Hillary Clinton’s new, groundbreaking form of transparency (as David Brock’s Hair might put it) actually violated “clear-cut” State Department rules in place since 2005, according to Politico reporting:
The State Department has had a policy in place since 2005 to warn officials against routine use of personal email accounts for government work, a regulation in force during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state that appears to be at odds with her reliance on a private email for agency business, POLITICO has learned.
The policy, detailed in a manual for agency employees, adds clarity to an issue at the center of a growing controversy over Clinton’s reliance on a private email account. Aides to Clinton, as well as State Department officials, have suggested that she did nothing inappropriate because of fuzzy guidelines and lack of specific rules on when and how official documents had to be preserved during her years as secretary.
But the 2005 policy was described as one of several “clear cut” directives the agency’s own inspector general relied on to criticize the conduct of a U.S. ambassador who in 2012 was faulted for using email outside of the department’s official system.
“It is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized [Automated Information System], which has the proper level of security control to provide nonrepudiation, authentication and encryption, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information,” the Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual states.
The Clintonista line, when it hasn’t been the utterly preposterous notion that Clinton is being extra-special transparent by hiding her e-mails in a private account, has relied on the idea that there was technically no prohibition on conducting business on an outside email account. This is almost equally preposterous, for reasons I laid out last night, but new reports from both Politico and Fox’s Catherine Herridge demolish it. Clinton herself told personnel to avoid personal email in 2011. You know, right before she canned an ambassador for doing it.
Fox News has exclusively obtained an internal 2011 State Department cable that shows Secretary of State Clinton’s office told employees not to use personal email for security reasons, while at the same time, HRC conducted all government business on a private account. Sent to Diplomatic and Consular Staff in June 2011, the unclassified cable, with Clinton’s electronic signature, makes clear to “avoid conducting official Department from your personal e-mail accounts” and employees should not “auto-forward Department email to personal email accounts which is prohibited by Department policy.”
The Cable was addressed to all diplomatic and consular posts with the subject line “Securing Personal E-mail Accounts.” While the cable told employees to secure personal/home email accounts given increased targeting of government employees, it makes clear that these personal accounts should never be used for government business and cites the departure procedures which prohibit the practices.
It was only last month that the House committee appointed to investigate Benghazi was provided with about 300 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails related to the attacks. That was shortly after Mrs. Clinton turned over, at the State Department’s request, some 50,000 pages of government-related emails that she had kept on her private account.
It was one of several instances in which records requests sent to the State Department, which had no access to Mrs. Clinton’s emails, came up empty.
In 2013, Nitasha Tiku, then a reporter for Gawker, filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking all correspondence on Mrs. Clinton’s private email account between her and Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser and onetime staff member in the Clinton White House. Some of those emails had already spilled into public view and been reported in the news media. But the State Department told Gawker that it could find no records responsive to the request, Gawker reported.
Mrs. Clinton’s aides on Tuesday sought to play down the significance of her exclusive use of a personal email account for State Department business. But an examination of records requests sent to the department reveals how the practice protected a significant amount of her correspondence from the eyes of investigators and the public.