:

    Very understandable. ;)

  68. BeccaM says:

    John Kerry is the first Secretary of State to depend primarily on an official .gov email address. The problem with the NYT article is it breathlessly leads a long trail of insinuating that Hillary Clinton did something illegal by using a personal email address and domain.

    She didn’t and it wasn’t.

  69. nicho says:

    It’s not about “the law.”It’s about the government retaining government documents. That requirement has been around for a long time. It’s also about passing sensitive emails on insecure servers. for crying out loud, just about every company in the US — the world — has been hacked.

  70. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I really am not a fan of Secretary Clinton, but this reminds me of the Benghazi brouhaha. As I understand it, the law in question was not passed until after she was SoS.

  71. nicho says:

    And she’s not entitled to withhold documents that rightfully belong to the government — and she’s left it up to staffers to decide. This is why you keep these things separate. Then, there’s no argument over what belongs to whom. It also keeps sensitive government emails on secure government servers.

  72. Buford says:

    Read my comments before attempting to correct me. The NYT claims against Clinton are that she failed to archive her official correspondence as required by federal law – period. They are not claiming that she broke the law by using a personal email account, nor are they claiming that she carelessly handled classified info (as that dumb linked response suggested).

  73. BeccaM says:

    If you drew the conclusion that Clinton had broken the law by using a personal email address, Buford, you are mistaken. The law in question did not come into effect until roughly 18 months after Clinton resigned.

    Then again, as I noted in a comment above, it seems like the New York Times wanted people to jump to the wrong conclusion.

  74. Indigo says:


  75. BeccaM says:

    True that. The one major downside to Hullabaloo is there is no commenting. There used to be, but Digby said that moderating and dealing with spam was chewing up too much of her time.

  76. Bill_Perdue says:

    Bill Clinton and the Democrats are responsible for the crash of 2007. Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, which promoted the export of union jobs and the deregulation bills of 1999 adn 2000 that led to the bubble that burst in 2007.

    Hillary Clinton is a WalMart scab. The Clintons are subsidized by
    Wal-Mart through Wal-Marts contributions’ to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees that can go for $200,000.00 a shot. It’s the corporations way of saying thank you for NAFTA, DOMA, DADT and deregulation. Chelsea Clinton is the Vice Chair of Clinton Foundation. It’s the family business scam.

    Hillary Clinton won’t fool anyone except those eager to be fooled and that’s why she may be considering Warren, who can fool more people for the VP slot or some other role. “Hillary Clinton Privately Courts Elizabeth Warren.
    Hillary Clinton held a private, one-on-one meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in December at Mrs. Clinton’s Washington home, “a move by the Democrats’ leading contender in 2016 to cultivate the increasingly influential senator and leader of the Party’s economic populist movement,” the New York Times reports.’ http://politicalwire.com/2015/02/17/hillary-clinton-privately-courts-elizabeth-warren/

  77. 2karmanot says:

    Waves hand, because Nadar Fan

  78. 2karmanot says:

    Bingo Naja

  79. 2karmanot says:


  80. BeccaM says:

    I disagree. If Secretary Clinton had personal matters she was sharing on that same email account, the government is not entitled to them.

    Look, you spin it as some kind of scandal if you like. Fox and the Republicans are no doubt salivating over this as yet another chance to resurrect their Benghazi obsession.

    There are plenty of reasons to oppose a Clinton candidacy for president. This manufactured bullshit isn’t one of them.

  81. oikos says:

    All I did was point out that this was not new at the state dept. You’re the one who seems upset. I happened to see the article this morning before I was on Americablog and posted it here. Flog away. I would much prefer Elizabeth Warren myself.

  82. Indigo says:

    But I know of nothing that replaces the give and take that makes Americablog such a fascinating place to be, to read, to comment.

  83. nicho says:

    I believe the story mentioned that it was a new law — and that Hillary’s handlers put themselves in the position of deciding which emails the government was entitled to. They should just turn them all over and let the government sort them out. When I was working for a company, I sent private emails on my private account and company emails on the company account. It’s not that hard.

  84. nicho says:

    Nice straw man, by the way. No one said there was a crime. There was stupidity, evasion, and endangering sensitive government records — but no on has talked about a crime — except, of course, you.

  85. nicho says:

    I vote for flogging

  86. FLL says:

    What could go wrong?! We would have missed out on the Iraq War! OK, maybe that example isn’t catastrophic enough. What happens in Germany in 1933 when Bill Perdue (using his time machine) gets gullible Germans to split the non-fascist vote? He tells them “Don’t vote for the lesser of the two evils, German voters! Vote for Chelsea Manning!” This is what happens:

    Adolf Hitler (Nazi Party): 33.09%
    Otto Wells (Social Democratic Party): 20.43%
    Ernst Thälmann (Communist Party): 16.86%

    That’s what could go wrong.

  87. BeccaM says:

    Gaius Publius is blogging over there now, too, btw. I have Hullabaloo in my regular Outlook RSS feeds list.

  88. Indigo says:

    She’s a good source. I’m drifting in her direction lately.

  89. BeccaM says:

    Digby’s ‘Hullabaloo’ was one of the Ur-Blogs that began early in the Dubya presidency, in 2003, in response to the drumbeat leading up to the Iraq war. (AmericaBlog was another.) Unlike most blogs, Heather Digby’s blog has remained almost unchanged over the years in terms of presentation, but her writing and insights have been brilliant.

    It led eventually to the coining of the phrase “What Digby Said” — because half the time a journalist or blogger stumbled onto some key part of a given story, Digby had already found it and written about it better than most of us could have hoped.

  90. Indigo says:

    It’s a Bengazi moment, that’s certain. Somehow this NYT misdirection reaches into a segment of the public where Bengazi doesn’t resonate but tech-foolery does. What I find fascinating is that whoever it is that’s attempting to sabotage her candidacy has to resort to misdirection and irrelevance. That leaves me with the suspicion that she’s a stronger candidate that I assumed.

  91. Bill_Perdue says:

    We could have gotten Gore, who unwaveringly supported Clintons mass murder of Iraqi children and his war aims and who never said a word in opposition to DADT, DOMA, NAFTA, deregulation or when Clinton gutted welfare.

    Speaking of Gore the Washington Post, a pro-Democrat paper said; “A true story: Several years ago, the CIA informed the White House counterterrorism adviser that it had located a wanted Islamic terrorist and requested White House guidance for how to proceed. The counterterrorism adviser recommended “extraordinary rendition” — snatching the terrorist in a covert operation and secretly whisking him away for interrogation in a foreign country. A White House lawyer demanded a meeting with the president to argue that this would be a violation of international law. In the Oval Office, the lawyer and the counterterrorism adviser argued their cases, when suddenly the vice president walked in. Hearing the lawyer’s objections, he said: “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.’ ” The rendition was authorized.m http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/arrest-bill-clinton/2011/12/12/gIQACQ7wpO_story.html

    Gore, George Bush, Obama, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are all Bill Clinton Lite, and Bill Clinton is Reagan Lite.

  92. FLL says:

    I just checked out Digby. Very interesting blog. I never knew it existed. I’m sure Jon Green is hardly alone in missing the timeframe of the law concerning government-provided email. Jon Green’s posts are usually well researched.

  93. Bill Benson says:

    Any of her staff should have been *very* uncomfortable taking direction and information from a non-gov’t email account. How could they *possibly* know her account had not been hacked, spoofed, etc. The whole operation needs censure.

  94. BeccaM says:

    Looks like Digby caught it, too. Not that I expected any less of her.


  95. FLL says:

    Good sleuthing. I agree that Fox News will hyphenate their 24/7 topic of discussion into Benghazi-email or some such. As any regular commenter can verify, I have never been any personal fan of Hillary either. (Much less time-consuming than examining my comment history.)

  96. mf_roe says:

    Hillary’s true value is the “Philosopher’s Stone” aspect. Touching any of her actions causes exposure of the true values of both her attackers and her defenders. All to often it is little more than a convention of braying asses, drowning out serious analysis of actions and motives. Can we agree that at a minimum She owes an explanation of WHY She chose to avoid Official systems?

  97. BeccaM says:

    I don’t know. The NYT is usually not that bad, in terms of burying the lede, or more to the point, directing readers to a point from which most of them are going to jump to the wrong conclusion, as Jon and probably a bazillion other journalists and bloggers are doing right now.

    It’s central to the whole matter: The law wasn’t passed until last year, and took effect nearly two years after Hillary Clinton left office as Sec’y of State. Prior to that, using a government address was purely voluntary for most high officials. (I have no proof of it, but I also have zero doubt the Secret Service set her up with appropriate encryption protocols on whatever devices she was using.) The only unusual detail here is Clinton it seems never used a gov’t email address while SoS…a detail which is sure to hurt her politically, but it certainly puts her in no legal jeopardy.

    Basically, we’re soon to be treated to yet another round of “Bennnn-gaaaaah-zeeeeee!!!!1!one!” from the GOPer/TeaBagger contingent. Issa is probably spooging himself as he drafts his latest committee subpoena. That’s what’s going to happen. It might even derail her candidacy.

    The part that bugs me the most is feeling compelled to point out the obvious misdirection when I don’t even like Hillary Clinton or her neo-liberal/pro-corporate policies.

  98. Indigo says:

    I knew that law was recent but I didn’t realize it was that recent, 2014 is just a reach back moment. I wonder how that extenuating fact got left out of the hit piece by the NYT or how Jon overlooked it, for that matter. BTW, it’s not that I’m ready for Hillary but I think she can operate a police state efficiently and that’s what we almost are so . . . there you go.

  99. mf_roe says:

    “Lack of conforming to laws, as evidenced by repeatedly committing crimes
    Repeated deceitfulness in relationships with others, such as telling
    lies, using false names, or conning others for profit or pleasure
    Failure to think or plan ahead (impulsivity)
    Tendency to irritability, anger, and aggressiveness, as shown by
    repeatedly assaulting others or getting into frequent physical fights
    Disregard for personal safety or the safety of others
    Persistent lack of taking responsibility, such as failing to
    establish a pattern of good work habits or keeping financial obligations
    A lack of feeling guilty about wrong-doing”

    ASPD Look it up

    Hillary is one sick puppy.

  100. BeccaM says:

    I’ve read the article and while I personally am no fan of Hillary Clinton and am quite dismayed at the family dynasties that now seem to have supremacy in presidential nominations, that NYT hit-piece leaves out one very important detail. (Sadly, it wasn’t caught here either…)

    The law requiring officials such as the Secretary of State to use government-provided email addresses wasn’t passed until 2014, the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, to be exact.

    The reason this is breaking now is because starting in October of last year, the State Department began enacting new practices to move into compliance with the new law. While John Kerry did use a government email address, Colin Powell did not, not all the time anyway — and nobody is suggesting he broke the law in doing so. The State Department asked Secretary Clinton for backup copies of her emails, a request she and her people have been cooperating with. They are, in fact, asking all prior Secretaries of State going back to Madeleine Albright for records.

    The fact Secretary Clinton never used a government email address is somewhat problematic and to be sure will hurt her politically. There is no doubt whatsoever this will be the story Fux Noise will run with for the next several weeks of news cycles — after all, they’re rabidly anti-Clinton (Bill and/or Hillary).

    However, these revelations in no way put her on “shaky legal ground.”

    I’d really rather not see AmericaBlog ally itself with Fox News and the panty-sniffing wingnut media who are sure to go nuts over what is nothing but a manufactured scandal.

  101. oikos says:

    So you have proof that she did not retain the emails and cannot produce them?

  102. Buford says:

    Did you even read these stories? That’s the whole issue here… she apparently failed to keep records of her official correspondence as required by federal law, and that correspondence just happened to take place using a private email account.

  103. Bill_Perdue says:

    Email accounts are not the problem.

    Hillary Clintons anti-union, pro-war and anti-Bill of Rights program are the problem. That’s also the program of the Democrat and the Republican Party’s as a whole. Both are right wing Party’s constantly moving further right.

    Hillary Clinton is a graduate cum laude of the Wal-Mart school of union busting and scabbery.

    She’s a certified religious nut case with close ties to the religious right.

    She played the race card against Obama in 2008.

    She’s been a consistent supporter of wars of aggression and zionist expansionism.

    The left couldn’t ask for a better object lesson in the utter senselessness and assured destructiveness of the right wings version of the twin lesser evil in the persons of Hillary Clinton or
    whoever the Republicans put up. On November 8, 2016 vote Socialist or Labor, vote for good referendums and if there aren’t any left candidates write in Chelsea Manning or join the majority in sitting it out.

  104. Naja pallida says:

    I can’t fathom how anyone who actually has any serious progressive leanings could like any weak-kneed, corporate-owned, neoliberal hack. Hillary Clinton is not the savior of the Democratic party, she’s its ultimate transformation into the Republican party of the 1980s. I didn’t vote for those regressive policies then, and I certainly won’t now.

  105. emjayay says:

    No. She has a staff. Being SOS isn’t a one person operation.

  106. mf_roe says:

    Nixon learned the hard way about documenting things that he couldn’t stand becoming public. The destruction of “18 Minutes” sealed his fate. Clinton’s hubris will seal her fate sooner or later.

  107. nicho says:

    It could be called destruction of evidence. If you are to defend yourself against that, you have to be following a clearly stated retention policy. Anyone in business can tell you that.
    Her staff — or her email service provider should turn over all the records and let the government decide which ones to keep.

    Mixing personal mail and official government business is beyond irresponsible. Even I have separate accounts for personal and business mail.

  108. mf_roe says:

    What she is uncomfortable with is accountability. She is incompetent when it comes to camouflaging her actions. If Americans ever wake up they will purge the entire population of politicians. Not much chance of that.

  109. Buford says:

    I’ll state the obvious… this is bad for Clinton. The issue is not that she used a personal email account instead of a .GOV one, but rather that her office failed to archive her official correspondence regardless of the type of email account she used. Anyone who has worked in a corporate environment knows the importance of records retention, and it’s especially critical for a key govt official… there’s no excuse for not having those records.

  110. oikos says:

    Exonerate? What crime is she guilty of? Lots of pols have used private email, like jeb bush. It was admittedly stupid, but not illegal. Now if she can’t produce said emails, then she is in violation of the law.

  111. Buford says:

    Sorry, but nothing at that link exonerates Clinton. The NYT piece clearly states that federal law requires that records of official correspondence be retained and archived, and that Clinton’s problem is that her office failed to do so. The story at your link does little more than criticize the NYT piece for failing to state specifically which federal law was violated.

  112. 2karmanot says:

    Hillary used G Mail because: Benghazi! Oh please. Pass the popcorn.

  113. Indigo says:

    Is he running again?

  114. Indigo says:

    Just guessing here but I bet she’s not all that comfortable with 21st century tech. Short version: she might not know how to set it up.

  115. nicho says:

    When’s the last time any national politician went to the supermarket?

  116. nicho says:

    For heaven’s sake. All they have to do is retrieve them from the NSA data center in Utah. Or, they could ask Bibi for copies when he comes to speak. I’m pretty sure that Israel would have them on file. In fact, we may be the only major power that doesn’t have them. Shady Lady!

  117. nicho says:

    I see. So pointing out that someone has acted in a dodgy and dangerous manner is “bashing?” Only in the delusional PUMA/Hillbot World. Doing sensitive government business on a hackable private email account is beyond irresponsible. It’s close to criminal negligence. It’s like putting diplomatic cables on Twitter.

  118. mf_roe says:

    Feed not the troll.

    Remember the Brouhaha over Obama’s Blackberry? Devices and accounts not meeting governmental standards have LONG been a major security issue. If Clinton used accounts / devices superior to those available to S.O.S., why did she not press for upgrading governmental accounts? Logic tells me that Clinton wanted security from scrutiny by lawful oversight agencies ie Congress.

  119. emjayay says:

    And Bush and Gore are identical corporate tools. Vote for Nader.

  120. emjayay says:

    Interesting, but as a federal employee we were getting those required yearly online trainings about government records including emails for at least ten years before 2014.

  121. oikos says:

    Neither did any other secretary of state until John Kerry. New regulations went into effect in Nov 2014, two years after Clinton left the SoS position. Much ado about nothing.


  122. lynchie says:

    If she runs she has 8 years at best. I want her around till he is old and grey and still kicking the GOP in the balls.

  123. lynchie says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately that is where the party has moved to. They are Dems in name only but in reality have their feet firmly in the money from the 1%, wall street and the banks. They know nothing about living pay check to pay check. Here whine how she and Bill were poor when he left office is so far from the truth to be an O’Reilly/Williams story. Like her yarn about being shot at by a sniper


    Find me a liberal and I might vote again.

    Great quote from Profiles in Courage by JFK

    “If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind,
    someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who
    cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their
    schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil
    liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and
    suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they
    mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

    We have a complete Congress that continue to do nothing for the average american. Every turn is for wall steet, the banks, the rich. We have seen no change and electing Bush/Clinton will continue the war machine, movement of jobs overseas and the continued collapse of lives of the poor, elderly and middle class.

  124. hidflect says:

    Most sites I visit are progressive but even there, when there’s an article about Madame Clinton, the comments run at least 80/1 against. Does anybody actually like her? Just not being Jeb Bush isn’t going to bring out the voters. Too many soirees with Goldman Sachs CEO’s, memberships on the board of Walmart and too much foreign policy bloodthirst for my liking. She wants to represent the common person in the street as a Democrat? When was the last time she ever went to a supermarket? 30 years ago? She’s a Limousine Liberal at best. Just another shill for Wall Street and the status quo power rulers.

  125. 1nancy2 says:

    Mike. The corp$ hate her because she is for the working class and fights for them, plus, those that got robbed by the banksters. Great, nary a one went to jail and got away with robbing us blind. We had to pay 17 trill. to bail them out. Robbers. I’d take Eliz. any day over Hill. Maybe Hill can be her VP. OK, I know that is a fantasy.

  126. caphillprof says:

    No there isn’t always Warren.

    The Democrats need to get rid of Hillary NOW

    The Democrats need an energetic primary

    The public perception is that Republicans are engaged in politics but Democrats are . . . . BLEH

    The Republican nominee will win because the Democrats are failing to field a team.

    Hillary is nothing but a Trojan horse for the GOP

  127. emjayay says:

    Every federal government employee is subjected to a long computer based trainings every year about computer security and and the complicated rules about preserving different types of emails and other records etc. This use of all private emails makes no sense. There is no way it would not come out. In fact, it’s very odd it that it didn’t come out immediately. There must have been discussion at the time.

    The Bush II administration I believe used Republican email accounts all the time for the usual Unitary Executive/IOKIYR/because we can reasons. But Clinton in the Obama administration?

    There oughta be an explanation, although I can’t imagine one. I also can’t imagine there not being one, and the one given was obviously inadequate. Yes, the speed limit is 35 and I was going 150 and running all the red lights, but no one was killed were they, so it was all OK.

  128. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    There’s always Elizabeth Warren.

  129. 1nancy2 says:

    Here we go: The Hillary bashing and secrets are being brought to light. She is not a shoo in, not by a long shot. The thought of that awful, Jeb makes me sick, just like his Poppy and dim bro, W. did. I never thought I’d see another Bush in the W. House, but here we go again. I see “lazy” and entitled when I look at Jeb. He’s a 1st class creep.

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