Former Secretary of State and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for years skirted public disclosure and federal record-keeping laws by using her personal email account while serving her post as the United States’ highest ranking ambassador, reports revealed on Tuesday.
According to the New York Times, during Clinton’s four-year tenure at the State Department, she never had a government email address nor did her aides take any action to preserve her correspondence on department servers. Under the Federal Records Act, such communications are considered government records and are supposed to be archived “so that congressional committees, historians and members of the news media can find them,” the Times reports.
Further, experts said that there is no guarantee of security with personal email accounts.
Jason Baron, an attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath who served as the director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration from 2000-2013 said the exclusive use of private email was unprecedented for such a high-ranking official.
“It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” Baron said. Exceptions to the law exist for certain classified materials and the use of private email is meant to be limited for emergencies.
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Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill defended her use of the personal email account telling the Times she had complied with the “letter and spirit of the rules.”
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