- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Associated Press sued the State Department Wednesday to demand it turn over former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, saying Obama administration officials have botched five different open-records requests over the last five years.

Going straight to the heart of the Clinton email controversy, the AP said despite five years of questions, the State Department never said it didn’t have control over Mrs. Clinton’s emails, suggesting that officials were breaking the spirit of open-records when they said they were conducting searches for records.

“State’s failure to ensure that Secretary Clinton’s governmental emails were retained and preserved by the agency, and its failure timely to seek out and search those emails in response to AP’s requests, indicate at the very least that State has not engaged in the diligent, good-faith search that FOIA requires,” the news organization said in its lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday confirmed that she had used her own private email, set up on her own server, during her four years as secretary. Despite using her private account, she said she generally tried to do government business by emailing others on their official accounts, so she believed that her communications were stored.

But she didn’t turn over her official business emails until late last year, or about 20 months after she left office. And she said she decided which emails were business-related and which were personal, and she said she deleted the personal ones.

All told, she said she turned over 30,490 emails and deleted 31,830 she deemed private. She has refused to turn over the email server she used, saying the law gives her the power to judge which communications are public and which are private.

As a potential presidential candidate Mrs. Clinton’s emails are bound to come under intense scrutiny, and the Associated Press said it filed its first request for her records on March 9, 2010. The news organization filed an Aug. 2, 2013, request seeking records on surveillance programs; an Aug. 8, 2013, request regarding BAE Systems, a major contractor; an Aug. 20, 2013, request seeking Mrs. Clinton’s records concerning her adviser, Huma Abedin; and an Aug. 20, 2013, request seeking records related to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

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