Noting that the proper treatment of electronic messages has been an ongoing problem at the State Department since Madeline Albright was at the helm, the non-partisan watchdog Office of Inspector General at State none the less did in fact issue a report on May 25, 2016 stating that Hillary Clinton, she of the litany of offices held including Secretary of State, is guilty of violating the rules regarding official emails both going through a personal server and those regarding retention and storage while she was in that position. From Politico:
“Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” the report states. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
Which, of course, directly contradicts Clinton’s own statements from when this entire saga began fourteen months ago that she did not violate any rules. The OIG report goes on to outline not just the rules violated, but efforts inside the department to keep the people there from talking about the violations amongst themselves.
“According to the current [chief information officer] and assistant secretary for diplomatic security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs,” the report reads. “However, according to these officials, [the relevant people] did not — and would not — approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email.”
The watchdog also “found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server.”
Which is yet ANOTHER contradiction. But, wait, there’s more. Also from the report:
“In one meeting, one staff member raised concerns that information sent and received on Secretary Clinton’s account could contain Federal records that needed to be preserved in order to satisfy Federal recordkeeping requirements,” the document states. “According to the staff member, the Director stated that the Secretary’s personal system had been reviewed and approved by Department legal staff and that the matter was not to be discussed any further. As previously noted, OIG found no evidence that staff in the Office of the Legal Adviser reviewed or approved Secretary Clinton’s personal system.”…
“According to the other [IT] staff member who raised concerns about the server, the Director stated that the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary and instructed the staff never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again,” the report states.
Uh-huh. So, not only is there no record of any approvals, the people who noticed this was a problem are not supposed to talk about it. Hey, there’s a concept. There is information in the report that claims Clinton Aide Huma Abedin did, in fact, beg her boss to use an official State Department email since the personal email address was ending up in people’s spam folders, to which Hillary responded that she did not want personal information of hers jeopardized. (Readers can let their imaginations roam with that statement.) And then there was the matter hacking:
“On January 9, 2011, the non-Departmental advisor to President Clinton who provided technical support to the Clinton email system notified the Secretary’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations that he had to shut down the server because he believed ‘someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt [sic] want to let them have the chance to,’” the report says. “Later that day, the advisor again wrote to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, ‘We were attacked again so I shut [the server] down for a few min.’”
That matter should have been reported, the report says, but was not.
“Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” it says. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”
So, Hillary’s people did know about the hacking and no one bothered to report it.
There, of course, is more to it, but the bottom line is that Hillary Clinton DID, in fact, knowingly violate government rules regarding email and electronic communications, and did so during a time period when there was no watchdog oversight at the Department of State. During her tenure the OIG was vacant. Not only that, despite the reality that the State Department has never been sieve-proof place when it came to electronic communications, no other Secretary of State played nearly this fast and loose with the rules, and furthermore, none of them lied about it later.