President Obama frequently promised that his would be “the most transparent administration in history.” Perhaps he forgot to mention this commitment to his first Secretary of State?
According to a bombshell report on the front page of yesterday’s The New York Times:
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record. …
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. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013. …
How many emails were in Mrs. Clinton’s account is not clear, and neither is the process her advisers used to determine which ones related to her work at the State Department before turning them over. …
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.
Two weeks ago, the State Department, after reviewing Mrs. Clinton’s emails, provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks.
A follow-up report in today’s paper explains why this is problematic:
In 2012, congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The department eventually responded, furnishing House committees with thousands of documents.
But it turns out that that was not everything.
The State Department had not searched the email account of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because she had maintained a private account, which shielded it from such searches, department officials acknowledged on Tuesday.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi established by Speaker Boehner continues to follow the evidence and collect the facts. Last month, Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) announced the committee would be interviewing 20 current and former Obama administration officials, as well as Hillary Clinton, but only after receiving all of her relevant documents, including notes and emails.
As Gowdy stated in a press conference yesterday afternoon:
“The fact the Benghazi Committee was able to uncover this previously unknown, and before today unreported, information speaks to the need for the Benghazi Committee. The fact that the Committee does not rush to trumpet every single discovery we make during the pendency of our investigation, in my judgment, speaks to the commitment that the people behind me and Mr. [Mike] Pompeo and Mr. [Jim] Jordan have to conducting a fair and impartial investigation into what happened before, during, and after Benghazi.
“Our interest here is not in producing a story. Our interest here is in gaining access to all of the documents, all of the emails, all of the witnesses, and producing a final and definitive accounting and one that is frankly worthy of the sacrifice of our four fellow Americans and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens.”