A State Department audit conducted by the agency’s Inspector General (IG) found Hillary Clinton broke federal record-keeping rules regarding her email practices while serving as secretary of state. Even though other previous secretaries of state were also found at fault for poorly managing email, other computer information and slowly responding to new cybersecurity risks, Mrs. Clinton is the first and only one to refuse to participate in the review and to have kept her email on a private non-secure server.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report by the agency’s inspector general on Wednesday. It also shows the former secretary of state’s top aides at the State Department refused to cooperate with investigators and, as did Mrs. Clinton, failed to comply with the Federal Records Act.
“The Inspector General’s findings are just the latest chapter in the long saga of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment that broke federal rules and endangered our national security,” Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “This detailed inquiry by an Obama appointee makes clear Hillary Clinton hasn’t been telling the truth since day one, and her and her aides’ refusal to cooperate with this probe only underscores that fact.”
The review cites “longstanding, systemic weaknesses” related to communications. These started before Clinton’s appointment as secretary of state, but her failures were singled out as more serious. From the review:
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 … 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.
The review came after revelations Clinton exclusively used a private email account and server while in office. Clinton is now the likely Democratic presidential nominee.
The 78-page report will say the department and its secretaries were “slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks associated with electronic data communications, particularly as those risks pertain to its most senior leadership.”
But the audit comes as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is thought to be nearing the final phases of its own investigation into Clinton’s email use as secretary of state.
On another front, Romanian hacker Guccifer – who recently claimed he breached Clinton’s server – pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to separate hacking charges.
Under a deal struck with the federal government, he has agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in the future. The plea agreement does not mention the FBI investigation of Clinton’s email practices or his claims that he accessed her private server in March 2013. Such agreements typically do not stipulate how a defendant will aid the government.
“Although Clinton has long claimed her practices were like those of other Secretaries of State and allowed, the report states she was in clear violation of the Federal Records Act,” RNC Chair Priebus added. “And her incredible 2010 email exchange with a top aide ruling out a State Department email address only further underscores her motivation was secrecy, not convenience. The stakes are too high in this election to entrust the White House to someone with as much poor judgment and reckless disregard for the law as Hillary Clinton.”