As the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton struggles to lock down the Democratic presidential nomination, her infamous email controversy is back.
The State Department’s inspector general recently released its report on the email practices of Clinton and a number of other past secretaries of state.
The report badly complicates Clinton’s past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton’s email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump’s fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.
The inspector general, in a long awaited review obtained Wednesday, May 25, by The Washington Post in advance of its publication, found that Clinton’s use of private email for public business was “not an appropriate method” of preserving documents and that her practices failed to comply with department policies meant to ensure that federal record laws are followed.
The report says Clinton, who is the Democratic presidential front-runner, should have printed and saved her emails during her four years in office or surrendered her work-related correspondence immediately upon stepping down in February 2013. Instead, Clinton provided those records in December 2014, nearly two years after leaving office.
For a candidate already struggling to overcome a perception that she is neither honest nor trustworthy, the IG report makes that task significantly harder. No one will come out of this news cycle — with the exception of the hardest of the hard-core Clinton people — believing she is a better bet for the presidency on May 25 than she was on May 23.
Clinton remains blessed that Republicans are on the verge of nominating Donald Trump, a candidate whose numbers on honesty, trustworthiness and even readiness to lead are worse — and in some cases, far worse — than hers. But Trump’s task of casting her as “Crooked Hillary” just got easier.
Here are the most critical parts of the State Department inspector general report on Clinton’s email use as reported by Washington Times:
The State Department’s independent watchdog released an 83-page report Wednesday to lawmakers concluding that Hillary Clinton’s email practices did not comply with department policies.
Below are some of the most revealing parts of the findings:
1. The report concludes that Clinton’s use of a personal email account was “not an appropriate method.” This knocks down a key argument made in Clinton’s defense — that because she had emailed State Department officials on their government accounts, records of her communications were preserved.
2. In January 2011, there were two hacking attempts on the Clinton email system in one day. An adviser to President Bill Clinton tried to shut down the server each time.
3. There were warnings issued to senior State Department officials that hackers were targeting personal email accounts. Below, an excerpt from a March 11, 2011, memo written by the assistant secretary of diplomatic security.
4. The audit also covered Clinton’s aides, some of whom did not cooperate when asked to respond to a questionnaire about email use. Some of the aides used their personal email accounts extensively for official business.
5. The package of emails turned over by Clinton was “incomplete.”
6. IT security officials were concerned about Clinton’s use of personal email and held meetings to discuss the need to preserve records and security.
Another staff member who raised issues was told that their mission was “to support the Secretary, and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.”
7. The report also criticizes Colin Powell’s handling of official emails during his tenure as secretary of state, saying it was also “not an appropriate method” for preserving emails that are part of the federal record. When asked to defend her email system, Clinton has said that her predecessors also used personal accounts.